Everyone has been to Din Tai Fung these days. Well everyone but me, not for any particular reason other than me being lazy. So I decided it was about time that I got off my butt and over to World Square. Now apparently the key to minimising the time spent waiting in line is to get there early, which seems to be the case as otherwise you may end up sitting around for a while. It is not the end of the world as you can fill out your order form whilst you wait. Luckily for us, when we arrived we got a table right away, score!
Shanghainese Style Drunken Chicken ($8.80).
Drunken chicken is one of my favourite Chinese dishes so I made sure that we ordered it. It was the first of our dishes to arrive and it did so looking nice and glossy. The chicken was soft and tender. Great Shaoxing wine and ginger flavour had permeated the flesh and the skin was that perfect firm yet giving texture, an awesome start.
Vegetarian Fried Rice with Egg ($9.80).
I find it is always a nice idea to have some form of rice when going down the dumpling/yum cha route so we decided on the vegetarian with egg version. Quite tasty and as always a good little break from dumplings, I just wish it was as good as Chefs Gallery’s Three Egg Rice, but then again with so many other dishes to come it did its job.
Pork Chop deboned, Taiwanese Specialty ($8.80).
Before getting stuck into dumplings there had to be something other than the drunken chicken ordered. After narrowing it down to a deep fried something, then umming and ahhhing over the chicken or the pork we went with the latter. Coated in bread crumbs and a nice amount of black pepper this fried ‘schnitzel’ was superb, not too oily, pleasantly crunchy coating and well seasoned pork.
Vegetable Jiao Zi ($5.80).
Everything we craved on the menu was pork or prawn so in the spirit of a balanced diet we chose the vegetable jaio zi. They packed quite a punch, the filling was a deep rich green and they tasted as good as they looked. They tasted so fresh and healthy that Em was not a fan, but the rest of us quite enjoyed them.
Pork Xiao Long Bao Dumpling ($10.80).
Being the dumpling noob of the group I’d never had the chance to experience xiao long bao before and although the instruction placard was a nice touch I didn’t find it helped with the most crucial part of the experience… getting them to your mouth/spoon/bowl without rupturing.
Perfectly pleated silky skin was soft with just the right amount of chew to them, and when the hot pork broth broke through the almost translucent skin and into my mouth it was a great moment. The pork filling is soft and a great balance of sweet and salt, and this is only bested when eating them as per the instructions – accompanied by soy sauce, vinegar and shredded young ginger.
Steamed Pork Buns ($10.00).
Be it a yum cha or dumpling extravaganza, steamed pork buns for me are a must and something I had never really experienced until a few years ago. I just love the sticky chewy fluffy dough that surrounds the minced pork which is so addictive. They were pretty damn good, but I think there are a few better places out in Cabramatta to get your steamed pork buns.
Shrimp & Pork Shao Mai ($9.80).
These things reminded me of deep fried Thai money bags with the exception of the orange prawn filling protruding from the top. Another delicate dumpling filled with an awesome meaty filling of prawns and marinated pork. While not as good as the xiao long bao definitely worth a try.
Crab Meat & Roe with Pork Xiao Long Bao Dumpling ($17.80).
Our second set of xiao long bao were the luxurious crab meat, crab roe and pork versions and while they were a LOT more expensive than their pork siblings they definitely justified the price premium with a taste explosion. These things were just bursting with an intense combination of velvety pork broth and mind blowing crab meat and roe flavours. A real winner for me, these things must be why everyone loves Din Tai Fung.
Triple Mango ‘Fantacy’ ($9.80).
We saw this dessert at another table as we were being seated and it looked pretty epic, so when it came to dessert we knew we had to order the Triple Mango Fantacy (sic). A huge cone of shaved frozen mango juice with a fairly hefty scoop of mango ice cream on top, sitting in a sea of condensed milk and fresh mango pieces. Quite a good hit of mango throughout and a great mix of textures to work through. Although by the end the intensity had dropped off with no more ice cream or fresh fruit.
Mini Buns Trio – One each of Black Sesame, Red Bean & Taro ($5.50).
Wanting to be a little different Mr O went for the mini buns trio instead of sharing the massive Triple Mango ‘Fantacy’. As soon as the black sesame was bitten into the aroma wafted over the entire table, it was amazingly intense but sadly this seemed to tarnish the other buns a little as even after finishing the other two the black sesame taste remained.
While it didn’t blow my socks off as much as I thought it might, I will be going back, and the xiao long bao are the main reason for this as they are utterly amazing! Din Tai Fung is cheap enough and easily accessible to everyone, and all the girls just love the little handbag/purse holders they bring around to protect them from any little accidents that may occur. Easy to see why the place is so popular and has been for so long.
Din Tai Fung
644 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9264 6010
Din Tai Fung Website