Everyone is raving about the recently opened Din Tai Fung in World Square, Sydney. So I thought is time for me to drop by and check it out myself. Din Tai Fung, the Taipei based global chain, has expanded from Taiwan, to Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Korea, US, and now in Sydney, Australia.
I’ve been warned to arrive early before noon or prepare to join the queue for at least half an hour to get a table. I was late, I arrived after 12pm, and there’s already a big crowd outside, curling under the red glowing heater, reading the menu tentatively, deciding what they going to order. I decided to try my luck and took a number, the concierge told us it would be a 20mins wait, so I give them 30mins max. To keep the hungry mouth waiting outside, they even put on a good show by having a big fish tank, with chefs in clinical uniform inside, preparing all the delicious food right in front of you.
We were lucky, some impatient patrons arrived before us already given up and left. After 15 mins of waiting, our number were called, and we were asked to share a table with the Hi-5 teens, we agreed to and a friendly waitress showed us our table. When I first walked in, I was awe with those massive UFO-shaped lightings hanging above ceiling, like a giant dumpling is calling you, luring you in. One thing in my mind when I look at the feature wall, with all the dim sim steamer baskets in different sizes –
“Yes, I want dumplings, lots of them!”
We actually already ticking the ordering sheet while waiting outside, unfortunately the Drunken Chicken was not available, so it gave us an excuse to tick a few other items as replacement. The Hi-5 group at our table had their meal almost instantly once sat down, not long after, our dumplings arrived one after another.
The Xiao Long Bao arrived first, six dumplings in perfect form and size evenly spread out in the steamer basket. When I picked one up with the chopsticks, I thought the skin is going to stick to the bottom and tear apart because the skin is so thin and you almost can see the soup gurgling inside. I was wrong, the skin is skillfully made, thin yet elastic, not till you poke it with chopsticks, and the juice oozes out immediately and fills up the bowl. The juice is sweet but the dumpling is subtle in taste, dipped in vinegar soy sauce does help with flavor. I preferred mine with some chilli oil to give it a bit of kick.
Pork Wonton Soup arrived soon after, the soup is nice and not too salty, can’t help myself but drank it all even all dumplings were gone. The pork wonton was like the xiao long bao with a subtle taste, but the skin is silky smooth and slippery to the lips.
I am a fan of Taiwanese Zha Jiang Mian (Spicy Pork Mince noodle), so I had to order it. I am bit disappointed with the Din Tai Fung’s version of Zha Jiang Mian. The noodle they used is not the thick wheat noodle, instead of thick round vermicelli. The flavor is great, but there just not enough of the pork mince on top, I find it a challenge to split it between two people.
Then, we also had a pork steamed bun, pork filling inside, and soft fluffy bun outside. (Sorry, no picture, a bun is boring.) And the prawn and pork wonton in spicy sauce arrived last. The spicy sauce has great flavor with a chilli kick, definitely one of the most flavorable among them all. Lastly, we finished our meal with the sweet Red Bean paste pastry bread. Just imagine it like the prawn toast, but with red bean paste wrapped inside a slide of white bread then fry till golden brown. Hot steamy red bean paste on each bite melt in the mouth, we definitely can do with another plate, or two.
By the time we finished our meal, we were full but not stuffed. We picked up the bill and at least 3 waitresses saying thank you to us on our way to the counter to settle the bill. As friendly as it may sound, but I got the feeling that they wanted you out as soon as possible so they can accommodate more patrons who’d been waiting outside. The bill comes to $52 for two people.
Just go if you like your dumplings, you won’t be disappointed.
Tips: A table for two can be accommodated quicker, comparing to arrival in big groups.
Din Tai Fung Shop 11.04, Level 1, World Square Shopping Centre (up the stairs turn right or just follow the big crowd) 644 George St, Sydney Tel: +61 (02) 9264 6010 Open 7 days 11am-2.30pm, 5-10pm