#TaipeiNoms Pt. 2: Dumplings, Shaved Ice and More
April 2, 2016 nandrawr 0 Comments
Herewith I’d like to continue my journey of eating my way around Taiwan. Or, well, the little bit of Taiwan I get to see during my short 4-day trip back in late February. Pardon my lack of ~food photography~ skills.
This Large Bowl of Shaved Ice + Fruits
I’m going to start with this and not with Din Tai Fung only because Alex is obsessed with this shaved ice. Ok, disclaimer: we didn’t get this in Taipei, but in Jiufen. Which was about an hour train ride away from Taipei city? Apparently Jiufen is famous for its glutinous taro balls and I got a taste of its finest from this large portion of shaved ice. Although it was sunny out, it was still the middle of Taiwan’s coldest winter, but we really didn’t care and shoved this mighty dessert down anyway. To my surprise it wasn’t that sweet. Lovely combination of fruits (kiwi, bananas, watermelons and pineapples), taro balls, sweet potato balls, pearls, topped with a generous serving of condensed milk. I can see myself downing this in the heat of the summertime.
Ah Zhu Peanut Ice Cream
Only figured out its name after poking around Lady Iron Chef’s blog. I was gonna title this with “This Yummy Peanut Ice Cream”. I didn’t take a really nice picture of it as I was holding back the line and people kept shoving me. Anyways, this is a nice one if you like peanuts, ice cream, and… crepes? Basically, think of it as a peanut ice-cream spring roll? Or ice-cream burritto? Well what ever you wanna call it, these guys slab a generous portion of taro ice cream on a bed of shaved peanuts, served on top of a spring roll skin, and rolled into perfection. Queue explosion of flavours in your mouth.
Din Tai Fung
Okay, NOW I’ll roll out the big gun. I’m honestly not quite a big fan of Din Tai Fung, perhaps because the branches in Jakarta isn’t as good, or I have other dim sum preferences in the city. But, the original Din Tai Fung outlet is apparently a staple, and one’s visit to Taipei is incomplete without eating here. As expected, there was a MASSIVE queue, and it was way past lunchtime! We got to the outlet at Xinyi and got number 1228 and expected waiting time was up to 90 minutes.
At this point I was super hungry, so we strolled around and actually ate some beef noodle soup, which I’ll show you after this. When we got back though, they’ve called our number but still let us in without having to get another ticket! Hooray!
We ordered xiao long bao (of course), shiumai, and noodles in peanut sauce (sorta like Dandan mian). Verdict: that is some good xiao long bao. I can’t help comparing it to Shanghai’s Jia Jia Tang Bao, however. But, overall, it is worth a visit, as their xiao long bao is different than their overseas branches. The soup was hot and the broth was very flavourful, but not too thick. The dumpling skin was thin enough, but didn’t break easily when you try to pick them up. As for the other dishes, I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars? It was just not too special.
All in all it was a good experience, and is it worth the wait? Well, if you are a xiao long bao enthusiast like me, you’re definitely in for a treat!
Din Tai Fung Xinyi Outlet: No. 194 Second Section, Xinyi Road, Taipei, Taiwan
Beef Noodle Soup
This was what we ate when we had to wait for our Din Tai Fung. They claimed themselves to be the best beef noodle soup in Taipei. It was a good meal, not sure if it was the best, because I had nothing to compare it to. It was a really nice, warming bowl of noodles, with very tender beef and fresh, juicy tomatoes. Would definitely recommend this for a winter meal.
Pineapple Butter Buns
We explored Shida Night Market, a staple in a very student-y neighbourhood. During the day most of the stalls are closed, but at night it’s lively and bustling with energy. Aside from food, they’ve got a range of all fashionable items for sale in every alley. This particular pineapple bun stall has a long queue and was super busy, which is normally a good sign. We got one and just like the case of the potato croquette, I had to fight over it with Alex. Totes should have gotten 3 more of them.
This one was worth the queue, btw, it was a very decadent, crispy, pineapple buns. One of the best I’ve ever tasted!
Pro tip: Shida night market is another staple night market to visit in Taipei! It’s smaller than Shilin, but a bit less crowded and more trendy due to its predominantly student population. To get there, take the MRT (Green Line) to Taipower Building. Go out from Exit 3, turn right and make another right to get onto Shida Road. The market runs along this road and the adjacent alleys.
Yong He Dou Jiang
We went to this place because my parents convinced me it was a must-try, based on a TLC show they watched. I read up on it and it was recommended by Serious Eats and other blogs as well. It tickled my curiosity, so we went there on our last day in Taipei for breakfast. We ordered waaay too much, because we wanted to try A LOT. We ended up with a couple of you tiao, some egg pancakes, you tiao sandwich and a cup of warm soy milk for me. It ended up being too much and way too oily. I liked the pancakes most, but still had to douse them in a bit of soy sauce, vinegar and chillies. I suppose it was just too bland for my South East Asian tongue.
I can understand why breakfast is such a staple here, though. And why people say this is amazing hangover food! I would recommend you to visit Yong He, to get a taste of the typical Taipei breakfast. However, Alex took me to a nicer breakfast joint, in Shida area and it was more flavourful for my taste. Too bad I didn’t take much pictures there as it was my first day. But, in a nutshell, if you are to visit Taipei, trying out the local breakfast joint is a must! Try to find one around the area and keep a lookout on the ones frequented by most locals!
Yong He Dou Jiang: No. 102, Section 2, Fuxing South Road Taipei 106
Well, folks I suppose this ends my series of #TaipeiNoms. It was good fun documenting all the noms I had in this fine city. I really hope I’ll get to go back to explore more of Taiwan and eat my way around the country. Until my next adventure, then!
Did I miss something from this list and the previous #TaipeiNoms list? Let me know in the comments!