Taipei 101 is undoubtedly a signature tourist destination in Taiwan. It’s well-recognized for its architectural design looking like a tall bamboo stalk. Standing at 508 meters, it is far taller than any other building in Taipei and, at one point, was the tallest building the world. The first five stories of the building is basically a big mall comprised of various luxury brand stores and a food court in the basement level.
While there is plenty of shopping that could be done there, we had one main goal in mind during our visit at Taipei 101: To dine at the Din Tai Fung restaurant! Din Tai Fung is a Michelin Star restaurant that serves a full menu of Taiwanese dishes but is notably famous for its xiao long bao, or soup dumplings. While we’ve eaten at Din Tai Fung in Southern California locations, there was no doubt in my mind that the food would be far better at Taipei 101. We heard wait times could be as long as three hours but luckily we arrived around 4:30 PM on a weekday, which was just before rush hour, so we only had to wait five minutes to be seated!
One of the things I thought was mesmerizing was watching the entire process to making the famous little soup dumplings. No less than 20 employees were churning this fine-tuned-dumpling-making-machine. Each individual had a responsibility from making the dough, creating small balls of dough, rolling the dough into small circles, making the filling, enclosing the filling with the dough and putting them in the bamboo steamers for cooking. I’ll post a video to show this process.
Being that we were all starving and wanted to try as many things as possible, we ordered a bunch of items from the menu. Of course we got several orders of the xiao long bao soup dumplings. Those delicate little dumplings alone, filled with tender meat and deliciously hot broth, would’ve made the visit entirely worth it. I’m pretty sure I had at least 10 soup dumplings by myself! But we didn’t stop there and also ordered their braised beef noodle soup, hot & sour soup, shrimp wontons, green dishes, steamed dumplings and buns. The dishes were all delicious and were overall better compared to the restaurants in Southern California. The ingredients and soups tasted much more authentic and flavorful. The staff was also very nice and service was great.
The total bill for our meal was about $70 for the four of us for a pretty significant amount of food. Each dish ranges from $5-10. I’d recommend going during off hours and weekdays when possible to avoid long wait times, but it’s well worth the time and price for any visitor try out some famous Taiwanese cuisine.
After our meal, we did the next touristy thing to do which was go up top to the observatory of Taipei 101. Tickets are available for $10/person on the fifth floor and our wait time to get to the elevator was about 15 minutes (but can be longer). When you get into the elevator, you will experience the fastest elevator in the world. According the the Guinness World Records, the elevator can reach the 89th floor from ground level in 40 seconds with a max speed of 37.6 mph.
From the observatory, you can walk around the observatory for a 360° view of Taipei. The views at night are beautiful and picturesque. It’s definitely part of the Taipei experience and worth checking out.
Here is the address, phone number and hours for Din Tai Fung at Taipei 101:
B1, No. 45, Shift Rd., Taipei City (Taipei 101 Mall)
TEL: 02-8101-7799 FAX: 02-8101-7800
Sun-Thu 11:00 am – 9:30 pm
Fri, Sat 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
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