[Taipei] When we talk about the “best” Xiao Long Bao in Taipei, Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 will certainly come to mind, and perhaps Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao 杭州小籠湯包 and Kao Chi 高記.

One place that many may overlook is “Hao Kung Tao Chin Chi Yuan” 好公道金雞園 which literally means “Good Justice Golden Rooster Park”.

All these four restaurants are located not far from one another.

This two-storey, cash-only restaurant has been offering Shanghainese fare for more than 40 years.

It is also listed in the Taipei Michelin Guide with a Bib Gourmand.

I was walking along Yong Kang Street, and a woman was waving along inviting customers to go upstairs. Behind her were bamboo baskets filled with steamed dim sum, and workers making pastries to be baked.

It didn’t look too impressive from appearance to be honest, but when I went upstairs, it was a whole different world all together.

So, don’t judge a restaurant by its ‘cover’ too.

The restaurant was packed to the brim, with several groups and tourists ordering table full of items. I am sure during peak periods, customers would have to wait long for a seat.

With its simple and austere look, it attracts diners not for its ambiance but for its food. Since the beginning, everything on the menu has been made by hand.

Popular at Jin Ji Yuan are steamed dumplings, with offerings of Shrimp Shumai (NT$160 for 8 pieces in a basket), Crab Roe Dumpling (NT$200), Vegetable & Meat Dumplings (NT$140), and Shrimp Dumplings (NT$160).

Decisions, decisions.

I decided to go for the Xiao Long Bao (NT$140, SGD6.45) since I wanted to do some form of comparison. Surprisingly, I loved them for its smooth-thin skin and juicy fillings.

Perhaps they do not have as a refined and sweet taste as Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐’s, but this had a more rustic, savoury flavour.

The dumplings boasting 18 pleats on each were meaty with tender pork, and fantastically moist with flavourful broth.

They taste more ‘hand-made’ than those you get from the other restaurants, if you get what I mean.

Certainly top 3 Xiao Long Bao in Taipei I tried so far.

There were other side dishes such as Boiled Vegetables (NT$50), Fried Pork Chop (NT$70), and Braised Mushroom (NT$80), and I couldn’t leave without ordering that Fried Chicken Leg (NT$80).

This was as good as it looked, crisp, large, and very tender and juicy.

Jin Jin Yuan is also known for its pastries, with the ground floor offering a full display and many customers ordering takeaways.

What you can expect include Taro Pudding, Onion Cakes, Rice Pudding, Silver Thread Roll, Sesame Cake and Red Bean Cake.

Faced with a tough decision, I asked the waitress for recommendation, and she went, ”Pork Roll. Recommended by Michelin inspectors.”

Unfortunately, this Pork Roll (NT$50 for 2 pieces) turned out to be the weakest link among all items ordered – with dry pastry and drier meat within.

She came and asked, ”How was it?” I told her the truth, and that look of disappointment was unforgettable.

To ‘redeem’ from that experience, I had another dessert of Glutinous Rice Cake (NT$50) which reminded me of the sponge cake available in many dim sum restaurants.

It was a texture I never quite experienced before, but with its honeyed-sweetness with bits of red beans, this is something I would actually recommend getting.

You can easily spot this non-smoking restaurant by the bamboo steamers stacked up high at the entrance. Go for the Xiao Long Bao.

Hao Kung Tao Chin Chi Yuan or Jin Ji Yuan 好公道金雞園
28-1, Yong Kang Street, Da’an District, Taipei, 110, Taiwan
Tel: +886 2 341 6980
Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm (Mon – Tues, Thurs – Sun)
Google Maps – Jin Ji Yuan

Other Related Entries
Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 (Xinyi Road, Taipei)
Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao 杭州小籠湯包 (Da’an District, Taipei)
Kao Chi 高記 (Yong Kang Street, Taipei)
Shanghai Master Shao 上海邵師傅湯包 (Da’an District, Taipei)

Click HERE for other TAIPEI Food Entries

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