Taipei travels (Part 1) : Taipei 101 & our first Michelin star experience at Din Tai Fung

Back to more travel tales, if you missed it I wrote a post about Surviving Long Haul Flights With our Toddler , our wonderful hot springs retreat and a bit about Jinshan, in the north of Taiwan.

Bit of a recap .. we were in Taiwan in July and when we there, we were issued a typhoon warning. Category 5 Typhoon Nepartak was supposed to make landfall and we rushed from Yangmingshan, the mountain area down to downtown Taipei where we hunkered down at our hotel. All very scary especially as we had our little one with us and we have never experienced anything like this at all. Thankfully, it did not batter Taipei much and the warning was lifted and shops and attractions which were initially closed started to open for business again in the later part of the afternoon.

We then decided to head on over for some sightseeing and food at Taipei 101. It was still raining cats and dogs, so taking shelter somewhere indoors was the best option. The Taipei 101 tower itself looks like a giant bamboo stalk, no pictures as we rushed in due to rain. An engineering marvel as its one of the tallest buildings and its designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes.

Besides the tower itself, the base of the tower is a HUGE multi-level shopping mall, food courts and restaurants.

Look, swanky mall eh?

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We took a trip to the top of the tower by purchasing tickets. Tickets will grant you access to the observatory and the museum. Since it was ‘typhoon day’, there were hardly any queues although this also meant that the outdoor observatory was closed.

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Just found a picture of the tower from the outside, but its one of those touristy ones. Whoops. Definitely not buying it as little one and the husband is not even in it. Bet you have done this too, just take a picture of it for memory sake. They are really efficient when it comes to children and the elderly, there’s a special seat for them to wait instead of going round in a queue.

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The lift up is quite something as well. It took about 40 seconds to the 89th floor. Unbelievable.

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The views from the observatory deck was amazing.

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Little one slept all the way up and was still fast asleep when we were up there. Gave us a chance to take ‘lovey dovey’ touristy pics.

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Hoorah, someone is up to join the fun. Grouchy though *approach with caution*. Posing with the postcard we sent home specially for the little one. Lovely little note for her to read when she is older.

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and one with her grandparents.

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This is the massive gold coloured damper that keeps the building from swaying. Very interesting, my husband read all about it 😀

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There are a number of figurines around the observatory deck. Little one had a bit of fun holding their hands and imitating them.

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There’s also a little museum bit before you head out.

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I would highly recommend adding Taipei 101 to your itinerary even with little ones in tow. She found it quite interesting and there’s lots of space for them to run around when its not too packed.

After our spot of sightseeing, its time for food. Well, its always a good time for food especially in Taiwan. We wanted to try Din Tai Fung. One of the ‘must eat’ places in this country. This restaurant originated in Taiwan and it has lots of branches in 13 (or more) countries. It has 1 Michelin star and we knew that we were in for a long wait. We expected to wait an hour according to all the reviews and if that’s the case, we would have looked for food elsewhere. Definitely our lucky day, we waited for only 15 minutes for a table. The service was impeccable and although it was very busy, we were attended to very well. Ps. never in my life .. we had to get a number to wait for a table. They hand you menus and make you order in advance before you are actually seated too.

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Hoorah, we are in. It was a huge restaurant and the first thing you notice that it is actually very clean despite the volume of people who eats there. Their staff is top class which is expected of a Michelin star restaurant I suppose. The glass window feature to their kitchen was very interesting. Entertaining to watch the kitchen crew diligently making their famous dumplings and buns.

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The food did not disappoint, definitely lived up to all the raving reviews. You know sometimes, when you are looking forward to something that’s pretty hyped up .. its not as good as you think or it always slightly disappoints .. this was not the case. Food was lush.

Would recommend their Shrimp Fried Rice. Not salty and not oily, it was delicious.

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For dumplings, we tried one of their inspired creations. Steamed Gourd (or Squash?) and Shrimp Dumplings. There’s an art to eating them .. well I just ate them. They were outstanding. Did you know that there’s soup in them dumplings. Wow. Do make sure the soup runs into your spoon though.

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Now for something sweet to end our delicious meal on a higher note.

Snow fungus soup served cold, I was not a huge fan as it was pretty ‘gelatinous’.

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The Taro Steamed Dumplings on the other hand was exquisite. Dessert version of their steamed dumplings. I was apprehensive at first but the taro filling was not overly sweet and has a texture like mash. It works though. Did you know that all their dumplings have a minimum of 18 folds. I tried counting and I think all of them have exactly 18, what a piece of art.

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What really stood out to me about the food at Din Tai Fung was that nothing was overly salty and they really focused on the quality of the ingredients. Very intriguing and delicate tastes.

A must try – lived up to its hype.

 

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