The last time I went to yum cha (that’s dim sums for you Poms) in Taipei I wanted to go to Naturestar HK Style Restaurant (天星港式飲茶 — pronounced ‘Tien Xing’) on Nanjing East Road, but due to renovations we had no choice but to go to the below average Plum Blossom Room (click for review).
This time, we made sure Naturestar was open and got there early to avoid the lunch time crowds. Located a short distance from the Nanjing East Road MRT station, Naturestar is one of several yum cha restaurants owned by the Citystar Restaurant Group, which include the 24-hour Citystar (京星) and Luckstar (吉星), but personally, I think Naturestar is the best of the lot, whether it’s the food, the service or the ambience of the restaurant.
On this occasion, Naturestar did not disappoint again. The thing with Naturestar that is different to regular yum cha restaurants you might be used to is that you have to order all your food — there are no ladies pushing carts of dim sums around. It’s kind of good and bad — on the one hand, you don’t get that ‘ooh, I wonder what they’re bringing this time’ excitement, but on the other the food is always guaranteed to be hot and fresh. Ordering from the menu also prevents you from getting too much food in one hit, though you do have to wait a little while after you’ve ordered.
Here’s what we ordered: pea pods, seafood gratin with cabbage, pan fried turnip cakes, steamed flour rolls with dough fritter and spring onions, steamed flour rolls with prawns, steamed prawn dumplings, pork ribs with black bean sauce, shu mai, garlic vegetables, pan fried squid cakes, deep fried crescents, and of course, chicken feet!
I took too many photos so here’s a gallery/slideshow.
Most of the stuff we ordered from from their yum cha menu, but Naturestar also has a regular menu with stir fries, BBQ meats, vegetables, rice and noodles, etc.
Everything we ordered was good, and because they were all made to order, fresh and piping hot when they arrived on our table. The highlights included the seafood gratin (perfectly seasoned), the pork ribs (I like all pork ribs, so…) and the steamed flour rolls with dough fritter (which was one of the crispiest I have tasted any any yum cha place), but amazingly there was not a single weak link.
The price is around NT$300-400 per person, which is quite reasonable. They have a special deal where you can purchase vouchers for the restaurant (and others in the Citystar Group) for NT$2000, which comes with a 10% off platinum card. Not bad if you are a regular visitor or intend to become one.
The solid quality across the board is what makes Naturestar a good bet, no matter if you’re having a brunch or a midnight snack. No wonder the place is packed most hours of the day.
8.5 out of 10!
Naturestar HK Style Restaurant (天星港式飲茶)
Address: Level 2, No. 275, Section 3 Nanjing East Road, Taipei (next to Brother Hotel)
Nearest MRT station: Nanjing East Road
Opening Hours: 11am to midnight, 7 days a week
Price: NT$300-$400 per person