#32 – Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) – Taipei (台北), Taiwan (台灣)

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The story of Din Tai Fung was one with humble beginnings.  The founder Yang Bingyi (楊秉彝) was actually born in Shanxi, China but moved to Taiwan in 1948 due to the Chinese Civil War and to look for any kind of opportunity.  Yang eventually landed a job at Heng Tai Fung (恆泰豐), a cooking oil wholesaler.   For 10 years, Yang managed business at Heng Tai Fung but due to unfortunate circumstances, the store shut down and left Yang and his wife unemployed.  Under dire times, Yang opened his own oil retailer business called, Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐).

However, during the 70s, when tinned cooking oil became widespread and Yang’s business looking to end up with the same ending as his previous job, him and his wife started selling steamed dumplings on the side.  The dumplings became so popular through word of mouth that Yang closed his cooking oil business altogether in the 1980’s and opened up a restaurant specializing in steamed dumplings or xiaolongbao (小籠包).  Xiaolongbao directly translated as ‘small’ ‘steaming basket’ ‘bun’ are traditionally steamed in bamboo baskets.  The buns themselves are filled with pork with soup broth encased in a fragrant flour skin.  Now, the ingredients inside a xiaolongbao vary with several famous pairings along with vegetarian options.

The Michelin star award winning restaurant is known for their exceptional quality of food, service, and hygiene.  This branch of Din Tai Fung was located in the Fuxing Sogo (復興) department store level B2 next to Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station (忠孝復興站) and the quality was no different from any other.  The international brand of Din Tai Fung has now reached Canada, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, the United States and Thailand.

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Busy as ever.

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First time seeing my cousin Catherine!  Some people in my family claim I have seen her when I was a baby, but some claim that I haven’t.  I had no recollection if I had met her before but it was nice having a small family reunion in Taiwan.  Good times and good chat about family and things!

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Classic pork steamed dumplings.

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Popular veggie alternative, that tasty slightly sweet.  Yums.

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Was told the meal was better if we had some beer to go with our lunch.  Gold standard Taiwan Beer!

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The spoon that completes your life.

Haha.

I have been looking forward to this moment since they opened up the Din Tai Fung at FMP and found out that it originated from Taiwan.  I have heard good things about Taiwanese food and Din Tai Fung has always been brought up in the discussions.  I am glad that I got the chance to visit this restaurant and share this moment with my cousin.  If you ask me to compare, the quality of Din Tai Fung in Taiwan certainly is a step above any other especially the extra care taken in the details of presentation and service.  However, I have always stressed how lucky I have been to come from Canada, immigrant country with culinary delights from all across the world within a short drive.  I can conclude that what we have in T.Dot is good, really good. ^_^

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My cousin is the marketing manager at CitySuper, a high end supermarket that retails quality imported products with lots of influence coming from Japanese goods.

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Sogo.

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The famous Korean fitness guru Jung Da-yeon (정다연 / 鄭多燕 / チョン・ダヨン).  She is a 46 year old mom that is famous in Korean, Japan, and Taiwan for her physique and fitness/aerobic videos.  Essentially the female Asian Tony Horton.  GG.

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The famous Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) is one of Taiwan’s largest and most famous night markets.  I met up with Coco and Emily to explore and eat our way through the snack stalls.

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Endless street shopping and street food.

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Pig blood jelly (猪血糕).

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Hot and covered with peanuts.  They mixed pigs blood with gelatin to get this stiff jelly like texture that you eat off a stick.  Definitely not what I imagined it taste like, a little salty and fragrant with hints of meat.  Though this was better shared as it was quite filling.

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Famous fried buns with pork (生煎包).

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So mouth watering just thinking about this.

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Arm’s length sausages.  WTH.  Sausage fest.  Pass.

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Chicken Leg Roll (雞腿捲).  This delicious snack was inconspicuously wrapped up like a spring roll and dressed with a multitude of flavours you can pick.  However, beneath the crunchy exterior was the cooked chicken meat seasoned to perfection.  This snack was a surprised and I liked it a lot.

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Popcorn chickennnnnn.

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Deep Fried Fresh Milk (炸鮮奶).  One of the things I specifically asked for to find.

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Piping hot and smooth and a little sweet.  One of my favourites.

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This shop I never got to return to and buy.  I had my hands filled with food when we walked past and didn’t buy on spot.  They have their buns (胡椒餅) stuck on the side of this heated cauldron thing and cooked like that.  Quite cool.

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Thirsty for BBT.  Ended up finding this, Heineken Green Tea (海尼根綠茶).  They actually put in Heineken beer but the sweet green tea they mixed in right after overpowered the Heineken and you can barely taste any beer.  Interesting to see nonetheless.

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A bowl of noodles (麵線).  Maximum descriptiveness. Woo.

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Another yummy Taiwanese Herbal Pork Ribs Soup (藥燉排骨湯).

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Thank you Coco and Emily for bringing me around Shilin Night Market!  My goodbye to Emily was here.  Good luck and travel safe!

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The famous Tai Yi Milk King shop (臺一牛奶大王).

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Mango Ice time.

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Met with Ai-ling one last time since Singapore actually before I left!  Good luck in the states for your graduate studies!  Study hard!

Also said bye to Coco here as I promised the next time we meet to play some tennis.  She is on her University school team!  Take care Coco!

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Poker night @ home.  Never saw myself playing Texas Hold ’em in Taiwan.

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Cool gadget that significantly amplified the speakers on the iPhone.  All it did was tunnel the speakers out, no electricity required!  I thought this was cool haha.

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My second home cooked meal since leaving at the end of December.   My last home cooked meal was in Singapore.  A never-ending supply of thank yous to Ellie and her parents for inviting me to eat with them.  Meals like this meant a lot more to me than I or anyone can imagine and even though I may be the only one that understood in the room at the time, I wish I could express my infinite appreciation and gratefulness towards them more.  I just want to say Auntie was really cool with her coffee espresso making wand, thank you for the awesome coffee. XP

….the final chapter of Taiwan is next.  T_T.

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Posted in Travel
2 comments on “#32 – Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) – Taipei (台北), Taiwan (台灣)
  1. winkgurl says:

    the fmp isn’t din tai fung..its DING tai fung. it’s a fan ban!!!! lol

    • kel says:

      I know… Had to check this information out… Started with ding then I changed to din… I think you should confront the owners of the FMP branch and demand a refund.

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