SAN YUAN CHINESE CUISINE 三源
(closed and moved to Neihu, renamed Dancing Chili)
MRT: Taipei City Hall
website: www.ace168.com.tw (Chinese only)
hours: 11 AM - 11 PM
$$ (about NT$400/person)
Kid friendliness: high chairs and kid dinnerware available. lots of kid friendly items on menu
Visit reviewed: 1/29/2012
Whenever I feel like eating out last minute on a weekend, it's kind of a pain. Most places are booked in advance or have crazy lines not worth waiting in. So on a recent weekend, my friends and I figured we'd head to ATT4Fun and walk around until we saw something without too long of a wait. On the 5th floor there's plenty to choose from and we picked the first one that could seat 8 people without a wait. A few doors down, the ramen place had a line of at least ten people, so we vowed to come back to try it out at a less busy time.
With the modern purple touch, Sanjin looks like it might be too fancy or expensive to eat at, but their menu of xiao long bao, dumplings, noodles and other Chinese food are affordable and surprisingly tasty. I'd previously spotted another branch at Bellavita's food court and heard about their chocolate dumplings. Yep, you heard me say CHOCOLATE!
|dinner with a view of Taipei 101|
|super hot xiao long bao anyone?|
The kitchen works fairly quickly and dishes start arriving- stir fried cabbage...
ketchup fried rice (NT$ which seemed to be more popular with the adults than the kids, contrary to expectations with the sweet tang...
squishy stir fried rice cakes, cooked to the right chewy-ness...
The steamed pork xiao long baos(NT$160) arrive and disappear quickly, one per person with 8 in a basket, so we end up having to add a few baskets... Hot and juicy, it is a crowd pleaser as much as Din Tai Fung.
We also try the house specialty Lee Xue mild spicy xiao long bao (NT$320), but they look exactly the same on the outside as the regular ones. On the inside, the pork is dotted with what seems like super finely diced chilies and a nice kick. There's a "super hot" one with three chilies pictures as well as a "superb xiao long bao" at NT$520.
The other dumplings are just as good... steamed vegetable and pork (NT$160)...
shrimp and pork shumai (NT$180) which floats a shrimp above a juicy pork dumpling (unlike the ones filled with sticky rice at Din Tai Fung)...
Don't miss the handmade steamed small bun (NT$90 for 3), which doesn't describe how adorable these buns are.
Up close, I admire the handiwork and wonder how they make all the little spikes.
We weren't full, so we ended up adding the Lee Xue spicy oil fried handmade noodle(NT$200). The pan fried knife cut noodles were thick and chewy and had a nice flavor. A bowl for one would make a nice meal.
Be sure to order the steamed chocolate bun (NT$220 for 5) ahead of time and save room. Bite sized, these are like fat mochi dumplings filled with warm, melted chocolate. Try not to fight over them, or order extra.
|chocolate + dumpling = mmmmmm|
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by San Yuan. Even though we ordered some of the pricier things on the menu, sharing it allowed everyone a taste and it ended up being affordable at about NT$400 a person. IS a good family style restaurant with speedy service and a nice setting, and most importantly, delicious enough to make a mental bookmark to consider another trip back, before it's as packed as the other restaurants in the area.
28 Songren Rd