September 8, 2011

Din Tai Fung: For the Love of Dumplings!

I am a huge dumpling fanatic… in any forms!! J In my gastronomic world, dumplings are my Achilles Heel. Mentioned dumpling and I will go weak… hehehe. That’s how much I love dumplings.

When my dear foodie, Yvonne called to ask if I am interested in previewing a haven of dumplings and the restaurant’s new menu at Din Tai Fung, I doubt anyone could pry me away from this meal. That Sunday morning, I woke up with great anticipation of the thoughts of the perfect dumpling (or dumplings) to make my day!!

The Ambience

The décor features splashes of red among the two tones of wood contrasting each other in a stylish way. Huge wooden lanterns hung brightly above while simple table setting are place neatly on each table.

The inner part of the restaurant has a darker wooden ambience and uses natural lights to offset the darkness of the wood. Panel of painted wall against wooden paneling featuring mixture of designed motif reflects a traditional and yet modern feel to the whole surrounding. There are private rooms and booths available for diners.

Bamboo baskets, white porcelains and bottles of wines are neatly arranged to add to the whole décor.

The Dumplings

Renowned world famous Xiao Long Bao, translated to Little Dragon Dumpling needed no introduction. These are now available worldwide but finding a great Xiao Long Bao is no easy task. I have dined several times at Din Tai Fung previously and have found their Xiao Long Bao to be simply scrumptious. Of course, many have insisted that the original Din Tai Fung at Taiwan has the ultimate dumplings but then to me, one has to take into consideration the ingredients that are available in the country to produce the results.

Din Tai Fung takes their Xiao Long Bao almost too seriously. I guess they do have to considering the art of making these dumplings is such a delicate process. The dumpling masters are well trained and portrayed every inch true focus on wrapping each dumpling with such precision and speed that even my camera could not capture these fast enough. Yeah, we pop these babies into our mouth within seconds but I was told that tedious efforts calculated to a tee are put into these little dumplings!

I was informed that to achieve the perfect Din Tai Fung’s Xiao Long Bao, the flour wrap must be of a certain consistency in thickness. The meat encased within must have a balance of lean and fat meat with jewels of gelatinous soup and steamed to perfection to ensure a plump and juicy bite. The most distinctive recognition is the exquisite 18 folds minimum requirement to each dumping on its translucent skin to hold the golden broth within.

See a closer view of the meat mixture with its glistening golden bubbles of jelly broth?

Quality and consistency is the emphasis here at Din Tai Fung! Check out the golden yellow broth that runs out and swirl around the delicate dumpling. A sip of this lends a delicate savory broth of fragrant meat juices!

Here’s the right way to lift the dumpling from the basket to ensure that every bit of the delicious broth is not wasted before one can savor it.

To savor the dumplings, an essential condiment is the right balance of sauce where it consist of three parts vinegar to one part soy sauce and thin slivers of fresh ginger to accompany it.

First taste the golden broth and enjoy the original flavors of the dumpling, then only add the condiment to the next dumpling to enjoy the difference of the taste. Sigh… what a beautiful sight to behold…

Baby Xiao Long Bao is adorable! A miniature version of Xiao Long Bao, these little darlings is a mere bite! Despite it being so minute, it still has the signature 18 folds but is steamed upside down. This dish is available in all 3 outlets but only served from Mondays to Fridays from 2-6pm. On weekends and public holidays, it is served from 10am-1pm only.

Served with a side soup boiled for more than 6 hours, the way to savor this is with a spoonful of soup, shredded egg strips and spring onion. The whole bite tasted slightly different from the original as the soup flavor taste different and has an eggy edge to this. I love these and probably could wallop these by the dozens.

Talk about the modern twist! Truffles Xiao Long Bao featuring the luxurious and expensive truffles. A great treat made affordable from Din Tai Fung. Apparently, the restaurant uses a blend of black and white truffles for this recipe. It is recommended not to add any vinegar to this dumpling to savor the full effect of the truffles.

The scent of the dumplings was definitely enhanced with the truffles, lending a beautiful woody aroma to the scent. The broth was as delicious as the original and the bite certainly makes me feel pampered (or maybe it was the thoughts of savor truffles? J).

