Monday, September 27, 2010

Din Tai Fung, Hong Kong by Big Fil

Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese based franchise known for its shao long bao. It has dozens of stores across east and south-east Asia, as well as one in Sydney. The people who run Hutong Dumpling Bar in Melbourne also have some relationship to Din Tai Fung the details of which I am unsure.

The Tsim Sha Tsui branch of Din Tai Fung is located on the 3rd floor of a pretty upmarket shopping mall. Because we weren't paying enough attention to the time we ended up arriving at 7.30pm on a Saturday night, and with over 60 tickets issued for 2 person tables ahead of us we ended up lining up for over an hour.

The menu is quite long and we concentrated on the dumplings/bao. These included the steamed pork dumplings, the crab roe and pork and the angled loofah and shrimp dumplings. First of all though we tried the cold preserved sliced beef shank. This was much nicer than I expected. Nice beef flavour, delicate and thinly sliced, a winner.

The steamed pork was the most familiar style of dumpling, being very similar to the ones at Hutong. Thin dumpling skin, hot but not scalding soup and pork mince served with vinegar and thinly sliced ginger.

I had no real idea what the crab roe and pork dumplings were going to taste like but ordered them out of curiosity. They had the same delicate skin asthe pork dumplings but a more 'fishy' taste than I was expecting. Different and if I was ordering only one or two dishes it wouldn't be one of my choices; but still good.

The angled loofah (sometimes called Chinese Okra) and shrimp dumplings were the most delicately flavoured of the dumplings. Again, very nice dumplings.

Best dumplings of the night however were the shrimp and pork sui mai. Now I don't often like sui mai, which often seems to be made with cheap pork and overcooked. I am potentially converted though by the ones at Din Tai Fung. Good quality pork, moist and nicely steamed, and a full scale prawn rather than a tiny shrimp on top.

One thing I liked about the serving of the dumplings was that they were all steamed on cloth rather than paper. Quite often I find the dumplings stick to the paper and tear, a disaster for dumplings containing soup. This wasn't a problem with the dumplings steamed on cloth, with the dumplings lifting easily.

For dessert Hungry Pete went for the chilled sago soup with coconut milk and fresh fruit. While he thought this was just average, I am a big fan of sago and coconut milk and liked this a lot.

Intrigued by the name I went for the steamed eight-flavour glutinous rice.This comprised rice around a red bean paste centre, with other beans and fruit on the top. Not necessarily my thing (I am not a huge fan of red beans) but not a bad way to finish the meal. I think Hungry Pete and I managed to swap desert types (he loves red beans).

Nice thinly skinned dumplings with flavoursome soup and tasty fillings. The sui mai in particularly I liked probably more than any I have had before.Well priced at around $20 each as well. A very wide menu of dishes that would be worth visiting a few times or in a large group. I wasn't such afan of the set up though. Everything was neat and tidy and efficient but it made it feel a little like a production line service and a bit lacking inpersonality.

3rd floor, 20 Canton Road
Tsim Sha Sui Hong Kong

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