[Taipei] A Taiwanese friend told me that while the tourists go for extra-super-famous Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐, the locals head to the more ‘humble’ Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao 杭州小籠湯包.
Founded by the Huang brothers who were raised in the Huaguang Community, Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao is a family-run business that specializes in the popular Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings), located at Hangzhou South Road.
Some consider it being the cheaper, but also the better version of the famous Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐. Just saying.
They have both been listed in the inaugural Taipei Michelin Bib Gourmand by the way.
Before opening their own place, the Huang brothers were the apprentices at a popular noodle shop where they crafted to perfection their knowledge of making delicious noodles.
Today, their noodles attract crowds of both tourists and locals daily, and you would most likely need to wait for your queue number during peak hours.
I think part of the reason is that Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao is located close to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 中正紀念堂, and people do come for a meal here after the visit.
The interior of Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao features wooden low tables and stools where visitors can sit down and enjoy the meal.
Almost like an inn. Service was brisk and straightforward, so do not come expecting “Michelin” service-standards.
Several notable magazines and major TV news stations covered the success of this place, so it is no wonder that tourists from Japan and South Korea can often be seen here.
The basket of Xiao Long Bao (TWD150, SGD6.70) was definitely the signature dish – freshly made to order, and coming in other options of fillings such as Crab Roe and Green Squash and Shrimp.
The pork filling was well-seasoned with hot, tasty soup.
But do be really honest, I didn’t enjoy the dumplings as much as the skin was too thick for my liking.
Food was generally not as delicate as what I expected to be.
Some of the other dishes on the menu include Mixed Vegetable and Meat Pot Stickers, Crab Roe and Shrimp Siu Mai, Pumpkin Cake, Beef Brisket Soup and Red Bean Pancake.
If I were to recommend a dish, it would be the Crab Roe and Tofu Pot (TWD350, SGD15.70), though it was pricier than all the other items.
The silken egg tofu cooked in creamy rich orangey crab roe could be high-cholesterol-inducing, but the sweet-seafood base with grainy texture was worth the consumption.
Especially if you are a fan of roe, there is abundance of it every spoonful.
The easiest way to get to Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao is by getting off at the Chiang Kai Shek MRT (Exit number 5). From there, walk straight for 5 minutes and you will reach the eatery.
Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao
No. 19, Section 2, Hangzhou South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (Near (Chiang Kai Shek MRT, Exit number 5)
Tel: +886 2 2393 1757
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm Daily
Google Maps – Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao
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