After months of waiting for the Din Tai Fung hype to die down a little bit, my friends and I went to check what all the hype about these soup dumplings were all about. And to be honest, they were alright. They were certainly the best soup dumplings I’ve ever had. The only other ones I’ve tried before are the ones from Costco and that’s if you really count them as soup dumplings because there wasn’t much soup in them at all. There was just a little something missing.
Yes, the soupiness was delicious and yes the skin was delicately soft with a slight bite to it, but the filling themselves were a bit of a hit and miss. And I am not the only one to think this way. Many of my friends have been here and have said that Din Tai Fung is a great place to check out, even if at least once. But once you’ve tried it then that’s kind of it. It’s nice, but it’s not amazing. The place is good if you get that kind of craving for soup dumplings, or a particular item on the menu or even for their sweet bean bread rolls (which I would say are pretty good). Service is pretty spot on, and they have quite an efficient ordering and note taking system similar to yum cha where they will mark on your sheet of paper what you’ve ordered for the table. Also you will never have to worry about running out of water, because your cups of water will continually be filled up to the top.
Xiao long bao (8pcs) $12.80
The classic pork xiao long bao. Served hot, you can easily burn yourself with the soupy goodness that awaits you. The dumpling skin is so delicate that if peeled of the parchment paper recklessly can leave you with no soup at all. I’ll be honest though, I liked everything about this xiao long bao except for the texture of the pork filling itself. It tasted okay, albeit a little salty and this is without dipping them into any sauce.
Black truffle pork dumpling $4.80 each
A much more decadent version of the pork xiao long bao. For $4.80 a piece, it was definitely work that extra kick of flavour but only when the cravings hit. The texture for the pork filling this time was much smoother than it was for the pork xiao long bao so I enjoyed it more overall.
Dumpling gems (7pcs) $15.80
Green (salad green), Orange (corn), Pink (seafood), Red (Bolognese), Yellow (cheese), Black (BBQ), Purple (garlic pork). Not their official colour names but it’s easier to figure which is which.
I would say that I enjoyed all the flavours but probably didn’t really noticed too much of a difference between the black and purple ones. It’s interesting to incorporate non-traditional flavours into dumplings, so it’s definitely worth ordering. And no sharing, I would recommend a set of 7pcs per person to try.
Green tea ice cream with red bean $4.80
The addition of the little red beans helps gives you something to chew on while the slight bitterness from the green tea toned what would otherwise be a very sweet dessert.
Taro gelato with golden taro bread $7.80
The little taro cigar bread sticks were a winner. Taro paste wrapped in a crispy bread coat were not too sweet and not oily at all. Served warm, dipping the little taro cigars into the ice cream completely satisfied my sweet tooth cravings. It also helps that I love taro flavoured desserts, or any Asian flavoured desserts for that matter.
Food comes out quickly at Din Tai Fung and there is little wait time unless too many people have decided to order the same dish as you have. If you come to dine at the early session for lunch and dinner then the wait isn’t very long at all and you can be sure that your favourites haven’t run out mid way through your session. However if you come on the weekends or to dine in their second session for either lunch or dinner then I cannot guarantee that your experience at Din Tai Fung will be consistent with mine. My friends and I dined during a weekday lunch at 12noon in their first session which starts at 11:30am. The place was getting pretty full and by the time we finished there was a decent line of people waiting for a table.