Spicy Vegetable Pork Wanton may not be for everyone but it is definitely a dish for me. Simply two reason as I love spicy food and garlic chives. Nicely boiled, the dumplings had soft tender skin sitting in the heady chili oil.

The burst of spiciness and the distinctive garlic chives was amazing for me. All I needed was to add a dash of vinegar to make this my perfect dumpling. Only order this if you are a fan of spicy and garlic chives, else you may not favor this dumpling. Mm mm good…

The Appetizers

Introducing its fairly new Red Wine Cherry Tomatoes served in parfait glass. Looks are deceiving… in this case; the innocent looking tomatoes look quite ordinary till I popped one into my mouth. All I can say is wow! The burst of the juicy slightly sweet tomato juice squirt out and refreshes my mouth with such pleasure. The red wine is a soft note in the background but the star of the show was definitely the fresh cherry tomatoes flavors. I highly recommend this appetizer for that refreshing sensation!!

See that all the baby cherry tomatoes are peeled? Definitely a tedious effort all made for our consumption pleasure. Salute to Din Tai Fung!

House Special Appetizer was a blend of slightly spicy, sour, sweet and savory flavors. It was a nice combination of textures with crunchy seaweed, chewy glass noodles and tofu. Not too bad…

All of us liked the Deep Fried Prawn Cake. What’s not too like with fresh chopped prawn paste wrapped crispy beancurd sheet? I like it as it is without the chili oil as I felt it overshadows the prawn flavors.

Pickled Cucumber was another simple appetizer but had a good spurt of flavors. Refreshing and crunchy Japanese cucumber with a slight hint of spiciness, it was a decent cold appetizer.

I swear anything flavored with salted egg (or bacon) taste good! Golden Pumpkin with Salted Egg was impeccable. Crispy strips of pumpkin coated with a creamy and salted luscious egg sauce was heavenly to bite into as it was soft and creamy inside. I also adored the fact that there are actually bits of chopped salted egg for texture. I am told that this dish relies on a good quality pumpkin else the restaurant would not make this dish if a certain quality pumpkin is not available.

The Rice

Fried rice is a great testament to a chef’s skill. This one passed with flying colors as the Mushroom Carrot Fried Rice was so sinfully eggy-li-cious! The ‘wok hei’ was highly detected and the flavors were spot on. I would be happy just ordering this dish here… (simple but satisfying soul food)

The Bun

Mini Sesame Buns are so dainty in size. Fluffy Baos encasing jet black sesame paste was average. The bun was fluffy and the filing was delicious, it just didn’t make a great impact on me.

I do have to credit the sesame paste though as it had a good aroma of the fragrant sesame past.

My two cents worth, Din Tai Fung certainly shows how devoted they are to the art of dumplings! I definitely sampled a few perfect dumplings in its own category and was also impressed with some of their appetizers like the Red Wine Cherry Tomatoes and Golden Pumpkin with Salted Egg. For the availability of Xiao Long Bao restaurants in Malaysia, I do have to say that this one of the best Xiao Long Bao I had here!  

I spied hand-pulled noodles or La Mian which I would definitely have to come back to savor such as Hot and Sour Soup La Mian and Braised Beef Soup La Mian.

I am still dreaming of the juicy Xiao Long Bao while writing this post… J

Din Tai Fong

Pavilion KL
Lot 6.01.05, Level 6
Tel: 603 2148 8292

The Gardens, Mid Valley City
LG207, Lower Ground Floor
Tel: 603 2283 2292

Empire Shopping Gallery
G15, Ground Floor
Tel: 603 5022 2522


  1. I love dumpling but must be careful when eating it, don't waste the broth inside :P

  2. Super fab pics! Love DTF dumplings...I so jealous of those arty shots! :s

  3. I love xiao long bao! and i have to admit that the folks at din tai fung are by far one of the more consistent fellas making good xiao long bao. yummeh!

    BTW...brilliant pics as usual:D

  4. Nikel: Yep.. Lots of it!!

    Ken: You bet! These were awesome..

    CY: Yeah.. now I know how to keep all that soup!

    Kaki Makan: Thks. I love the dumplings too cos I wanna go back soon... ;)

    Missyblurkit: Yeah.. these ppl are soooo serious when it comes to their dumplings! No wonder its good.