Din Tai Fung World Square

December 05, 2015

Din Tai Fung had a humble beginning in 1972 as a dumpling stall in Taiwan and has become a household name since then with its growing number of international branches. Having reached our shores for quite some time now their ever continuing expansion around the world is testament to their tasty dumplings. Din Tai Fung is absolutely serious when it comes to executing exceptional xiao long bao.

DT and I visited their World Square location for dinner and it was a full house. Unfortunately the only table free was outdoors and being winter it was pretty chilly. On the bright side we chose some hot dishes to warm ourselves up and we didn't have to wait for a table.

Vegetable and pork wonton noodle soup 
A simple noodle dish that was perfect for a cold wintry day. Their handmade noodles were just firm enough without being chewy and slippery smooth to make slurping them up effortless. The wonton skin likewise was silky smooth in texture and wrapped up a reasonable amount of flavoursome minced vegetable and pork. The clear broth was very light and more seasoning could have been added if desired but I actually liked it as it was and didn't feel it was necessary. 

Xiao long bao (pork)
Din Tai Fung don't mess about when it comes to these dainty soup-filled morsels. They are handmade with the utmost precision and involves weighing each dumpling wrapper before being stuffed with a measured amount of filling and re-weighed again. The dumplings must meet their developed weighing criteria before being steamed for exactly 3 minutes and finally served. The quality control is what makes their dumplings come out pretty much perfect and consistent every time and having tried these at one of their branches in Singapore I definitely couldn't tell the difference.

I do have to commend them on achieving what I've encountered thus far the most delicate and thin dumpling skin but robust enough that it won't break upon taking a piece up with your chopsticks. There's nothing worse than having a soup-less xiao long bao in your grasp. Din Tai Fung also pack in an appetising pork filling and combined with the hot soup brimming with flavour I will regard their xiao long bao as perfect until the arrival of a better one. Be sure to eat them hot to completely enjoy the experience of gently breaking into the slightly tacky dumpling skin with your teeth and then be met with a mixture of hot soup and juicy pork filling. Dipping the dumpling beforehand into the vinegar and ginger soy sauce is highly recommended as the sourness and saltiness complement the xiao long bao.

Pork chop served with fried medium grain rice
A thinly tenderised pork chop coated with a golden crunchy batter came out as a main to share with DT and due to its thinness it was basically half meat and half batter so each piece was easily chewed away. Din Tai Fung dish up some mighty good fried rice. It was moist but not soggy and the fried egg and finely chopped shallots and garlic dispersed throughout made it quite fragrant. A most satisfying meal it was as I was basically wolfing spoonfuls of it down while nibbling on the tasty and conveniently cut up pork chop on the side.

Shrimp and pork shao mai
These pleated parcels of carefully wrapped minced pork with whole shrimps wedged on top were good but they didn't haven anything on their tastier xiao long bao cousins. Seriously, once you've had soup dumplings there's no going back to ordinary ones. 

Dumpling gems (7 pieces) $15.80
One of the primary reasons for wanting to re-visit Din Tai Fung was to finally try their rainbow coloured xiao long bao. Like their plain white sister each dumpling was exquisitely pleated to showcase their signature thin dumpling skin. According to the menu the colours were achieved without artificial food dyes which was amazing considering the vibrancy and opacity. Each piece was a surprise containing a different filling according to their colour, some were pleasant and some leaned towards being strange. I much prefer the original xiao long bao however for the novelty factor and for the sake of an interesting photo opportunity these dumpling gems would be hard to pass up. 

The two I liked the most were the BBQ pork (brown) and garlic pork (purple) variations. The yellow one had a cheese filling which was certainly interesting, tasty and weird all at once. The least favourite was the red dumpling with the bolognaise filling as it was such a bizarre combination. Let's just say we should only permit bolognaise sauce on spaghetti. 

One can't really go wrong with a meal at Din Tai Fung whether for lunch or dinner. The only drawback would be the prices, it was notably more expensive compared to similar joints such as Taste of Shanghai and New Shanghai. However, in saying that, Din Tai Fung are in a league of their own where their xiao long bao is concerned as the dumpling skin is something to be rivalled. I'll be honest and admit that I appreciate good value for money so if I needed a dumpling fix I would be hitting up the cheaper restaurants.

Din Tai Fung Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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