Fri, Oct 17, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Restaurants: Dian Shui Lou 點水樓

Address: 30 Minquan E Rd, Sec 2, Taipei(台北市民權東路二段30號)
Telephone: (02) 2542 6060
Open: 11am to 10pm
Average meal: NT$400
Details: Credit cards accepted. Chinese menu only, but many among the wait staff speak English and Japanese are eager to help

By David Momphard  /  STAFF REPORTER

Place two or three xiao lung bao in your soup. Eat. Repeat.

PHOTO: DAVID MOMPHARD, TAIPEI TIMES

Dian Shui Lou puts their xiao long bao (NT$150) and soup baozi (NT$250) at the top of their menu for a very good reason; the tiny delicacies are some of the best things on offer. This spanking new establishment across from the Ritz Taipei Hotel on Minchuan East Road is likely to see considerable traffic from that hotel and may well become a favorite lunchtime destination for the local business crowd hungry for dim sum.

As baozi go, Dian Shui Lou's are a bit unconventional. Their diminutive size prevents them from holding much soup, and so a bowl of broth is brought to the table to accompany each order. A friendly member of the wait staff named Ms. Kao instructed me to place two or three baozi in my bowl of soup, let them swim a minute, eat and repeat. The only problem, is that a tray of some 20 is only enough for one hungry person. Better to order two or else delve deeper into the menu.

Those who can handle their spice will enjoy Dian Shui Lou's hung shao beef noodles (NT$160). Again, dainty dumplings swim in soup, but these are packed powerfully with a spicy punch. Another item on the menu creating a lot of "mmmm's" is Dian Shui Lou's sweet and sour soup. Several types of tofu share the bowl with bits of shredded pork, carrots and sprouts and finds a perfect balance of flavors.

Among the side dishes brought to your table by an attentive wait staff is a tasty taro. These dishes aren't the tiny dishes you're accustomed to seeing in local restaurants that sit atop shelves all day waiting to be picked. They're larger portions meant for up to four people. The taro the is best of the ones I've tried, but they seem to change each time they tray is brought around.

While the place is quite well-appointed and immaculate, it still has the feeling of a place ready to serve the masses rather than coddle small tables of diners. The layout is big and open and the servings are large enough for four people. Go with several friends or workmates; it's not quite the place to impress a date.

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