Today, a friend and I went to a restaurant called Din Tai Fung, which was rated by the new york times as one of the top 10 gourmet restaurants in the world. Anthony Bourdain said he’d “travel half-way round the world to eat dumplings at Din Tai Fung”!
The specialty dumplings of the restaurant are xiao long bao, a silky dumpling filled with meat and broth. I’d have to admit, they were good. When you bite into it, all of the broth pours into your mouth. Its like biting into soup. All of the dumplings are made by hand in the restaurant, and it’s amazing how quickly the workers can make such delicate dumplings.
The second dish I had was a pepper, peanut, and sesame paste noodle. It was an interesting flavor combo, with 3 items that I’d consider supplementary rather than main flavors.
The service was of a high class restaurant, however, the prices were the same as any other inexpensive restaurant in Taiwan. I left this “Top 10” restaurant with a bill of 6 USD. That included waiters dressed in tuxes who hovered around and refilled my teacup the moment I took a sip. Way to go Taiwan!
After that, we went up to Taipei 101. It costs 15 USD to go to the top, which I considered ridiculous. Luckily, I learned about a trick where you can call starbucks, which is located on the 35th floor, and they will give you passes to come up. I’ve never seen the Taipei skyline, and man, it’s pretty hard to tell where you are. Taipei 101 is pretty much the only tall building in the city; there are no other landmarks to help you get your bearings.
On the way back to the MRT, we ran into a break-dancing competition. Hip-hop and break-dance are becoming really popular in Taiwan, and there are a number of famous dance schools. This was a 5-on-5 competition for different teams across the country, and I must admit they were all a lot better than I had expected. Especially was surprised by the teams from rural areas of Taiwan, they really had it together! This city holds a lot of surprises, and I continue to learn not to underestimate the Taiwanese.