Shengyuan Shigua Steamed Dumplings

March 11, 2012 in Food, Reviews, Taiwan, Travel by pacejmiller

 

Hard to get a clear shot at night

My food posts are back, baby!  I’m a little backed up, so hopefully I can catch up in the next couple of months.

Anyway, here’s a place I visited a few months ago.  If you like steamed dumplings (ala Din Tai Fung) like me, then a street near Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall might be your thing.  Hangzhou South Road, which borders one of the sides of the memorial, has several steamed dumpling (xialongbao) joints. But most of them are street vendors, so that may turn a lot of tourists off.

There is one proper restaurant, however, that is both clean and has awesome food. It’s called Shengyuan Shigua Steamed Dumpling and it’s on one of the side lanes off Section 2 of Hangzhou South Road (lane 25, to be exact).

The restaurant isn't spectacular, but at least it's a restaurant

On most nights, expect to line up, so it doesn’t hurt to book ahead.  The restaurant itself is quite big, with wooden tables and chairs like what you would see in those kung fu movies.  The kitchen is out near the front behind glass, so you can kind of see the cooks working away. A lot of the stuff is self-serve, like the mini cold side dishes on the display shelf, hot tea, napkins and utensils, as well as my favourite — the sauces.  In the corner of the restaurant there is a sauce stand where you can add your own soy and vinegar, shredded ginger, garlic paste, chilli and even a special thick pot-sticker sauce. Awesome.

Awesome self serve dishes

Self serve sauces

The variety is pretty good too, with an assortment of steamed dumplings, pot-stickers, wontons, meats, vegetables, soups, noodles and savoury snacks. You can also order traditional dishes but only large groups tend to order those. You would think the “must order” is the shigua (luffa) steamed dumplings (after all, that’s what the restaurant has in its name), but for us it was the beef pancake roll. My god it was the best I’ve ever had, so crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside…

Let me allow the photos to do most of the talking.

Hot and sour soup -- pretty good, but not super

Shigua steamed dumplings, the signature dish -- not quite as good as Din Tai Fung's but it's still very good and just a fraction of the price

Wontons with chilli oil -- a little different to what I am ordinarily used to but it was very nice

The beef pancake roll -- sliced beef with cucumber and shallots rolled up in a pan fried pastry topped off with hoisin sauce -- the best I've ever had

Pan fried pastry with pork filling -- mmmmmm.....

On the whole, the prices are extremely reasonable. You’re looking at about NT$100 for 8 steamed dumplings, NT$70 for the wontons and 30 for each mini cold side dish. Incredible value.

The service is virtually non-existent, but for the price and quality of the food, not to mention the sensational beef rolled pancake, I’d definitely recommend giving Shengyuan Shigua Steamed Dumplings a try.

8 out of 10!

Directions: Take the MRT to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. The nearest Exit is no. 3 but if you want to walk through the memorial you can take no. 5.