Din Tai Fung Xiao Long Bao

Photo Sundays: The Din Tai Fung Trilogy – Singapore, Taipei and Hong Kong

by April@MyFoodTrail on July 15, 2012

in Chinese, Dining Out, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Photo Sundays, Singapore, Singapore, Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan

I’ve heard a lot about Din Tai Fung and how their xiao long baos (steamed pork dumplings with soup/broth inside) are supposedly the best. They have branches all over the world, but only one in Australia, in Sydney, so I have never been. I found out that there is a Din Tai Fung in Singapore, Taipei (where it originated) and Hong Kong, so I made it a point to go visit the restaurant in every country on my holiday! 🙂

To me, a good xiao long bao has to have a thin skin, but thick enough to make sure it doesn’t break and the tasty broth remains inside the dumpling. The minced pork should be juicy and flavoursome. Din Tai Fung describes the xiao long bao as containing “minced pork wrapped in a delicate dough skin, which is then pleated, twisted at the top and steamed.” Apparently the melt in the mouth skin has a “minimum of 18 exquisite folds”.

Food is cheap in Taipei, so out of the three branches I visited, Taipei was the cheapest. I also think it was the best in terms of the xiao long bao. The skin was delicately thin, the minced pork filling was soft and the broth was full of flavour. We also discovered the shrimp and pork wontons with spicy sauce in Taipei and they are definitely another must order dish if you go to Din Tai Fung.

Part I – Din Tai Fung, Singapore

Din Tai Fung
Wisma Atria
435 Orchard Road, #02-48 (Level 2), Singapore
Nearest MRT: Orchard Station

Din Tai Fung, Singapore - Inside

Inside Din Tai Fung, Singapore.
Singapore had the nicest interior out of the three countries. There are a ridiculous 12 branches in Singapore!!

Din Tai Fung, Singapore - Snow Pea Shoots

Snow pea shoots with garlic
I find vegetables a bit of a waste of stomach space, but while on holidays we need our vegies. These were more stems than leaves and quite woody.

Din Tai Fung, Singapore - Sliced duck in crispy spring onion pastry

Sliced duck in crispy spring onion pastry
These were a speciality and not available in the other countries. It’s really a fancy spring roll, but I liked the presentation.

Din Tai Fung, Singapore - Steamed pork dumplings (xiao long bao)

Steamed pork dumplings – xiao long bao 6 pieces
You could order them in 6 piece or 10 piece portions. Morsels of juicy goodness!

Din Tai Fung, Singapore - Pork chop on fried rice

Pork chop on fried rice
Not something I would usually order, but I read this is a must order dish. Pork chop was so tender without the fake bi-carb flavour. I wonder how they can get it so tender. It had a tasty marinade too.

Part II – Din Tai Fung, Taipei

Din Tai Fung Zhongxiao
No. 218, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Daan District, Taipei City
Nearest MRT: Zhongxiao Dunhua station (blue line), Exit 3

Din Tai Fung, Taiwan - Dumpling Mascot

The Din Tai Fung Dumpling Mascot!
Din Tai Fung was founded in Taipei in 1958, with the original branch at Xinyi Road. We chose the Zhongxiao branch because it was the closest to a train station.

Din Tai Fung, Taiwan - Souvenir shop

There’s even a Din Tai Fung souvenir shop!

Din Tai Fung, Taiwan - Inside

Inside Din Tai Fung, Taipei
It’s rare to see such an empty Din Tai Fung, but we were one of the first customers to arrive at 4pm when they re-opened after the lunch crowd.

Din Tai Fung, Taiwan - How to eat a xiao long bao

Guide to how to eat a xiao long bao
I love how they gave you these guides on xiao long bao eating etiquette! I normally put some sauce in my spoon, followed by the dumpling, then nibble a small hole in the dumpling to suck out the soup, then eat the dumpling.

Din Tai Fung, Taiwan - Condiments

Necessary xiao long bao condiments: soy sauce, black vinegar and thinly sliced ginger. According to the guide, the correct ratio is 3 parts vinegar to 1 part soy sauce.

Din Tai Fung, Taiwan - Green beans with minced pork

Green beans with minced pork
I was a bit surprised that this dish was served cold. I saw the waitress weighing each of the entrée dishes – very accurate!

Din Tai Fung, Taiwan - Steamed pork dumplings (xiao long bao)

Steamed pork dumplings – xiao long bao
All the dumplings are steamed on a thin muslin cloth so you can carefully remove the dumplings without them sticking.

