As a food lover, you’ve probably heard of Din Tai Fung (and maybe already eaten there?).
It’s a restaurant that started in Taipei, and has since expanded into 11 other countries (so far).
While they have a full menu, by far their most popular dish, and their claim to fame – really the main reason you go to eat there – is for the xiao long bao, Taiwanese soup dumplings.
During my trip to Taipei, I wasn’t going to miss it.
Din Tai Fung at Tapei 101
Before getting into this post about eating at Din Tai Fung in Taipei, I have to say that I had already tried Din Tai Fung in Bangkok a few years previously. And to be honest with you, I was a bit disappointed with the flavors of the food.
But I knew I needed to re-try it again in Taiwan.
The original location of Din Tai Fung is located on Xinyi street in Taipei, and everyday for both lunch and dinner, there’s a massive crowd that waits in line to slurp down a few baskets of soup dumplings.
I first wanted to go to the original location. After all, I was in Taipei, so I may as well.
But since we had just visited the Taipei 101 observatory, and after reading plenty of reviews of the Taipei 101 branch of Din Tai Fung where everyone said it was just as good as the original, we went to the Taipei 101 Din Tai Fung.
One of the most iconic symbols of eating at Din Tai Fung anywhere you are in the world is the small army of dumpling makers who look like medical researchers.
Sporting white shirts, white aprons, and white hats and masks, they work away making dumplings at a rapid pace by the quantities. But one of the best things about Din Tai Fung is that even though they produce heaps of dumplings, they are still hand-made, and you can really taste the difference.
Din Tai Fung menu
As soon as we arrived to Din Tai Fung Taipei 101, we were greeted by the staff, brought over to our table, and the menu was already on our table waiting for us.
The menu is pretty extensive and includes a wide range of Taiwanese, mostly noodle based dishes, with plenty of side dishes.
But really, the entire menu is sort of an up-sell for the xiao long bao, which is what everyone really comes to Din Tai Fung to eat.
But you’ll also find noodle soup and dry noodles, vegetables, a few dim sum dishes, and a few other varieties of dumplings as well.
How to eat xiao long bao
Before coming to Din Tai Fung, I was more interested in plopping the entire dumpling in my mouth, right out of the steaming basket, and just enjoying the burning hot soup in my mouth.
But conveniently placed at every table at Din Tai Fung is a handy 4-step process for enjoying xiao long bao, and so I gave it a shot.
Here’s are the 4 steps written on the menu:
- Put soy sauce and vinegar into the bowl with sliced ginger. Our waitress said 1 part soy sauce to 3 parts vinegar would be best.
- Take the soup dumpling and dip it into the sauce.
- Then put the dumpling into your spoon, and poke a hole in the wrapper of the dumpling to release the juices.
- And finally eat.
I definitely cheated on quite a few dumplings, but this is the official way to eat a soup dumpling at Din Tai Fung.
Ok, let’s move on now to the food…
Pork xiao long bao – soup dumplings
As a blogger and food video maker, I have an obsession with taking photos of food, which normally means that by the time I take my first bite, whatever I’m eating is pretty cold (you can ask my wife about this!).
But this time, my wife and I decided we were going to hold off on taking photos and eat the xiao long bao immediately as it arrived, and then we would order a second tray and then take photos of that tray.
Xiao long bao must be eaten hot.
Price – 200 TWD per tray of 10 (we had 2 trays)
Following the direction on how to eat a xiao long bao, I dipped my dumpling in the vinegar soy sauce, topped it with ginger, poked a hole into the side of the wrapper, and then took the entire dumpling in a single bite.
It was incredibly good.
The wrapper was thinner than other xiao long bao dumplings I’d had at other restaurants, and the entire dumpling felt more delicate. The pork inside was smooth and soft, and the soup had a wonderful porkiness, without being too oily, and then balanced by the sour vinegar and mild ginger.
What I really loved most about the xiao long bao is that it wasn’t overly salty, but really focused on the ingredients, without covering it up with salt.
Right as you walk into Din Tai Fung and take a seat, they offer you their speciality salads.
Being addicted to pickles, I couldn’t resist an order of their pickles, which came neatly arranged in a pyramid formation.
