I was just in Taiwan for two weeks. Due to some mid-trip food poisoning, I couldn't eat with abandoned as I had planned! But I did manage to visit the ever famous Ding Tai Fong and get a bowl of beef noodle soup that I've been dreaming about.
I've not been to Ding Tai Fong before. I've heard SO MUCH about it I had to go there this time I'm back in Taiwan. There were A TON of people waiting, lots of Japanese tourist and a few Americans. But with so many people it was not a long wait, they have their system down. After giving your name to the hostess, you are asked to order from a checklist, than is given a number. After a short 15 minute wait we were seated. Two minutes after being seated our food arrived. We ordered the soup dumplings, the crab soup dumplings, taro dumpling, and the individual chicken soup with dry noodle on the side. The soup dumplings are incredible, the skin so thin it's almost see through. Yet, they manage to hold back a juicy soupy filling that bursts in your mouth as you take a bite. Very very well done. The bill for two people came to $700NT, very expensive by Taiwanese standards, but well worth the price of a visit. Oh, this is not the kind of place where you eat and linger, they turn table fast. I didn’t mind though. In and out, I just wanted to try it.
As good as the dumplings were, I'm really just a street food girl. My all time favorite is beef noodle soup. I remember from last visit that a stall at a night market was really good, so I decided to revisit. This particular night market is near the Song Sai Train station in Taipei, and is the only beef noodle stand in the whole market. A small bowl costs $90NT and everything about it is great. The broth, the beef, the noodles, all are great, it's the perfect storm of beef noodle soup for me! I know there are plenty of other great places in Taipei for beef noodle soup, but my time was short so I went back to some place that I knew won't disappoint me.
Like last time, we sat on the tiny stools, hovering over our soup. Sweat was pouring down our faces as we slurp up this bowl of heaven. Even with my just recovered stomach, I had to risk a bowl no matter the consequences! It was so worth it!
On some side notes. We stayed at The Landis and Grand Hyatt in Taipei during our visit. The Landis the better of the two hotel. More for business traveler and smaller rooms, yet the services felt personal, and it served a great breakfast buffet with both western and traditional Taiwanese selections.
Also stayed at the Grand Formosa inside Taroko National Park near Huelien. Also, great breakfast buffet, not as good in the western preparation, but great Taiwanese and indigenous mountain cuisine. Hotel staff was courteous and very helpful.
Also stayed at The Lalu at Sun Moon Lake. For the ultimate luxury and bank-breaking experience, The Lalu is the way to go. Incredible rooms, views, service and the food wasn’t half bad either. Out in the middle of Taiwan on a lake they still manage to serve foie gras, micro greens, and a decent wine list.