If slow and steady wins the race, Zhu Ji is the underdog that is picking up speed. The shop specializing in congee and bings (traditional filled pastries slash flatbreads) has been around since the 70s, but in recent years has picked up momentum as a Din Tai Fung doppelgänger. Their menu includes dumplings, fried rice and noodle dishes that bear an uncanny resemblance to the world famous DTF while being at a more accessible price point and more casual dining environment.
But they aren’t trying to be a knock off DTF and live in the shadows of giants. Zhu Ji has a lot more to offer. For one, they actually specialize in steamed dumplings rather than soup dumplings (though they have both), and they have a bunch of noodle options too, ranging from stir fried noodles to beef noodle soup.
It’s the kind of place where you can stop by on a whim and be able to grab a seat fairly easily (ok maybe not during peak lunch hours on a weekday). The kind of place where you can dine alone and be able to have a balanced meal. Even though it’s a chain with several locations in northern and central Taiwan, even within the hustle and bustle of a department store food court, it still captures that mom and shop vibe.
Go here for: a reliable option for lunch or dinner when you’re craving dumplings with a side of more carbs
Order this: 蒸餃 zheng jiao steamed dumplings, 鍋貼 guo tie (panfried dumplings), 小米粥 xiao mi zhou millet porridge with 餡餅 xian bing (vegetable, pork or beef) pie
Amount of time to spend: it’s pretty quick serve so ~30 minutes should be plenty
When to come: avoid peak lunch hours (especially in locations with a lot of offices as it’s a popular lunch spot), but generally there’s no wait throughout the afternoon, and doesn’t get too busy during dinner times
Getting here: all of the Taipei locations are nearby an MRT station, several (like in Shilin SOGO, Xinyi A13, Zhongshan SKM Nanxi and Ximen FE21) are within department store food courts for extra convenience. A couple are located in train stations (like Songshan and Nangang)
Other things to note:
Last visited: October 2019
Last updated: October 2020