DIN TAI FUNG
This international chain of restaurants began life as a humble little cooking oil retailer. But as factory-produced oil became the norm, this family shop began selling xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings) in the 1980s and it quickly became the mainstay. Din Tai Fung became a fully-fledged restaurant by the decade’s end and there are currently nine locations in Taiwan, plus overseas operations in Hong Kong and Mainland China as well as eight other countries including Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Indonesia and the US. But loyalists still swear by the flagship in Xinyi district, where a queue is constantly seen as it has been for decades. The xiao long bao (NT200/$6.70 for 10 pieces) is, of course, a must, but there are plenty other dishes to choose from, ranging from house steamed chicken soup, sautéed shrimp and various types of steamed buns to fried rice and soup noodles. The Taiwanese beef noodles (NT220/$7.40) here are so good we lick the bowl clean every time.