I was heading to Sydney for the day with a friend to see the show Wicked. I did a bit of research on restaurants and read about Din Tai Fung– advertised as serving the world’s tastiest dumplings. Din Tai Fung originated in Tai Pei and now has a chain of restaurants all over the world. Their website states:
‘…every dumpling pastry is delicately hand made to measure between precisely 4.8 and 5.2 grams at conception, with an exact 6cm diameter, before being stuffed to weigh between 20.6 and 21.4 grams. All this and the promise that the food can be made fresh in front of your eyes, steamed in exactly three minutes and on your table in seconds. Such scientific precision and quality control is what makes Din Tai Fung stand out from the rest.’
After reading that, I couldn’t wait to try it out! The main restaurant is located upstairs in World Square. The first thing you notice as you approach the restaurant is the 20-odd kitchen staff, all in white with white masks, hand making dumplings in a production line through the glass window.
It is also super BUSY and packed with people. Glad I made a booking. We were promptly shown to our seats and given the menus. The great thing is that the menu has pictures of each dish. I don’t know about anyone else, but this significantly influences my decision on what to order. Ladies receive a handbag holder – a little foldable unit with a cloth basket to place your handbag inside, and a flap to drape over the top of the bag to protect it. Pretty cool!
|Notice the handbag holder?|
We settled on the xiao long bao (a type of pork dumpling with mince AND soup in it), the shrimp and pork jiaozi (another type of dumpling) and the braised beef soup with Shanghainese noodles. Though the restaurant was packed with people, our food came out quickly. However, this isn’t surprising what with all the kitchen staff churning out those dumplings.
The xiao long bao is the BEST I’ve ever had! Delicious flavoursome fresh mince and soup inside a perfectly wrapped dumpling. You cannot get any better than this. It comes in a serve of 6 or 8, and we ordered the 6 pieces but I wanted to order another whole serve for myself. They are absolutely amazing!
I also ordered the lychee and mint juice – two flavours that work so well together and blended with ice. Such a refreshing drink on a summer’s day!
|Lychee and mint juice|
The pork and prawn dumplings were tasty too, but average compared to the xiao long bao. (Though ‘average’ is still miles better than any dumpling I can find in Canberra). The braised beef was nice and soft, and the broth was good too.
I’d never had dessert dumplings, so decided to try the steamed red bean dumpling (4 in a serve). This is simply a steamed dumpling stuffed with red bean paste. The first few bites are nice, but only if you really like red bean paste! Got a bit too much after a while and we just couldn’t finish it.
|Steamed red bean dumplings|
|Inside the red bean dumpling|
I’ve returned to Din Tai Fung several times now for the xiao long bao and to try something else on the menu. There is another noodle dish – I think the dan dan hand made noodles (no photo sorry) is covered in a yummy thick sauce (part hoisin/part choi sum sauce?) with fried and spring onions. Very simple dish but oh so good.
Love this place! Very prompt, efficient service, and the food comes out quickly. A little bit pricey – its around $10.50 for 8 pieces of the xiao long bao, but worth it! Highly recommended! Really hope they’ll open up one in Canberra.
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