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Dumplings, a work of art

So many things about the following pictures absolutely resonate with me. No, they're not Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, or a group of doctors in the operating room. These professionals are pooling their resources to create an Asian masterpiece--the magnificent, delicious, and artfully constructed, steamed dumpling. Allow me to let the photos tell you the story.

Like players on a football team, each person had a particular task that he was responsible for. Each one was highly skilled and dedicated to doing his best. It was awesome to watch.
The server delivered our hot tea, like always, no matter where we dine, then we politely declined the typical hospitable offer since Mormons don't drink tea (or coffee or alcoholic beverages). Usually warm water is delivered as an alternative. This restaurant scored points with us when they brought us ice water instead. That's our favorite, so we were thrilled. Kelly tells me that many Taiwanese people feel that cold water isn't good for you.
Our friend, Chang, the one who took us to the night market last weekend, attempted to introduce us to Din Tai Fung in Taipei, but there was a two hour wait to get in. We were pleased to discover one in Hsinchu where we only had to wait about ten minutes to be seated.
These little sweethearts were outside the restaurant where we waited.
How it works: After placing our order, the server puts our ticket on the table and as the various menu selections arrive throughout the meal, that item is checked off the list until everything has been delivered. The timing is paced very evenly so that you don't receive everything at once. Tipping is normally not part of Taiwanese dining out, but this was an extraordinary place, so a small gratuity was added automatically. Our bill came to one thousand, seven hundred and five Taiwanese dollars, or NT 1,705. That equals about $50 in the US, the most we've spent for a meal, but we were in the mood to celebrate our move to Taiwan.
We ordered two different kinds of soups, this one is a sliced beef, and tasted delicious.
This pork chop had an excellent flavor and texture too.
Our hot and sour soup had a thick and yummy consistency.
The true star of the evening were these gorgeous dumplings.
Chicken, crab, pork, and shrimp were the dumpling flavors we picked.
Delivered with the lids on, hot and steamy in bamboo baskets, our dumplings were simply amazing to look at and just as delectable to eat.
They literally had me at "Hello." This was my best meal since we've been in Taiwan.
Oh no! The spicy pot-stickers arrived toward the end that I almost forgot to take a picture of. Luckily there was a Taiwanese family seated next to us that were taking three times as many photos as I was, so I didn't feel stupid clicking away.
These steamed buns were so moist and pretty. Lindsey and I got mushroom vegetable ones and Kelly and Christopher got the pork ones.
Good idea, Lindsey. Thanks for suggesting that I get an inside shot.
One last chef smiled for the camera as we were checking out at the register.
These steamed buns can be ordered to go, but in my opinion, actually being there to experience the creation process is part of what makes this place a success and novelty.
Din Tai Fung was an incredible experience. Thank you, Chang, for the recommendation, and Kelly footing the bill!


Anonymous said…
Wow looks yummie! Remind me a littlebit of things I had in Japan a longtime ago. I still miss the food from there. As far as food your transition seems 2b a success :)

Well, I guess you are all sleeping.. its almost 9:00 PM mid-european time here :) Take care, success with the move! xxx Deborah
Julie said…
Hey Kelly,
Din Tai Feng is awesome-as are jiaotzi in general! I'm sure you'll find a local place to order them regularly. The beef soup you had (niu rou mien) is Zach's favorite Taiwan food. Taiwan is a foodie's paradise!
christina wei said…
Wow, Kelly. Those dumpling assembly line pictures are amazing. While I am enjoying all the photos, I cann't imagine how hard it is to adopt to the foreign taste 3 times a day ...

When I took my family to visit Shanghai in 2007, we can find PizzaHut, BurgerKings and KFC on the main streets of the city. They are not the normal food places we go here in the States (nor the healthy ones :-)). But they saved lives of my boys at the time. ;-) Hope you can find these around you to help the adjustment.
Lonna said…
I love seeing all the fun places that you are trying and even though it gets kind of old having to eat out for each and every meal, I am glad that you are taking it all in right now and that you are also taking lots of photos.

I love the dumpling making ones, that is really neat. Your dinner did look so yummy I am glad that everyone in your family liked it too, and that you don't seem to have any picky eaters either, that could make things pretty interesting for a full year.

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