Sheraton Taipei Hotel
No. 12, Chung Hsiao East Road, Sec. 1
date visited: 8/06/2006
A family friend invited us out to dinner last night at THE GUEST HOUSE where one of their specialties is Steamed Pork Dumplings or Xiao Long Bao. As their website states, they feature Szechwan and Yang Zhou cuisine in its "chic modern" atmosphere that is modern and classical at the same time. Located on the 17th floor of the Sheraton Taipei hotel, THE GUEST HOUSE features an open kitchen with a glass window that you can watch them make your meal. While the 18th floor features a number of private rooms if you want to have your own space for larger groups, the atmosphere of the 17th floor is actually a lot more inspired and fun.
The xiao long bao were good. The skin held in the pork and broth until you stuffed the dumpling into your mouth. Since I had just eaten at Din Tai Fung for lunch, I could hold a slight comparison and I think I still like Din Tai Fung's dumplings better.
The vegetable dumplings were also really good, with minced vegetable, tofu and mushrooms inside. They are slightly drier than the pork dumplings, but still disappeared very quickly.
A few of their unique dishes include Braised Green Beans wrapped in Pancake and Braised Noodle with Yellow Fish Broth. I suppose sort of a vegetarian variation on Moo Shu Pork, the braised green beans were very soft and flavorful, while the pancake was delicious! I found the green beans to be a tad salty, but I could probably eat a stack of the soft, yet slightly crispy thin pancake. I found the braised noodle to be so-so, while the broth was mysteriously good with a seafood stock flavor without being fishy. We also had a beef braised in soup that was very very tender and flavorful without being mushy or dried out.
There were also other assorted small plates of eats on the lazy susan that I didn't get the names of. There was one dish of bamboo (I think!)(pictured above) and another of boiled pork with a spicy sauce that I quite liked.
After dinner, we walked around the hotel, I spotted quite a number of other restaurants that I want to try, including Pizza Pub and Sukhothai. The Sheraton Taipei is quite a nice hotel with all the rooms overlooking the center atrium, and glass elevators to see buffet located on the lobby floor. I heard that it went under major renovations the last few years, and is a lot nicer than Sheratons I've stayed at in the states!
Speaking of Xiao Long Bao, for lunch we dropped by DIN TAI FUNG and I have never seen it so packed! I suppose it's because I've also gone there off-peak hours on weeknights. It was Sunday lunchtime, and every single table was occupied as well as a line of at least 30 people outside waiting in intermitting downpouring rain. While I like their pork dumplings, I think I like their dessert red bean dumplings even more!
So if you don't want to wait in the rain for an hour for a table at Din Tai Fung, you can give The Guest House a try.