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Are the dumplings better in Din Tai Fung Taipei than in Singapore?

This was the question on our minds when we passed by a few Din Tai Fung Taipei outlets during our visit to the Taiwan capital. The amazing thing is that they enjoy what appears to be unending demand for their famous dumplings – xiao long bao.   Every branch had queues outside. Do they taste better in their home base?  Our curiosity to try these dumplings in the motherland was strong. But why would we want to wait in line in Taiwan when we are reluctant to do it in Singapore (where we have all the time in the world).   In the end curiosity won. We joined the queue at the Din Tai Fung Taipei outlet at the basement of shopping mall Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A4 branch.

Din Tai Fung Taipei, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A4 Xinyi

Din Tai Fung Taipei, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A4 Outlet

Din Tai Fung Taipei, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A4 Outlet

Din Tai Fung Taipei, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A4 Outlet

There are many buildings with shopping malls in the Xinyi District of Taipei. But each mall is quite small. Department store Shin Kong Mitsukoshi has several outlets in this area, each in a different building. They are identified by serial numbers.  This particular branch of Din Tai Fung is located in the A4 Building.


We thought we could escape the crowds by going late – at about 8 pm. But there was still quite a queue. Thankfully it was well organised. A ticket was issued with an estimated time of 50 to 60 minutes.  We could do a bit of window-shopping in the mall during that time.

We returned about 40 minutes later which was just about right. We had our table soon after. Once inside, there was peace and quiet. The noisiness of the waiting crowds was effectively kept out of the restaurant proper. We were issued with a multiple choice order form.  We ordered three items – hot and sour soup, beef noodles and, of course, xiao long bao.

We ordered the hot and sour soup so as to try something new.  It turned out to be very good. The balance of sourness was just right. Enough to perk up the senses but without being too jarring.

We had the beef noodles (NT$250) as it is such a staple dish in the casual restaurants in Taipei.  The taste of the soup was good but the beef was slightly hard.  We had ordered an ‘all-meat’ version. With the benefit of hindsight, maybe a part tendon version would have been better.

Now for the main event – the xiao long bao (NT$210 for a basket of 10). Were the dumplings better in Din Tai Fung Taipei than at their oversea branches?  They are very similar. DTF’s quality control must be very good.  There was a sense that perhaps the skins were slightly more chewy and has more ‘bite’. But we suspect it was a psychological thing. We probably cannot tell the Taipei and Singapore versions apart in a blind test.

There was however one noticeable difference in our dining experience at Din Tai Fung Taipei as compared to their outlets in Singapore. The service. Although the speed at which orders are process and fulfilled makes DTF feel like a fast food restaurant, the service was equivalent to a top regular restaurant. Waiters were attentive and provided their services with a smile.  You can read about our visit to an outlet of DTF Singapore here.

Ratings:

Food: 4

Service: 4

Value: 4

Atmosphere: 3

Overall Rating : 4 TOPs 4 tops

Basement 2, No. 19, Songgao Road
松高路19號B2樓
Xinyi District, 台北市 110
Taiwan

Din Tai Fung Website

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