Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 (Taiwan)

Although there are many branches of Din Tai Fung in Singapore, I seldom visit the restaurant because there was always a long queue. 

However, given that Din Tai Fung's roots were in Taiwan, we decided to head there for some xiao long bao. The founder of Din Tai Fung first worked as a delivery man in a store called Heng Tai Fung, which sold cooking oil. The owner later put the founder in charge of the oil store's accounts. However, the oil store was forced to shut down due to business losses. The founder decided to set up his own oil shop with wholesale oil purchased from Din Mei Oils. To show his appreciation to his boss at Heng Tai Fung, he named his store Din Tai Fung. Later, sales at the store plummeted and he turned to making and selling steamed dumplings instead. 

We decided to go during off-peak in order to avoid the queues. To satisfy our hunger in the meantime, we stuffed ourselves with Ah Zong Mian Xian and drank bubble tea. There was still a queue when we reached at 3 p.m. However, we were surprised that we were instantly shown to our seats in the restaurant, probably because there were just two of us.

For those who want a guide to enjoying the xiao long bao, there is a guide provided at every table, in a few languages. I always thought that the correct method was to bite off the head of the xiao long bao and drink the soup within. However, the guide says that you should poke a hole to release the broth.

We wanted to fulfill our vegetables intake for the day and ordered a 干扁四季豆 (String beans) (NT$130). As it was an appetiser, it was a cold dish. I prefer my vegetables hot but this was fine as well. It was crunchy and well seasoned.

We were contemplating whether to order 5 小笼包 (Soup Dumplings) (NT$21) or 10. We definitely could have done 10 but decided that we wanted to save our stomach space to try something else as well.

When the bamboo steamer basket was placed on the table, I felt like there was so much emptiness surrounding these 5 little dumplings- we should have ordered 10 to fill up the void! There wasn't much time to mope about this though because these little goodies are meant to be delivered from plate to mouth within milliseconds. The thin (yet thick enough not to be broken when lifted with chopsticks) smooth skins contain sufficient amount of slurp worthy soup and bouncy minced pork. Each piece has to have a minimum of 18 folds.

These were the other 5 mini goodies that we had to save our stomach for. We had never tried these Red Bean Dumplings 豆沙小包 (NT$16) but these were absolutely delicious. While this did not contain soup, each skin was wrapped around a generous portion of smooth red bean.

Service was excellent and despite the crowds, the waitresses were polite and one of them even struck up a conversation with us.

A must go in Taipei, just try to go at off-peak hours.

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐
Various outlets
Xinyi Branch
No. 194 Sec. 2 Xinyi Rd
Taipei City
Tel: 02-2321-8928

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri: 10:00 - 21:00
Weekends and holidays: 09:00 - 21:00 


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