High-rise Observation and DTF in Taipei 101

I mean DTF as in ‘Din Tai Fung’

It may have feel like eons ago when Taipei 101 stood as the tallest skyscraper in the world when it first opened in 2004. Ten taller buildings later—led by Dubai’s Burj KhalifaTaiwan’s tower of power, remains as an enigma of an architectural wonder lording over the skyline of Taipei. Standing 1,667 feet with 101 floors, Taipei 101 held the title of the world's tallest building from 2004 to 2010.

Notice the architecture resembling a stack of Chinese food take-out boxes
Higher than several mountains I’ve hiked on daytrips before, I wouldn’t pass up a chance to climb into Taipei 101’s observation deck and check out the view of Taipei city from a towering perspective. All it took for us to reach the observation deck at the 89th floor was 37 seconds—thanks to the building's high-speed elevator that can soar up to 1,010 meters per minute. 

The Observation Deck @89th and @91st Floor

The observation deck at the 89th floor features an indoor observatory covered with a floor-to-ceiling UV protected glass window offering a 360-degree view. We spent almost an hour here just walking around looking for the best spot to see the city. There are binoculars available at a small amount of NT penny for you to use and get a closer look of the city below.

The fee for the observatory cost NT$600 for foreigners and allows access from the 88th through the 91st floor via the high-speed elevator. Afterward, we went up two levels to the outdoor observatory located at the 91st floor. The view here isn't as clear as what one could see from the 89th floor because of the waist-high concrete wall.

According to the latest update from Taipei 101’s website:The 91st-floor observatory used to be the highest floor that open to the public until June 14, 2019 when it was announced by the building's management team that the 101st floor (at 460m above sea level) will be opened to the general public, with a quota of 36 people per day and is subject to prior booking”

Eva Air's Emily, the Poor Traveler's Astrid, When in Manila's Nicole and SpotPH's Erika
It may have come almost a decade late but still, the feeling of finally stepping foot inside the former world’s tallest building satisfied every bit of my fascination about Taipei 101. While I would always prefer the view from atop a mountain to any man-made structures, there is an added layer of satisfaction of seeing an expansive view of the city from a building bursting with engineering and architectural marvels.

After our time at the observation deck, we cut short our exploration of Taipei 101 except for a short stroll at the mall located on the ground floor—as we all agreed that we’re all craving for some DTF action.

Eating Soup Dumplings 101 @ Din Tai Fung

When one mentions the Michelin-starred Din Tai Fung, a foodie mind always comes up with savory images of the legendary Xiao Long Bao—the paper-thin wrapped steamed soup dumplings. Although the original location is located in Xinyi Road, the branch in Taipei 101 is one of Din Tai Fung's most popular branches worldwide.

Upon being led to our seats, one of the chefs invited us to watch the other cooks prepare their famous dumplings by hand behind a glass window separating their busy kitchen. Afterward, he told us a brief history of Din Tai Fung.

Din Tai Fung was founded by Yang Bingyi in 1958 originally as an oil reseller naming their company Din Tai Fung. Business went smoothly until in the early 1970's when canned cooking oil became popular, thereby putting a financial toll on their business.

Searching for ways to either re-invent their existing business or start a new one, Yang and his wife decided on converting their oil store to a small stall selling steamed buns. Din Tai Fung became a restaurant in 1972 before opening other branches in Taiwan and other countries.

Following our brief chit-chat with the chef, came our most awaited part: the Xiao Long Bao feast. We were served with dumplings with different fillings—including the ones with burning hot soup and my favorite; the chocolate Xiao Long Bao.

Kneading, rolling, filling, folding, steaming…” the chefs at Din Tai Fung has mastered the art of making Xiao Long Bao with such finesse. The daily long lines of diners that greet every branch of Din Tai Fung—especially this one at Taipei 101—represent the culinary journey that this food institution has undergone from being a mere cooking oil retail store to a Michelin starred restaurant with branches all over the world (Metro Manila, Philippines included).

Remember before you start, here are the 4 steps on how to eat Xiao Long Bao as written on the menu:

  •     . Put soy sauce and vinegar into the bowl with sliced ginger (one part soy sauce to three parts vinegar would be best)
  •          Take the soup dumpling and dip it into the sauce.
  •       Then put the dumpling into your spoon, and poke a hole in the wrapper of the dumpling to release the juices.
  •           And finally eat.