Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung

I couldn’t wait for my trip to Sydney to try out Din Tai Fung the world famous Taiwanese dumpling chain with shops in China, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, the USA and Australia. Located on the second floor of World Square shopping centre, it is located in a very unassuming corner. The location didn’t seem to be a problem to anyone judging by the long queue outside the shop. Two girls with headsets took down our names and gave us queue tickets. The dumpling house itself didn’t look like a typical Chinese restaurant. It was tastefully done with modern wooden tables and chairs. The large paper lamps from the ceiling also added a nice feel to the place.

 

Dumpling Making

Dumpling Making

The dumpling shop itself looked impressive. There was a whole team of clinically outfitted dumpling ‘techinicians’ making the dumplings and examining each piece closely. There was even a QA guy making sure all the dumplings coming out looked perfect.

Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao

The drunken chicken was out of stock which gave us a reason to order more dumplings.

The Xiao long bao pork dumpling ( Aud$8.80 ) were served first. The dumplings were sitting temptingly in the bamboo steamers. I could see how the soup inside made the dumplings wobbly through the translucent skin. The skin didn’t break when I transferred the xiao long bao from the steamer to my spoon. I didn’t put vinegar or chili on my first dumpling to gauge the full flavor. I bit on a small section of the dumpling skin to get access to the soup inside and gingerly sipped on the soup. The soup was sweet and plentiful for such a small dumpling. I popped in the rest of the dumpling into my mouth and savoured every bit. The dumplings are the best I’ve had so far. It’s even better than the famous Shanghai Yu Yuan garden xiao long bao.

Xiao Long Bao steamed crab meat and roe with pork dumpling

Xiao Long Bao steamed crab meat and roe with pork dumpling

The Xiao Long Bao steamed crab meat and roe with pork dumpling $13.80 had the very subtle flavour fo crab roe mixed with the soup. I found it quite expensive and had better crab roe xiao long bao’s flavour wise. But Din Tai Fung’s dumpling skin is still clearly a winner. The skin is just so delicate and thin enough.

Shrimp and Pork Shao Mai

Shrimp and Pork Shao Mai

The Shrimp and Pork Shao Mai AUD$8.80 is very interesting as it also had soup inside. Interesting shao mai’s but I would still go for the classic xiao long bao’s.

Zha Jian Mian ( Spicy Pork Mince Noodle )

Zha Jian Mian ( Spicy Pork Mince Noodle )

Zha Jiang Mian (Spicy Pork Mince Noodle ) is a classic Taiwanese dish and was done well. It was a good complement for the multitude of dumplings we were having.

Rating : Love It

Food   : Xiao Long Bao

Summary : Din Tai Fung is extremely addicting. I’ve been there twice in one week. You can’t help but have thoughts of perfect little dumplings in sweet broth on your head while going through the day. Be very careful in visiting the place as it will spoil you and set your standards high on how dumplings should taste like elsewhere.

Din Tai Fung

Shop 11. 04 Level 1
World Square Shopping Centre
644 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
Tel :   +61 (02) 9264 6010         
Open 7 days
11:00am-2.30pm
17:00pm-22:00pm (last order 9.15pm)

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Read a lot about Dong Bei from various blogs talking about Ivan Dy’s Binondo Tour.

Piqued my interest on how it compared to Lan Zhou which is our favorite noodle shop in Binondo.

Dong Bei

This is a 4-table place. What’s interesting is that dumplings are actually made in one of the tables in the dining area by the staff. Perched on their seats, they stuff pork & chive mixtures into tiny wrappers. Makes the meal an interactive experience.

Dong Bei Dumplings

Dumplings – chives, celery, cabbage, pork Php 80. Specialty of the house. The dumpling wrapper is extremely thin and a bit watery. The staff said that these dumplings are actually placed in boiling water and not steamed as I initially thought. I prefer Lan Zhou’s dumpling though since I like dumplings chewier.

Beef Noodles

Beef soup Php 100 – Pretty difficult to compare the noodles with Lan Zhou but we ended up concluding we liked Lan Zhou’s noodles better. Firmer and chewier. Soup broth was different for both places. Dong Bei broth tasted made of Chinese herbs while Lan Zhou broth tasted of beef or pork bones. Depends what type of soup broth person you are.

