...more like Din Tai Yum!

9/16/2009 11:00:00 am

Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese dumpling franchise gone global. It's famous for its soup-filled pork dumplings, xiao long bao. I cannot stress this enough: dumplings with soup inside them are amazing, life-changing things.

Usually when I eat dumplings I am with my friend Kieran and we are at a hole-in-the wall in Haymarket called Chinese Noodle Restaurant. That's actually its name, and their noodles are extremely delicious, as are their pork dumplings. In search of something a little bit different, we ended up at Din Tai Fung some time earlier this year, and ever since I have wanted to go back. The place is awesome.

When you get there, invariably, there is a queue. You go up to the door lady and tell her how many people and in return you get a menu and an estimate of how long your wait will be. It's usually not more than 20 minutes, but if you are so inclined, to pass the time you can look through floor-to-ceiling windows at the dumpling industrial production kitchen, where 10 or so chefs in what appears to be surgical get-up stuff, fold, and steam hundreds of dumplings.

You order before you get your table by ticking boxes on a piece of paper. Then by the time you sit down it's usually only 5 minutes until your food comes.

Inside at large communal tables, the dumplings come fast, stacked high in bamboo steamers, delivered by waiters with walkie-talkies and those little electronic things to double-check your order.

And then you eat.

Don't attack the dumplings, lift them fairly gently or else you will poke a hole and lose the soup. They're fairly resilient but they are no match for a jabby chopstick.

Next, in the little dish with fresh ginger in it, you make a mix of chili oil, vinegar and soy. It is most deliciouso and you can custom tweak the taste.

Take you dumpling from his little steamy perch and dip him in sauce, then put him in your soup spoon. This is very involved eating.

Now you can jab a hole in him, and suck out the soup before eating the wrapper and delicious pork insides.

If you feel up to it, match your dumplings with wok-fried greens. They're also tasty with the vinegar/soy mix.

My advice though is to not waste your stomach space on noodles, that's what Chinese Noodle Restaurant is for. Din Tai Fung noodles never seem to be quite right.

They're famous for dumplings for a reason.

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2 comments on this post

  1. Nice! Will have to visit when I am next back in Sydney. I'm noticing a lot of food-related themes on your blog. Will have to keep reading when I am less hungry.

  2. The food theme is becoming a problem. I cannot stop eating. Something must be done...


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