姜太太包子店 Mrs Chiang’s Steamed Buns @ Taipei
Whenever we are on an early morning flight to Taipei, we would always make it a point to drop by Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station from the airport even when our hotel is actually one stop away. That is because one of our favorite breakfast joints in Taipei is located here. 姜太太包子店 is a very popular pitstop to get fueled and watered by the locals. There is usually a queue whenever we visit be it the working crowd getting their breakfast takeaways on their way to their office during the morning rush hour, or mothers or grandmothers packing buns by the dozens for family members to enjoy as an all-day-long snack.
Wer first chanced upon this shop years back, during one of our initial trips to Taipei. That was before our blog existed even. We got to know about this place through a travel guide actually, which cited the shop as a popular place for Japanese tourists to get authentic Chinese “nikkuman”. Located just around the corner of the MRT station, it is not difficult to locate at all. We were pretty lucky during our most recent visit just 2 months’ back. It was a very early and rainy Saturday morning, so we didn’t have to queue at all to get our fix. Lucky!
The menu being hung up above the shop. Prices are generally affordable at around NT15 for a bun. That worked out to be less than SGD 0.70 for one. No way we can get that kinda prices back home in Singapore. Interestingly, most of their buns come with savory filling, and many of them are pretty “exotic”. Only one bun that comes with sweet filling actually and that is red bean (adzuki) paste. Surely a favorite amongst Japanese tourists as well apart from their signature “nikuman” buns.
Bamboo steamers filled with freshly steamed buns. Goes very well with warm soya bean milk which is also available at the shop. And no, the lady in the photo is not Mrs Chiang in case you are wondering.
Our breakfast staple of 4 buns, all with different filling for variety. We almost always order the same selection because these are my favorites!
招牌肉包, their signature meat bun. The filling is very wholesome, one huge meatball in the middle which is very beautifully marinated. It is 100% all meat without any form of starch added as a filler or binding agent. Savory with a hint of ginger and succulent to the max. The filling reminds me of the xiao long bao at Ding Tai Fung. Yes it is that good!
韭菜肉包, Chives and Minced Meat bun. I have a weakness for chives and would order food containing them whenever possible. Another reason I like this bun is because it reminds me of another favorite snack 韭菜盒子. The aroma and pungency of the vegetable is unbeatable. Apart from chopped chives and minced meat, Mrs Chiang’s version also incorporates 冬粉 rice vermicelli or what is known to the Japanese as 春雨. Probably for textural contrast and it worked pretty well.
高丽菜包, finely chopped Chinese cabbage as a filling together with minced pork, the sweetness of the vegetable intermingled with the sweetness from the meat and helped to accentuate the savory hues of marinade. It tastes milder than chives of course but no less delicious!
雪里红包， wrapped with a lesser seen vegetable over here in Singapore . Traditionally, they are pickled and dried to make preserved vegetables like 梅菜 but at Mrs Chiang’s they are chopped finely and blended together with minced pork to make wonderful filling. 雪里红 is a vegetable which I’d encountered quite a bit in Shanghainese cuisine and once you’d tasted it, it becomes unmistakably recognisable and quite unforgettable.
Unlike Cantonese influenced dimsum bun making technique which we are accustomed to using and eating over here in Singapore and Malaysia made using 香港水仙花面粉 “Hong Kong Narcissus Flour” for its fluffy and airy textures, the skin of Mrs Chiang’s buns have a more robust and chewy palate profile that reminds of buns from Northern Chinese cuisine. Rightfully so as Mrs Chiang is of Shandong descent and would necessarily inherited all the tricks of the trade for the making of good Shandong buns and mantou. Yet, she doesn’t follow the traditional methods of Shandong bun making to the strictest mode, but had already modified the recipe to better suit the general masses who may not be used to the firm textures of traditional Shandong buns. For us folks who are used to Cantonese dimsum bun textures, the initial bite into one of Mrs Chiang’s buns may come as a shock and probably requires some getting used to. So do abandon the pre-conceived notion of buns being very 细致 and be more open-minded of the possibility of being 扎实 and you would be fine. Before long, you would be overwhelmed by the goodness of the filling and probably everything else you had thought of the skin would have been quickly forgotten.
復興店：180 Fuxing South Road Section 1 (just around the corner of MRT exit at Zhongxiao Fuxing Station)，(02)2781-6606
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 6:00~19:00，Sat 6:00~18:00，Closed on Sundays.