In perhaps one of the most idiotic decisions I've ever seen regarding restaurant locations, 金雞園, which translates loosely to 'The Garden of Golden Chickens,' decided to plop itself down on 永康街... right down the street from 鼎泰豐 and 高記. As awesome as that name is, it just doesn't make much sense to place yourself next to two of the most well known soup dumping restaurants. Yet... they're still in business. So they must be doing something right? What I mean is... in Taiwan, soup dumplings are very serious business, and yours better be damn good to stay afloat, let alone in that area. Hmm... life changing dumplings?
Nah, nothing like that. They have great flavor, by which I mean the pork is sufficiently juicy and savory, but the skins are a tad thick, the soup content could definitely be increased, and they almost all have a little nub of dough at the pinch spot. That said, it's like 90 NT (less than $3) per steamer (8 soup dumplings). From a pure value standpoint, that's a shade over 10 NT per. When compared with juggernaut 鼎泰豐, which is 190 NT for 10... well, I think I can forgive them for their shortcomings.
Mmm... hot and sour soup ordered out of habit. I don't like eating soup dumplings (or any kind of dumpling really) without an accompanying soup. As I previously mentioned, I like poking a hole in the skins and filling them with hot and sour soup. The combination is mind blowing.
Fried mantou. This shit is dope yo. Sure it sounds stupid, steam some dough into a giant dense ball of carbs, and then fry it until you have a fried giant dense ball of carbs, but I assure you it's delicious. Before anyone tells me that the best way to eat it is dipped in condensed milk, no... just no. While I do agree that dipping stuff in condensed milk is the right thing to do 99% of the time, doing that ruins the subtle sweetness that mantou inherently owns. So please, try it plain before you dip to oblivion next time. Long story short... 金雞園, awesome name, decent prices, acceptable soup dumplings, incredible fried dough. Definitely worth visiting if you want local authenticity.