The pickles were incredibly crisp, juicy, and again, not too salty, with a just a little chili oil for flavor.
Price – 70 TWD
Din Tai Fung house salad
We also tried their house salad, which included thin strips of what I think was wakame, a thick sheet like seaweed, plus there were needle mushrooms, and bean sprouts in the mix.
What I liked about the house salad was its sesame oil flavor.
Price – 70 TWD
Noodles with minced pork sauce
In addition to the dumplings, for more of a filling dish, I ordered what they called in English, noodles with minced pork sauce.
The noodles were very fresh, laid on the bottom of a bowl very delicately, and topped with a few scoops of a meat mixture that included pork, Chinese sausage, bits of tofu, and what I think were soy beans on top.
The meat sauce had a mild flavor, with a hint of hoisin to it and a slight sweetness from the sausage.
Just like the other dishes, I was pleasantly surprised how it wasn’t overly salty, but just good and fresh, although it could have used some serious chili sauce to bump up the flavor.
Price – 130 TWD
Pork chop noodle soup
My wife and her sister mostly ate the pork chop noodle soup we ordered, as I wanted to eat the dry noodles with pork.
The soup used the same noodles, but instead of meat sauce it came topped with a fried pork chop and submerged in soup.
It was alright, but nothing special.
Price – 190 TWD
Stir fried amaranth greens
I’ve always been a big fan of vegetables, and they had about 6 different types of stir fried vegetables on the menu at Din Tai Fung.
I decided to go for stir fried amaranth greens, which came stir fried very lightly with just a few pieces of sautéed garlic.
The greens were light and fresh, similar to spinach, but not quite so much of that sliminess.
Price – 180 TWD
Sticky rice wrap with pork
One of my favorite dim sum dishes is lo mai gai, sticky glutinous rice filled with pork and other delicious goodies, then wrapped in a lotus leaf and steamed. I order it every time I eat dim sum, and it’s been my favorite since I was a kid.
The version at Din Tai Fung was a little simpler, and it mostly included just shreds of pork.
The rice was a wonderful gooey texture, and overall it was pretty tasty.
Price – 75 TWD
Steamed taro xiao long bao
After finishing off two trays of xiao long bao, and all the side dishes, I was honestly feeling quite full and satisfied.
But my wife and her sister wanted to try the steamed taro xiao long bao – a dessert version of the dumplings filled with sweet taro.
The taro inside was like creamy mashed potatoes, very soft and fluffy, and slightly sweet. If you enjoy sweets, this makes a good way to end your meal at Din Tai Fung.
Price – 85 TWD
Our total bill
There were 3 of us eating, and I’d say we ordered quite a bit of food for the 3 of us – maybe a bit more than we needed – although we didn’t have any trouble finishing off everything.
Our total bill came to 1,320 TWD ($40.50).
Here’s the full video of our meal:
(Or you can watch the video on YouTube here)
Din Tai Fung is one of the most well-known restaurants in all of Taiwan, a place that specializes mainly in Taiwanese soup filled dumplings known as xiao long bao.
There are a number of locations throughout the world and within Taipei, and we chose to eat at the Taipei 101 branch.
Also, check out my Taipei Travel Guide here!
What really stood out to me about the food at Din Tai Fung was how delicate the flavors were and how nothing was overly salty – they really focused on the quality of the ingredients without covering them up with too much salt.
While the side dishes were all alright, the real highlight, which is also their claim to fame, is their pork xiao long bao.
I had eaten at Din Tai Fung before in Bangkok and wasn’t overly impressed, but I think this meal at Din Tai Fung in Taiwan was much better.
Din Tai Fung – Taipei 101 branch
Address: B1, No. 45, Shifu Rd., Taipei City (Taipei 101 Mall)
Open hours: Sunday – Thursday from 11 am – 9:30 pm, Friday and Saturday and the day before holidays from 11 am – 10 pm
Prices: You’re looking to pay about 300 – 500 TWD ($9.20 – $13.34) per person
How to get there: One of the great things about visiting Taipei is that it’s so easy to get around using the public transportation system. To get to Din Tai Fung Taipei 101, take the MRT to Taipei 101 station, follow the signs to exit at Taipei 101, and you’ll see Din Tai Fung right as you emerge from the MRT station.