January 1, 2018

Taipei

FEAST

Crab roe & pork xiaolongbao:

My second half-dozen was the crab roe & pork, truly delicious!  I could definitely taste the briny flavor the crab brought.  It would take me a very long time to get tired of these and yesterday's shrimp & squash version.  Four Licks all day for these dumplings.  Again, the soup wasn't piping hot, which I'm sure is normal.  I think I like having them super hot to start, but that could be a function of the thickness of the wrap.

Steamed pork & shrimp dumplings:

Next up were steamed pork & shrimp dumplings.  As usual at this joint, the flavor was terrific.  But what stood out for me was that these were so juicy.  Most other steamed dumplings I've ever had are dry by comparison.  This definitely gets three human tongues.

My first dish this morning was the chicken soup dumplings.  I'd never had chicken xiaolongbao, and these were delicious.  Again, the thin wrap makes the dish so light.  Though these are probably seasoned the same way as their other soup dumplings, it's great knowing the different proteins don't all taste the same after having been marinated in soy sauce for however long; I wouldn't be able to do a taste test for the ones I've tried in the US.

Chicken soup dumplings:

Whole Sauteed Prawns

I returned to Din Tai Fung at the SoGo Mall to try some different dishes.  Getting there just before they opened at 10:00 AM enabled me to avoid another long wait for a table.  And by the time I left just after 10:30, there was already quite a queue present.

Din Tai Fung at SoGo Mall

Spare rib & bitter melon soup:

My final dish was by far the most unique for the meal.  Bitter melon has a shape similar to cucumber, and its flavor is as advertised: bitter.  This soup was perfect because that bitterness was countered perfectly by the fattiness of the pork.  There was a sliver of fresh ginger thrown in for good measure.  I definitely give the dish four Licks but with the caveat that I found the bitter melon flavor enjoyable.  I know I wouldn't have felt this way as a kid.

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My last meal in Taipei was back at Jio-Wu for some more stewed ox tripe and a large bowl of hot & spicy beef & tendon noodle soup.  It was delish!  I can't wait to look for beef noodle soup when I get back home.  I'm sure some friends will tell me, "yeah, it's always been available around here."  But will it be as good?

Jio-Wu Beef Noodle:

Whole Sauteed Prawns