One of the most successful restaurant chains that came from Taiwan is Ding Tai Fung – from it’s humble beginnings, it has now grown to be a global brand by making Xiao Long Bao’s one by one. I’ve been to Ding Tai Fung in Taipei during work trips before – but when Ms. Buddha and I visited, we decided to try another popular shop in Taipei – Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao (杭州小籠湯包).
There’s not much parking in front of the shop but we found parking around the corner – the shop itself is located inside a pair of gates – look for the front shop front.
You order like you do at most Taiwanese shops like Ding Tai Fung with the order sheet – on top of that, staff come around with plates of sides that you can just pick – we were quite hungry by then so we got 3 side dishes – dried bean curd, vegetarian chicken and also some marinated eggplants – all three were excellent although I thought the eggplant could be a little more flavourful.
Ms. Buddha loves vinegar and pepper soup – so she ordered a bowl – she polished it off in no time! We also ordered a favourite of mine which is calamari cooked with salted egg yolk – the texture was excellent and the salted egg yolk added a depth that you wouldn’t get from just plain salt – although it could have done with just a little bit less oiliness.
Only to the stars of the place – the dumplings, we ordered veggie dumplings, cab roe xiao long bao and regular xiao long bao. The veggie dumplings were packed with ingredients and the skin had a nice stringy texture.
The Xiao Long Bao’s were done really well – with the soup inside maintaining its heat really well – both the crab roe and the regular were nicely done! Compared to Ding Tai Fung – flavour this place takes the cake – skin wise – there were some which were slightly less consistent than the others – delicious none the less!
As the final end to the lunch, we also ordered some shallots pancakes – the shallots had were really freshed – but unfortunately a little too oily for my taste – I think it could’ve used a little bit more time to air out for a moment before being brought out.