Din Tai Fung, Taiwan - Pork & glutinous rice shao mai

Pork & glutinous rice shao mai
We ordered these because we had never seen them before. I wouldn’t bother next time. I found them quite bland.

Din Tai Fung, Taiwan - Shrimp & pork wonton with spicy sauce

Shrimp & pork wonton with spicy sauce
Plump juicy wontons with a thin, silky skin served with an amazing spicy chilli sauce. It wasn’t that spicy, but it was so flavoursome.

Din Tai Fung, Taiwan - Crispy dumplings

Crispy fried pork dumplings
We were quite full already, but we wanted to try these dumplings. The filling was average, but what made the dumplings was the thin, crispy base. We saved the chilli sauce from the wontons to have with these too!

Part III – Din Tai Fung, Hong Kong

Din Tai Fung
Shop 130, 3rd Floor, Silvercord
No. 30 Canton Road, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong
Nearest MTR: Tsim Sha Tsui Exit A1

Din Tai Fung, Hong Kong - Inside

Inside Din Tai Fung, Hong Kong
This is the first branch that has been awarded a Michelin star. There are only two branches in Hong Kong so both get very crowded. We went at almost 10pm (they close at 10.30pm) and the restaurant was still packed.

Din Tai Fung, Hong Kong - Snow pea shoots with garlic

Snow pea shoots with garlic
The token vegies. This was very garlicky but nice.

Din Tai Fung, Hong Kong - Steamed pork dumpling (xiao long bao)

Steamed pork dumplings – xiao long bao
These were more generously sized than the ones in Singapore and Taipei. I would rate these second to Taipei.

Din Tai Fung, Hong Kong - Beef noodles

Braised beef noodles
We missed out trying good beef noodles in Taipei, so hubby wanted to order this. Noodles were nice and beef was tender, but I didn’t like the flavour of the soup.

Din Tai Fung, Hong Kong - Shrimp & pork wonton with spicy sauce

Shrimp & pork wonton with spicy sauce
We had to get these again. They were better in Taipei, but these were still very good.

Over & Out, April xx

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah July 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Lovely post April, and I am sooooo jealous of your trip! Literally every dish looks absolutely fantastic! And I love the cute Tin Tai Fung mascot! 🙂 xox


Sarah July 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Whoops, clearly I meant “DIN Tai Fung”! 🙂


April@MyFoodTrail July 15, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Tin Tai Fung sounds cuter! Maybe that should be the mascot’s name hehe 🙂


Michelle July 16, 2012 at 12:19 am

I am never a huge fan of DTF because I had horrible experience at Kuala Lumpur but the HK and Taipei one looks promising.


Daisy@Nevertoosweet July 16, 2012 at 9:11 am

HAHAHA I love how you went to all the DTF 🙂 I love their XLBs! And in my opinion I think the best one is still in Taiwan hehe not sure why though 🙂

Sighhh I kinda had to focus on your ‘words’ and not the photos because lol they’re getting me very hungry even though i had dumplings last nite! ARGH lol


Hannah July 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm

That dumpling mascot is so cute!


Em July 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I hope the place I am going to for dinner tonight does dumplings ’cause I really want some after reading your post!
I have tried Din Tai Fung in Singapore and Hong Know and always found it very good. I like how the dumplings are served on cloth so they don’t stick when you prise them out of the steamers.


Iron Chef Shellie July 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Sydney has two Din Tai Fung! One big one and one smaller one in the Westfield foodcourt.. I have been to both 😛

Loved it, and we had the shao mai and it was really good…. perhaps yours was having an off day 🙁 I’m craving some XLBs now!


Agnes July 18, 2012 at 10:36 am

Interesting that the XLB were different in each branch – I thought one of the “things” about Din Tai Fung is that all the branches around the world produced dumplings to an exacting standard so that they are the same wherever you go. Well there goes that theory!


April@MyFoodTrail August 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm

They must all use the same recipe, but I guess it can never be exactly the same. It would be a good experiment if you could try them all at once. I guess you could if you were in Singapore and buy the XLBs from all 12 branches to test out consistency! Haha! Challenge for you if you go to Singapore 😀


Thanh August 1, 2012 at 11:13 am

OMG yummmm. I want to go back to Din Tai Fung. Those Xiao Long Baos were awesome. What was your next favourite thing?


April@MyFoodTrail August 2, 2012 at 8:53 pm

The wontons in the spicy sauce were definitely the next best thing. I want some now!


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