Old school Taipei xiao long bao joint
|Crab roe xiao long bao|
If you think of xiao long bao in Taiwan, you would think of Din Tai Fung for sure. However, there are many other restaurants offering top xiao long bao elsewhere and Hangzhou is one of those places. Located in central Taipei next to National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, which made it a great place for lunch if you visit the location. Hangzhou is a really old school canteen style restaurant, and its signature dish is no less the xiao long bao, along with other dumplings such as prawn and vegetables. It has been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand and has become a top dining spot for tourist, as well as the locals.
|Hangzhou Xiao Long Bao Taipei|
|Prawns in Chinese rice wine|
Hangzhou doesn't allow booking as expected, and it took 10 minutes before I secured a table for my lunch visit. The cold prawns marinated in rice wine was a solid starter, the floral aroma of the wine added a lovely sweet tone to the prawn, it was a light and refreshing dish. The pan fried beef pancake was almost like Peking duck with pancake but with sliced beef instead, I found the beef was a touch dry but I did enjoy the crispiness of the pancake. The hero crab roe xiao long bao was just as good as Din Tai Fung's. The pork filling was well seasoned, and the pastry had the perfect level of thickness, I can happily eat a whole basket or 2 by myself.
|Pan fried beef rolls|
|Classic xiao long bao|
I really enjoyed Hangzhou, not to mention the average cost is only £10, which is impossible for even half decent Asian restaurants back in the UK. The cooking was very old school, no creativity whatsoever, just traditional recipes done in a fine manner. Just be aware most of the waiting staff doesn't speak English so it could be a mission for any form of communication, lucky the menu does contain English and they also offer a picture menu. Hangzhou is a great alternative if you are not willing to put up with the crazy long wait at Din Tai Fung, as it is only 1 underground station away.
What I paid:
£10 per head
Average cost without drinks and services :
19, Section 2, Hangzhou South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106