我倆都沒到過台北 101，但沒打算上頂樓看夜景，只想到地庫吃鼎泰豐。飯後逛逛商場幫助消化，一不留神在琉璃工房給老婆買了一條頸鏈作手信。付錢時店員提示購物超過 2,000 台幣，就可以到服務台即時退稅。以前在柏林機場試過一次退稅，非常麻煩，今次連輪候也不用 10 分鐘。回退的現金，我們又馬上拿去吃甜品。
Finding the perfect soup dumpling/Kimberlogic
When I think of Taiwan, I think of street food. The Taiwanese have perfected street food and are quite proud of it. When we visited Taichung, we stayed just two blocks from the night market that was overflowing with foods of all kinds. After eating street food constantly for a few days, we needed a good sit-down meal, the kind served on plates, not on a stick.
After trying so many new and interesting foods in the market, we began searching the city for a restaurant serving something satisfying, yet impressive. Without realizing it, we stumbled upon “DIN TAI FUNG”（鼎泰豐）. Although Ming Hay knew of this place, I could only judge from the sign that it had received a Michelin Star, so I assumed it had to be good.
One thing we never do is queue up for restaurants. If we have to wait more than five minutes, we will go somewhere else. After Ming Hay explained what soup dumplings were to me, there was no way I could walk away without trying, so we grabbed a number and began to wait.
The wait didn’t seem too long since we were able to watch the chefs prepare the dumplings in a display kitchen. Once our number was called, it was a whirlwind of an experience. We were whisked to our table, they collected our order just as quickly and in no time we had piles of food in front of us. I guess when a restaurant has been awarded a Michelin Star, there is not a second to waste getting customers in and out of the door.
The soup dumplings were more incredible than I could have imagined. Brought out in steaming baskets, I quickly learned that there is an art to the timing and form of consumption. Soup dumplings should be eaten when hot or the flavors will be muted. But, if you pop a whole hot dumpling in your mouth without exercising caution, you may experience a volcanic explosion that will ruin your next few meals due to the burnt aftermath of your mouth.
After the first bite I was addicted. To this day I will go out of my way in search for the most delicious soup dumplings that I can find. In all of my searches since that night at “DIN TAI FUNG”, I have been both utterly disappointed and surprisingly delighted. One cannot judge the dumpling based on the outlook of the restaurant or the street stall. Finding the perfect soup dumpling is based on the establishment’s passion and quality standards for this tiny delicacy.
Maybe after having Michelin Star rated soup dumplings I have become critically judgmental of all others, one could even say a bit snobbish. But I like to think of my attitude as passion for awesomeness. Also, in order to develop this kind of attitude, one must always have a balance, the good with the bad. If every soup dumpling I had ever tasted was excellent, then they would be nothing special and every kitchen would produce them.