I think the easiest, and probably best way to try new things is to try a new dish. The receptionist at the hotel I stayed at in Taipei, Ambience Hotel, suggested I take the subway to Dongmen to have the best dimsum in the city. I’ve read a lot of travel tips about the best dim sum being served at Din Tai Fung, but I also read about its really long queues and it being a tourist trap, so a great alternative was very welcome. I quickly looked it up online and read a great review with some photos, and off I went to Dongmen. Only problem? I didn’t know what the great dim sum place was called. I got off at Dongmen, asked one of the employees at the subway station where Dongmen dim sum was. She only understood Dongmen and pointed at the station sign. Then I remembered the magic word one of the only few words I knew in Chinese: xiao long bao. She immediately got it, pointed me to the right exit and told me it was 10 steps (or maybe 10 meters) away. I was so glad I read the online review with the photos because I wouldn’t have recognized the restaurant’s entrance, which only had Chinese characters on it.
I had to wait for a few minutes to get a table at Kao-Chi . I was given a menu with an overwhelming array of choices. I wanted to order two kinds of dim sum, but the waitress told me that one order was really big, so I asked her which one was the best. A few minutes later, this arrived:
Ten pieces of hot and steamy pork dim sum. As I bit into the first one, hot soup spilled out. Startling for a newbie like me, but sooo good. I thought ten pieces would be too many, but they were just so good, I ate all ten. After that, I kept thinking that I could never eat fast food dim sum ever again. I’d go back to Taipei just for the xiao long bao. Sigh.
I didn’t get to try the Taiwanese hotdog at the night market, so I was really happy that one of the food stalls at the airport served it. Known locally as Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang, it is pork sausage wrapped in a sticky rice sausage. It reminded me of the Filipino longganisa, but bigger, handier, and (sorry) better. I couldn’t have ended my Taipei trip better.