Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐): Taiwan's ultimate xiaolongbao

Ding Tai Feng is supposed to be great but I’ve always been put off by the lines of Japanese and overseas Chinese tourists. Apparently, its on the “must do” list of every tour package itinerary and I’ve never seen it quiet.

Don’t know the exact address, but its on the south side of Xinyi, and its between Xinsheng S. Rd. and Yongkang St.

That’s the one. The restaurant spells the first part of its name “Dim.” I can’t remember how it spells the second word.

Though you’ll occasionally hear people say, “Well, yes, but the stand in ------ night market is better,” I think the dumplings are excellent. Try a variety. I don’t remember vegetarian selections – but there probably are some.

As Sandman said, the restaurant is on the south side of Xinyi, between Yongkang St. and Xinsheng S. Rd., though closer to the former. You can recognize it by the lines (and by its NYT clipping in the window).

Expect to wait half an hour or so for a table, if you go in the evening. You’ll need to leave your name and get a number during busy times. Most times are busy there.

Taiwanese friends are always dragging up the old line about ‘the dumplings are good but you can get them as good at half the price elsewhere…’ but then failing to produce the goods when asked. It is expensive (comparatively), clean, a bit of a mad trip and the dumplings are excellent.

Din Tai Fong is of those ultra fashionable places to be seen at I guess. Fortunately the dumplings are outstanding also. Personally I’d go elsewhere for equally good dumplings but then I’m not afflicted/blessed with the Taiwanese love of lining up for fashionable items.

Another newish outstanding restaurant is Kiki opposite Breeze shopping centre and serving Szechuan cuisine. The humble tomato and egg dish is out of this world. Unfortunately it’s becoming frequented by local celebrities so either book or get in line. Mind you they do apparently have other branches in the city. Anyone know if they are they as good?

YUM!!! :smiley:
Try the spinach ones. To die for - I could eat a whole bamboo steamer of them all by myself.

Well…Taipei has decided to keep with Hanyu so that poor foreigners don’t get confused. Anyway, I’ve head that the quality has been heading downhill. Lots of their original chefs have left to open their own restaurants. It’s more of a tourist attraction than restaurant any more.

i lived over on Yongkang just south of Xinyi for a while. i ate at Ding Tai Feng when i first came here with a Japanese business traveller and got food poisoning, but i doubt thats typical of the place. i went back and it does have good dumplings. part of the draw is defnitely the hub-bub and the bustling kitchen and steam bellowing bamboo stacks you walk through on the way in. they were entirely devoid of full vegetarian dumplings having only a few dim-sum things like red and yellow bean cakes and stuff that didn’t at least have some pork as flavor. in short, it doesn’t get me excited, and since i moved away from Yongkang i quickly slid it back to a tempermental old backburner of my brain.

it is always stacked with people, and its two doors east of Yongkang on the southside of Xinyi.

i found the line always moves fast.

get the hot and sour soup next time, killer

What always amazes me is that it has it’s own dedicated overnight security guard set up at a desk and chair outside. Is it so good that people would want to raid the fridges or is it just an ostentatious dispalay of affluence!

I went to one of the newer branches somewhere on Zhongxiao East Road. it was good, but they’re just FREAKING DUMPLINGS! :slight_smile: I don’t see what the big deal is. It was a little pricey by Taiwan standards(though the prices aren’t bad by Japanese or American standards… especially for a restaurant which got such huge raves from the NYT).

I went to a hole in the wall dumpling place just a bit south of the branch you’re talking about on Yongkang street, like a few blocks south of the mango ice place that always has a line in front. To me, the dumplings there were just as good and even a bit juicier than the Ding Tai Feng ones. It was less than half the price, too. Maybe I just have very pedestrian tastes when it comes to dumplings and it takes a dumpling connoisseur to detect the differences.

Branches? Since when? I thought the only branches of this restaurant are in Japan.

Yes one near Zhongxiao and Yanji and one in HK.

In Xinzhu on Datong road, just near the intersection with Beida road, is a tiny hole-in-the-wall jiaozi stand only open from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm (M-Sat) that makes the best dumplings I have ever had in my entire life. You actually have to call ahead to reserve X number of steamers, otherwise the owner and her 4 kids get all irate and lecture you about how they only make a certain number each day, yadda yadda yadda. Despite their stinky attitude the jiaozi are so worth it. Heavenly.


