TravelTraveler Magazine

Food Fridays: Hello, Dumpling (A Taste of Taipei)

Auspicious symbols of wealth and good fortune, dumplings have long graced Chinese New Year banquet tables. Today, tender jiao zhi sate appetites any time of day in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, where dumpling restaurants are ubiquitous.

Whether it’s the boiled pork dumpling, fried pot sticker, or steamed soup dumpling, these dough-wrapped nuggets (about 50 cents for one) will soothe grumbling tummies and maybe even bring a traveler luck.

  • Once a single store with two rows of tables, DinTaiFung has become Taiwan’s most acclaimed soup dumpling establishment with 64 international outposts. Watch the chefs at work at the Zhongxiao branch, near downtown’s popular “Tea Alley.” Splurge on the black truffle specialty, delicate thin-skinned dumplings in a rich broth ($30 for an order of ten).
  • Eat like a local at Zhen Hsiang Guo Tie, where you might share a crowded table with other patrons during peak lunch hours. Here, the classic pork- and-cabbage dumplings are sweet and nongreasy, and the vegetable-filled pot stickers have a satisfyingly crunchy crust.
  • Perched on the north end of Yong Kang Jie, a path of street food near Shi Da University, Kao Chi draws out the weekend crowd with its sizzling sheng jian bao: pleated dumplings packed with pork and pan-fried to golden crispy perfection. another specialty: the crab soup dumplings stuffed with briny orange roe.

This piece, written by Christine Wei, appeared in the May 2012 issue of National Geographic Traveler.