Just a brief revisit on the food joints at Yongkang Street area ^.^
Hubby and I were in line at Smoothie House one afternoon and saw that some people got strawberry smoothie shaved ice. Of course I got giddy, however to my surprise this wasn't on the menu. When it was our turn to order, I asked the gal manning the register if I could switch the mango smoothie shaved ice for the strawberry one instead. She nodded a chirpy yes, and I got my strawberry smoothie shaved ice ^.^ I didn't like it as much as I did the mango smoothy shaved ice though. I thought the strawberry smoothie was a tad too thick and creamy, thus tasted more like strawberry ice cream. But it was still yummy. Give it a try the next time you're there!
Yes, we also gave into our touristy urges and got ourselves a reservation at the original location of Din Tai Fung. It was packed with Japanese tourists, and I mean packed like sardines, with hordes of people waited outside. So when the hostess saw me, she (along with everyone else I met in Taipei) thought I was Japanese and started speaking Japanese to me. My Japanese sucks, but no language comes between me and my food of course, which doesn't exactly help clear up any misconceptions ^.^'
My honest opinion of Din Tai Fung is that it's good, but not to die for. Don't get me wrong, their soup dumplings were delicious! The soup inside was hot but not scalding, and it had quite a delicate taste. Best of all, the broth was clear and not clouded by whatever brownish pink run-offs from the raw meat stuffing inside. Mean while, on the other end of the spectrum is the much-more-hyped-up-than-deserved Joe's Shanghai in NYC, which the New York Times praised and touted. This led my Taiwanese friend to drag us there to wait in line for 2 hours on a bitterly cold winter night, during which we put up with a snooty snot-nosed high school-aged hostess who was treating all her customers like dirt, only to be shoved into sharing a table with a 6-member family (incredibly awkward!), in addition to getting our tongues scalded by the greasy soup inside the dumplings, which was nothing but disgusting bloody meat goo. I still shudder at the thought of that experience. Rant over.
Yeah, so hubby and I enjoyed these soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung quite a bit, so much we ordered a second basket along with the shrimp dumplings, which were unfortunately blah and weren't as good.
I also had water spinach and spicy dumplings, both were decent.
But the beef soup were meh, which was too bad. So really, if you don't want to deal with the crowds at Din Tai Fung, check out Hao Gong Dao's Shop down the street. They are just as good and their lines move much faster!
This time, I ordered their specialty caramel apple tart (or is it a mille-feuille?), which are only made to order, which explains why I didn't see it the last few times I went. It was good. The caramel custard was really sweet, however the apple puree custard was tart and a tad salty, which cuts the sweetness of the caramel well. A bite with both layers together tasted much better than either by itself (too sweet or too tart).
We tried 2 macarons too, a chocolate with sea salt and earl grey. Both are alright, again too sweet.
Of course, being hubby's birthday (it's just an excuse, really) we went all out with cupcakes at Les Bebes Cupcakery. They had a full size strawberry cupcake with jam inside this time, and we had to get it! I love this place, especially because their cupcakes aren't too sweet, at least not for American standard, and at least not as sweet as Patisserie La Douceur above.
See my previous Taipei Eats - Yongkang Street area (永康街) post.