Taipei Dao, which roughly translates to “pathway to Taipei” is undeniably a hidden gem in the heart of Business Bay, Dubai. It’s a Taiwanese Teahouse, which makes complete sense since dim sum is a usual accompaniment to tea in the Chinese culture. Do they serve the best dim sum I’ve ever had? Not in my opinion- but maybe it’s because these folks don’t use MSG, GMO ingredients, bouillon, or any other delicious stuff that is so bad for you but ultimately tastes so, so good. I’ll tell you what made me fall in love with it though: the superiority of the ingredients being used, and the bakery cum tea shop; they will really transport you to the Far East.
The owner- Felice, is a seasoned, experienced restauranteur who is visibly passionate about what she does. Not only does she have a deep understanding of the ingredients and food she’s putting on your plate, she believes in feeding her customers only what she sees fit to feed her own family on a daily basis. This is not your standard cliche pro “organic” restaurant for the new age hipsters. These guys are super serious. They target actual health-conscious regular customers. I’m talking tea seed oil for stir fries, temperature controlled olive oil for frying, palm sugar for sweetening and only deep sea salt taken from 600 meters below sea level- and that’s just the beginning!
Taipei Dao ware generous enough to invite me and my friends for their Dim Sum Friday brunch, which is priced at AED 99 for unlimited dim sum: sounds like my kind of place. We ate (a ton of both steamed and fried dim sum), drank (some of the best chicken corn soup I’ve ever had, and detox water that practically had an entire salad in it), and got schooled on the importance of using only the best of ingredients and the dangers of drinking too much green tea (yeah, tell that to my serious addiction).
Our favorite items were the Green Tea and Prawn Dumpling, the Beef Dumpling, the Prawn and Pineapple spring roll crusted with almond slivers (I’m getting hunger pangs just thinking about these), the Black Sesame Seed ice cream, the passionfruit vinegar shots to cleanse your palate between the meal and dessert, and the Bubble Tea. You guys, this was some of the best bubble tea I’ve had anywhere, and I’ve spent a decent amount of time vacationing in the Far East.
After our very filling meal, Felice granted us the honor of witnessing how tea should really be made:
- There must always be two teapots; one to steep the tea and the other to hold it.
- First the tea is rinsed with hot water (yup), then cups are rinsed with hot water
- The tea is then steeped in hot water (70-75 degrees max) for 40 seconds only. This is because you want to release the Catogens in the tea but not the caffeine. Caffeine is released when the tea is allowed to steep for longer than 40-50 seconds.
- The tea is then poured into the pre-rinsed cups and served.
- The same tea leaves are used for up to five brews, and the third and fourth brews are the best. Well, who knew?
I’ve simplified the process, but it is truly an experience to sit at the tea bar and witness Felice doing what she’s clearly very good at. She boasts an impressive collection of tea, including a jar of Puer that is 25 years old. I personally liked the High Mountain Oolong better, but was extremely impressed nonetheless- both by the teas and her teapots and teacups.
After tea, we headed to the bakery and I kid you not: I wanted to buy EVERYTHING. The array of exotic ingredients and freshly baked goodies took me to a very, very happy place. I had to pace myself though and ended up buying only some baked items and gluten free soy sauce. I’ve since been back to buy more of their amazing matcha muffins, and I think next time I go, I’ll grab a bottle of that passion fruit vinegar too.
I’m so truly thrilled to have discovered Taipei Dao, and we need many more places like this in Dubai. Thank you so much for having us.