Aunt Lee’s Pan-Fried Steam Buns at Shida (Taipei)
Just a quick one. The restaurants and food stalls I’ve been visiting are pulling away from my posts of the places at an alarming rate, so I really have to start picking up the pace.
Shida Night Markets in Taipei is one of my favourite places. I used to think it was just the various food stalls at night markets but recently I’ve realised that there are countless restaurants and snack stalls and cafes literally everywhere, and they all look so enticing, especially the ones in the back and side alleys.
This post isn’t about one of those places.
Aunt Lee’s Pan-Fried Steam Buns (李阿姨水煎包) (she calls it ‘Fried Dumplings on the Iron Plate’ — which just doesn’t sound right) is one of the super popular stores on the outskirts of the Shida Night Markets. The buns hand-made on the spot, squeezed into a massive iron plate, drizzled with oil, flooded with water, and then covered up. The buns are both steamed and pan fried, which is what makes them so irresistible.
The lines are almost constant during peak hours and as soon as a batch is completed, the buns disappear before you have time to blink. The anticipation is palpable. Fortunately, there are two iron plates, so there’s always a batch being cooked, but if you go at the wrong time you might have to wait for a while.
The buns are sublime. Littered with sesame seeds, the skin is thick and fluffy on the outside, crispy on the bottom, and the inside is moist, juicy and flavoursome. There are meat buns and cabbage ones — they taste quite different but both are terrific in their own way. And at NT$12 each (and 6 for NT$60), you can afford to get a few of each!
The truth is, there are so many pan-fried steam buns in Taipei, and most of them are amazing. But if you are ever in the Shida area and you have some space left in your tummy, I’d definitely recommend Aunt Lee’s.
Aunt Lee’s Pan-Fried Steam Buns (李阿姨水煎包)
Address: No. 11, Lóngquán St, Taipei (Shida Night Markets)
Price: NT$12 each, NT$60 for 6
Nearest MRT Station(s): Guting and Taipower Building