chinese: hangzhou soup dumplings (杭州小龍湯包)

date November 18, 2010

contact No. 17, Section 2, Hangzhou South Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City/台北市杭州南路2段17號/02.2393.1757

hours 7 days a week 11:30-21:30

price <300NT

rating ♥♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt CKS Memorial Hall Station

I had heard a lot about the “dumpling place that is just as good as Ding Tai Fung, but cheaper”. My friend was in town from San Francisco and he happens to love soup dumplings, so I figured, now is as good a time as any to give it a try.

When we got there around 1pm on a Thursday it was pretty full. Lots of business people there on their lunch break and lots of tourists. They had a picture menu with some English on it, however, it was not the full menu, just their most popular items. We decided to order the regular pork soup dumplings, the crab soup dumplings, green onion pancakes, pumpkin cakes and cabbage.

Price-wise this place is much cheaper than Ding Tai Fung. The regular soup dumplings (小龍湯包) were only 90NT. There are 8 dumplings per order, unlike the 10 at Ding Tai Fung. When I asked one of my friends how it compared she said it was good, but different. She was right: it was good, but different. I found them to be less juicy and the skin thicker. I prefer the thin skin of Ding Tai Fung’s dumplings better.

The crab dumplings (蟹黃湯包) were probably my favorite thing we ordered. For 160NT, the crab meat and roe soup dumplings were juicy and flavorful. I think I said something like, “it’s like a spoonful of the sea,” or something equally lame, but it’s true. While I still prefer the crab soup dumplings at Ding Tai Fung, these ones were very good. I’d most definitely order these again.

For veggies we decided to order the steamed cabbage (蒸高麗菜) for 100NT. I feel like this looked better than it tasted. I expected it to have more flavor, but it was actually rather bland. I needed more salt, more flavor.

My friend told me I’d really like the pumpkin cakes (南瓜糕), so I had to try them. For only 80NT, these were delicious. They were filled with red bean, and while they did not taste like pumpkin at all, the soft mochi like outside shaped like little pumpkins was great. They are not very sweet, so they are not really a dessert, but they most definitely are not savory.

The green onion pancakes (蔥油餅) were pretty good; a little thick, but I like it when they’re a little on the thicker side.

Overall this was a good meal, but not a special meal. I heard they have really good 小菜 (side dishes). Since this was Mark’s last day in Taipei, Flavors was our dinner destination, so we did not want to get too full. Maybe I’ll go back and try the steamed stinky tofu and side dishes, and of course get more crab soup dumplings.

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