Xiao long bao, also known as soup dumplings, are light, heavenly dumplings with small pockets of gelatinous broth, served and steamed in a classic bamboo basket. Taiwan may have plenty of national culinary treasures, but few are more beloved by travelers than this delicious dish.
With Taiwan and Taipei in particular now a well-known foodie destination, the soup dumpling is gaining its share of the global spotlight. It’s so popular that nearly every restaurant in Taipei offers its own version of it. But if you want the best xiao long bao experience in Taiwan, there are a handful of restaurants in the country that are definitely a must-try.
Din Tai Fung
One can’t talk about xiao long bao and not mention Din Tai Fung. The world-renowned restaurant has perfected the art of the soup dumpling, offering plenty of different types including the tourist-favorite truffle xiao long bao. With a flavorful yet delicate broth and an exquisitely flavored filling that has just the right amount of meat, it’s no wonder Din Tai Fung is at the top of most foodies’ must-try list in Taiwan.
There are plenty of Din Tai Fung locations—from Hong Kong to the United States, but the original Din Tai Fung is at Xinyi District in Taipei. If you’re fine with not visiting the original, there are two other branches in Taipei. Din Tai Fung reservations aren’t a must, but the waiting time is typically about half an hour.
Book a set meal with KKday to sample all of Din Tai Fung’s best-selling dishes, including the world-famous xiao long bao.
Hang Zhou Xiao Long Bao
For foodies who are looking for a heartier order of xiao long bao, make sure you try the ones at Hang Zhou Xiao Long Bao near Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei. The restaurant’s soup dumplings are known for heavier fillings and thicker dumpling skin than many other xiao long bao recipes.
Hang Zhou Xiao Long Bao is not quite as famous as Din Tai Fung, but it’s well-known among locals and often recommended to tourists. In the 2018 Taiwan Michelin Guide, the restaurant was recognized with the Bib Gourmand award for its good quality dishes.
Mingyue Tang Bao
Mingyue Tang Bao, also known as Mingyue Soup Dumpling, is a great option for diners who are craving for a good serving of xiao long bao, but don’t want to spend too much money (or time) on a single dish. Its shop near the Tonghua Street night market is quite small, but charming and often full of hearty diners.
Opened by a former dumpling master at Din Tai Fung, Mingyue delivers one of the most flavorful soup dumplings in the city. The mingyue tangbao is a best-seller: delicate yet firm skin wrapped around a tasty, well-proportioned filling of hot broth and lean meat.
Jin Ji Yuan
Another Michelin Bib Gourmand awardee in Taipei is Jin Ji Yuan in Yongkang Street. The restaurant is bustling and no-frills, but the prices are reasonable, serving time is quick, and the food speaks for itself.
The xiao long bao here are not as refined as Din Tai Fung, but some actually prefer the thicker skin, heavier pork, and bigger portions of Jin Ji Yuan. Meaty and flavorful, these xiao long bao are extremely filling. Try to leave a little bit of room, though. The restaurant’s name translates to “golden chicken garden,” so be sure to try its perfectly crispy fried chicken before leaving Jin Ji Yuan.
Rounding out the best xiao long bao in Taiwan is Kao Chi, its three-story main store found at Yongkang Street. Kao Chi has been around for decades and it has a loyal following with the flagship branch usually reasonably filled, especially during weekends.
Most people come back to Kao Chi for the rich and flavorful soup of its xiao long bao and the deliciously thick and chewy skin. The restaurant is also known for its sheng jian bao or pan-fried pork buns.
If you’re in Taiwan and you’ve fallen in love with xiao long bao, why not learn how to make these soup dumplings, so you can whip it up anytime? Sign up for a two-hour Taiwan Cooking 101 class to learn the recipe of xiao long bao and other classic dishes.