I read the article, posted in the window, as i was stood outside DTF waiting to get in a few years ago (i’m pretty sure that they’ve taken it down now). I think it was from the Wall St Journal; it was the world’s top ten restaurants and it was def in there, though i seem to remember that they were listed in no particular order. Further reading of the article made the whole article a bit of a dud as it started listing other places as obscure as DTF (one of the other places was a village restaurant in deepest Wales - fabulous i’m sure but hardly accessible to the average reader of the WSJ). Any way, DTF made a large hoo-har out of it and still get free publicity from it. I’m sure they’d still have a copy of the article there if you asked. All said and done it is a fine restaurant and a bit of an icon…there are very few more flattering sights for a restaurant than a queue of expectant diners permanently hovvering outside.

Pulled this review off of CNN a while back…

Famous dumpling restaurant packs in patrons

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – Restless as they wait for their numbers to be called, hungry patrons jostle one another on the sidewalk, sniffing appreciatively at the billows of steam pouring from the first-floor kitchen.

They are ardent devotees of Ding Tai Feng’s dumplings – bite-size purses of meat from a pig’s hind legs ground with salt, sugar and sesame oil, folded tight in rice flour wrappers and steamed piping-hot to delicate softness.

With a reputation that extends to Tokyo and the United States, Ding Tai Feng is likely Taiwan’s most famous restaurant, a big accomplishment on an island rich in varied styles and Chinese culinary traditions.

When Gen. Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists retreated to Taiwan after losing a civil war to China’s Communists in 1949, he brought with him about 2 million mainlanders. Many were amateur and professional cooks with a culinary flair.

The immigrants opened restaurants spanning the entire spectrum of Chinese cuisine: from the subtle Cantonese crabs and fishes and vinegar-laced dishes of Zhejiang and Jiangsu to the mouth-numbing spicy meats of Sichuan.

‘Raucous, chattering diners’
But it is Ding Tai Feng

Went there today, inspired to do so by this thread. Eh. Got in at 1:30, restaurant was half-full. There was 1 uniformed “huan-yin guan-lin*” girl per table. Sat down, waitress handed me an English menu with no prices and a photocopied article from some european epicurean mag that features DTF and a few other restaurants. The review said the restaurant didn’t have an English menu. Hmmm, okay. So, the wife-to-be and I order a steamer of xiao long bao for 170 NT. They were good, but they were not the best I’ve ever had. And they were at least 2x more expensive than they had to be. At 2:00, waitress says the chef is going to take a nap, any last orders? No, okay we leave. On the way out an army of white-clad, face-masked apprentice chefs are offloading a DTF truck filled with pre-made food and rushing to the kitchen.

It’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.


  • used to tell FOBs who couldn’t speak Chinese when they asked what huan-yin guan-lin meant that it was “Close the door!” Took em about week to figure out it was “welcome.”

I looked it up on the net and it was an article in the January 17th, 1993 New York Times which picked Ding Tai Feng as one of the world’s top 10 restaurants (and started the mad rush). For the life of me, i can’t seem to find a copy of the article online anywhere. If anyone can find it, can you post a link?

The newspaper article in the window also named a restaurant in Wales as one of the top seven restaurants in the world. That’s my lasting impression of my one and only visit to DTF. Food was alright, but NT$230 for Niurou Mian ? The guy outside my flat in Zhong He at the time did it just as well for sixty, and the Xiaolong Bao from the street outside ELSI on Roosevelt were better.

See, I’m vegetarian so I don’t know if I can be bothered trying out this Din Tai Fung, but I have been a few times ot this other one just around the corner opposite the famous Mango Ice Shop (on Yongkang Jie) and the reason I went was becuase the people taking me said that it was just as good, but half the price int he same style. I had good vegetarian Shuijiao and Xiao Long Bao, so it’s worht a look.


Uh, Bri, I am pretty sure the vegetable ones have a bit of pork in them…that’s what they told me other day, and I went bonkers on them!!

I kept asking them, “The spinach ones have pork???” Yes. “Are you sure there aren’t any vegetarian ones?” No vegetarian ones. (in Mandarin, of course)
Thought I’d be sick since a Taiwanese friend had ordered them when I went last time and they’d assured me they were vegetarian!!!
I’m not 100% vegetarian since I eat seafood, but I haven’t eaten pork, lamb or beef for 15 years…at least I didn’t think so.

Please let me know if this is true, Bri, or else I’m not going back again. I found the shrimp ones so-so…