I’m way behind on my giant backlog of things I want to share from this summer’s gustatory adventures. Please bear with me as I dig up the best food from the past couple months before I get too busy to eat, much less blog about it.
During my stay in Taipei, many of you will recall how I spent weeks extolling the virtues of Din Tai Fung, the famed dumpling mecca where people line up around the block like it’s 1977 and they’re trying to get into Studio 54.
I’ve already said that every dumpling I have from now on until the day I die will be compared to those dumplings and I stand by that statement, but rather than keep writing about them, I figured I owed you some photos. Feast your eyes on this:
There is always plenty of sliced fresh ginger and exceedingly polite, attractive young servers to offer you more should you start to run low.
The famed xiao long bao (steamed pork soup dumplings) are obviously a must, but the dessert dumplings are surprisingly tasty. My favorite was the soft, creamy taro. And of course, the mashed sweet red bean, since dessert isn’t dessert in Asia unless it’s stuffed with red bean. It’s like chocolate over there.
The original shop on the corner of Xinyi Road and Yungkang Street is still the best, but one of the other outposts in Taipei has an open kitchen so you can catch a glimpse of the specially trained chefs painstakingly creating each of the decreed number of folds (18 to be exact) by hand. Rumor has it that the chefs must train as apprentices for an entire year before they’re allowed to make a single dumpling for customers.