I have always loved Din Tai Fung's and Crystal Jade's xiao long bao. But after my Taiwan getaway, I had to renounce my earlier "This is the best xiao long bao!" declarations and tell these two famous restos to move over 'coz I've finally discovered the better than best xiao long baos in the universe!
Thank you to my friend Vivien and tour guide Andy for letting me sneak into Taipei and Hualien's two epic food havens. And because my taste buds were indecisive choosing which of these two has the better xiao long bao, my stomach chomped a draw.
The first xiao long bao restaurant is in Taipei. And because I can't read Chinese, I don't know the restaurant's name (yes, so much for a "food review!" All I can remember is its location. It's about 300 meters away from the CKS Memorial. Take me there and my stomach would be able to recall it by heart! If you're going to Taipei, better memorize this sign board [or if you can read Chinese, kindly please translate it for me :) ]
Vivien told me that this tiny place is always crowded, especially after office hours. Good thing we only waited five minutes to be seated!
We ordered the pork xiao long bao and the veggie xiao long bao. But after taking a bite of the unhealthier version, I forgot about the benefits of eating green, and continued savoring the best molded dumplings ever! The soup inside is lip-smacking! Forgive my sugarcoated adjective, but it is just too perfect! I didn't let these dumplings sit too long inside the bamboo basket. I devoured five dumplings too quickly. I almost neglected the other food on our table! By the way, their soup is also delicious:
Although I've seen how xiao long baos are made a couple of times before, I can't help but still be amazed on how they fill these buns!
So there you go! Xiao long bao haven #1!
The second one is in Hualien County, Taiwan, introduced by our tour guide, who, as luck would have it, knows the secret local food gems! The small carinderia-type joint is called 周家蒸餃 and can be found here:
Most locals line up here to have their fave take-out snack! For a few minutes, I tried to be a local and purchased my bag of goodies! That's me happily queueing for my treat. This was taken in 2012, forgive the wrong settings of the camera =D
It's open 24 hours and the xiao long bao is really cheap. NT$5/piece!
Bamboo baskets were stacked high. But this pile only lasted a few minutes! Locals order too many baskets of xiao long baos. While lining up, my taste buds have already made up its mind, that this must be really gooood!
Compared to the typical xiao long baos, this one doesn't have that translucent skin. Instead, the texture is like a real bun. Mini siopao with soup inside! My verdict? OOOOHLALAH! I swear I will go back to Hualien just for this (and the mochi--more on this later!)
Gazillion thumbs up to my newfound xiao long bao paradises! Hope to see you soon!
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