best soup dumplings taipei

A hallmark of any country asides from a memorable landscape or urban landmark is the food. How hard is it to travel to someplace you’ve been and not mention the food? The local delights? The hidden local mom & pop shop you can only find after you have actually visited a place because it certainly won’t be on any travel guide – probably in a blog but then you really need to know what you are looking for.

Din Tai Fung has outlets abroad but as any local will say, they won’t compare to the ones in Taiwan. However, when going to eat at any Din Tai Fung in Taipei you will be faced with a line. I’ll admit that their food is brilliantly delicious but living here in Taiwan I’ve found a few other options that are well worth their mention. Plus, this is my gift to you all to spare you from a 40-90 minute wait while here.

Don’t worry I won’t leave you hanging too long, read on for other soup dumpling restaurants that will tickle your palate with delight!

When in Taiwan there are some quintessential classics one must always make sure to try. Such is the case of the marvelous little wrapped steamed dumplings known as Xiao Long Bao.

One of my friends recently brought to my attention that I do have a bigger preference for any stuffed food. That’s quite accurate actually because if you ask me what my favourite Taiwanese dish is, among my top choices will be those in the form of wrapped food. You know, won tons (混屯), soup dumplings (小籠包) and pot stickers (鍋貼).

Isn’t it funny how in English this we just call dumplings but in Chinese each form has its own name in Mandarin? Anyways, let’s get to the good stuff which is one dish I will never stop loving and one that anyone coming to visit Taiwan must have at least once.

Or twice, I doubt you just want to eat this once. It’s madness to only have it once.

Eating tip AKA my note to self each time I eat these: Don’t burn your tongue or your mouth with the soup. Try to nip or take a tiny bite off the skin to let you drink some of the broth while also simultaneously letting it cool off a bit.

Din Tai Fung – The Popular Classic

With international restaurants in Hong Kong , Shanghai, Singapore , Dubai and soon London the best of the best (flavour-wise) are still the outlets located in Taiwan. Even within my family there is always a debate on which one of the ones in Taiwan are the best but when in doubt – go to the original shop where it all started. Although the outlets around Taipei are all equally popular and there is always a queue – its still worth the wait but its not where you will find most locals at.

I’m not saying that Din Tai Fung is bad – the food is delicious and the service is amazing. You won’t be disappointed.

Also I totally appreciate how they have a card on the table with tips on how to best eat these dumplings!

Other dishes worth eating: “A-cai”, Fermented Rice Wine w/ Tangyuan, Truffle XiaoLongBao, Chocolate Xiao Long Bao

Locations: See all Din Tai Fung Taiwan locations here
Closest Metro Station: Depends on the location
Price: $$$ Expect to spend between 300-800 TWD

Non-DinTaiFung options to eat in Taipei that you must experience at least once:

1) 京鼎小館 Jing Ding Xiao Guan – Hidden local favourite

Oolong Tea Dumplings - museflux.com
烏龍茶小籠包 – Oolong Tea Dumplings in Taipei

What first drew me in is that when I had first searched for steamed soup dumplings I came across a photo of some that were green coloured.

I mostly went to this place because I so happened to walk past it one day and see it packed. Then when I went to read over the menu I saw that they have an oolong tea infused soup dumpling – I was hooked. During lunch times this place gets packed fast with locals on their lunch break.

Other dishes worth eating: The taro steamed bun, fried rice with pork chop, the oolong xiao long bao

Location: No. 13, Lane 155, Dunhua North Road, Songshan District, Taipei City
Closest Metro Station: Nanjing Fuxing Station Exit 7
Price: $$ Expect to spend about 200-400 TWD

2) 點水樓 Dian Sui Lou – Current favourite!

Soup Dumplings in Taipei - museflux.com
Dian Shui Lou Dumplings

This place wasn’t on my radar and I don’t know how it hasn’t been on it before. Asides from the glorious xiao long bao this place just gives the air of what a traditional Taiwanese restaurant is like. Having eaten there recently I think I am ranking this particular place as one of the best ones get soup dumplings to die for. Here you will see very few tourists unless its locals treating the occasional local expat to a true Taiwanese dining experience. Similar to Din Tai Fung you can also see the chefs making the fresh dumplings and steaming them away.

I found the flavour here to be more delicate and quite savory.

Other dishes worth eating: Shrimp dumplings, Vegetarian Dumplings
**I haven’t tried much from their menu yet but once I do I’ll add my other recommendations. Apparently, they also make truffle xiao long bao!

Locations: See all Dian Sui Lou locations here (Since they are all available in Chinese here’s the address of the one I went: No. 299 Lequn 3rd Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei. The closest metro is Jiannan Rd. Station Exit 1.
Closest Metro Station: Depends on the location
Price: $$$ Expect to spend about 300-800 TWD

3) 杭州小籠湯包 Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao

Around Taipei you can see this shop which I found has one of the best domain names I’ve seen. Claiming to have the best xiao long bao in town, why not take your taste buds to the challenge and let your palate decide. This restaurant also offers more dim sum style dishes if you are craving a bit more of a Hong Kong vibe (even though the name of the restaurant has the city Hangzhou in it). Another little delight they have here are the steamed custard buns and also pot stickers.

Location: See all Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao locations here
Closest Metro Station: Depends on the location
Price: $$ Expect to spend about 200-400 TWD

4) 好公道的店 Jin Ji Yuan

This shop is has been open for 40 years and well if it’s been able to keep open for so long there is a pretty yummy reason. The shop front looks small but they have a large seating area upstairs. Besides from the soup duplings you can also get some of their freshly baked red bean pies, meat pies and other Taiwanese flaky savoury treats..

Location: No. 28-1, Yongkang Street, Da’an District, Taipei
Closest Metro Station: Dongmen Exit 5
Price: $$

5) 高記 Kao Chi

Another classic that Yong Kang Street that can also get quite packed but not too badly. Haven’t been to this one yet but I hear from other Taiwanese friends that its worth a visit. For a fuller review of this particular place check out Daniel’s Food Diary’s post here

Location: No. 1, Yongkang Street, Da’an District, Taipei
Closest Metro Station: Dongmen Exit 5
Price: $$ Expect to spend about 200-400 TWD

6) 林媽媽小籠包 Lin Mama Xiao Long Bao

林媽媽小籠包
Photo from ipeen.com.tw

Breakfast isn’t not only the most important meal of the day but in Taiwan it can be one of the tastiest if you are a early bird. Xiao Long bao for breakfast?! This little food cart is open from 7am to 10:30am and in the morning you will most likely see a queue. That’s also one thing I’ve learned in Taiwan, if there is a line you have a 95% chance it’ll be worth the wait. Even better for those on a budget these steamed dumplings are 60 TWD for 10 of them.

Location: No. 18, Qingcheng Street, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, 105
Closest Metro Station: Dongmen Exit 5
Price: $ 6 TWD for 1, 60 TWD for 10.

 

Those last two I am planning to visit soon even though I totally want to eat again at Dian Shui Lou. Hope this post helps you all avoid any lengthy lines from DinTaiFung and get to explore these places as they are only available in Taipei!

 

Should you manage to hit all these different spots, I’d love to hear which one was your fav! Or if there are other spots I should try out before your own foodie trip to Taipei. In my mind, I plan to share more about Taiwanese cuisine and where you can eat to your heart’s delight with some truly Taiwanese soul food.

To check out more of my foodie noms not only for Taiwan but around you might just want to drool over on my Insta and check out the tag #musefluxfoodie

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