Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐
Din Tai Fung is the restaurant for soup dumplings (xiaolongbao 小籠湯包). The vendors and restaurants in Shanghai can't compare to the Din Tai Fung brand. The original shop is in Yunkang Street in Taipei, Taiwan. Unfortunately for mainland China but fortunately for Taiwan, most of the culinary masters of various Chinese cuisines flocked with the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi) before the 1949 Communist victory in mainland China. Xiaolongbao is a popular Shanghainese culinary masterpiece that differs from the Northern-style dumplings in that it's steamed rather than boiled in water and has a meat and broth filling. Instead of dipping the dumplings in soy sauce, you dip them in black vinegar with thinly sliced ginger.
Who knew that the founder, who was neither a chef by trade nor from Shanghai, could have established the world's most renowned xiaolongbao restaurant?
Din Tai Fung has since expanded its menu from its humble beginnings. Their chicken soup is known for the intensity of the broth.
Chicken Soup; Wonton Soup
You can do no wrong ordering the various steamed dumplings. The quality will always be top-notch.
Shrimp and Pork Dumplings; Fish Dumplings
A hidden plus to eating at Din Tai Fung on Yunkang Street is its proximity to the best dessert vendor in Taiwan-Ice Monster. Finishing off your meal of steaming soup dumplings with a chilly bowl of shaved ice, fresh mangos, mango ice cream and condensed milk will make your $1000 plane ticket to 100% humidity hell worthwhile.
Mango Ice with Mango Ice Cream