Fried Chicken with Sinjian Flavor

Fried chicken with sinjian flavor Php 180 – I liked the way they cooked the chicken. It was crisp and there was mix of subtle flavors.

Summary : Pretty interesting to compare Dong Bei with Lan Zhou. They are both good and deciding on which dumplings or noodle soup is better is a tough choice. On my part, I prefer Lan Zhou. Which one do you prefer?

Rating :  Like It
Food  :  Dumplings

Dong Bei Dumplings
Oriente corner Yuchengco Street
Binondo, Manila

Lan Zhou La Mien 

This noodle house has been shared with us by Chinatown locals. The Binondo area has a lot of small Chinese restaurants right now opened by newly arrived mainland China immigrants. The food they serve is refreshingly authentic to the region they come from with unbelievably cheap prices. 

 Rolling dough

Lan Zhou serves dao shao mian or knife cut noodles. The name daoxiao mian, or knife-shaved noodles, refers to the way the noodles are prepared. The cook holds a large ball of dough in his left hand and, with a knife, deftly and quickly slices shavings of dough into a large pot of boiling water.

 Hand pulled dough

You can watch the cook through the glass window dividing the kitchen from the dining area. The Chinese lady pulls and tosses the lump of dough transforming it into pasta.

 Lan Zhou noodle soup

La Mien noodles – The specialty of the house Php 70. The noodles are fantastic – chewy and doughy. Best d@#n chinese noodles I’ve had in Manila. The broth is flavorful and made from real beef bones.

Bowls of chopped spring onion and coriander, chili garlic sauce and bottles of soy sauce, and black vinegar are on every table to place in your bowl of noodle soup.

 Dumplings

Dumplings Steamed – Not-too-thick wrappers enclosing a filling of pork and Chinese chives. Served with shredded ginger in black vinegar. 

Summary : Everyone should have a try of Lan Zhou. The noodles are so fresh, springy and chewy. Beats any other bowl of Chinese noodle soup out there.

Rating   : Love It
Food     : A bowl of noodle soup

Lan Zhou La Mien
819 Benavidez Street
Binondo, Manila
Tel : 2445365

Mom, sis and I were in Shanghai for four days and when you’re in Shanghai, you should try Shanghai’s culinary delicacy which is hairy crab. Wang Bao He claims to be Shanghai’s oldest restaurant dating back to 1744. It also claims to be the best place to feast on Shanghai’s famous hair crab. Crab dominates the menu, of course, from dumplings and soup to the whole hairy monster, which is typically steamed and eaten with a dipping sauce of ginger, soy sauce, and black vinegar. Be prepared though as the bill can easily skyrocket with the 50 or so crab dishes that can be ordered.

Stewed Crab Meat with Clam in thick soup

Stewed crab meat with clam in thick soup HKD70 – Clam-based broth with crab meat.

Sauteed Crab Meat

Sauteed Crab Meat HKD300 – Good but expensive. A lot of crab fat and meat sauteed together. The crab fat giving the dish it’s tasty flavor. Go easy on the serving as it’s a high cholesterol dish. I got lightheaded after having this.

Sauteed Scallop with Crab Meat

Sauteed scallop with crab meat HKD168 – Typical scallops with crab meat. Too cornstarchy for me.

Sauteed seasonal vegetables

Sauteed seasonal vegetable HKD22 – People say that when in China, you should always order the veggie dishes as they are really good in preparing them. I definitely agree. This is the best dish we ordered. The vegetables were simply sauteed but the taste and freshness of the green leafies shines through. The vegetable hearts were small and it’s my first time to try it.

Steamed dumpling with crab meat and minced pork

Steamed dumpling with crab meat and minced pork HKD18 – I had much better. The wrapper was tough and I couldn’t even taste the crab meat inside.

Shanghai Hairy Crab

Shanghai Hairy Crab HKD378 – I felt we got shortchanged on the crabs. The meat wasn’t sweet at all! My mom said that the smaller hairy crabs are much sweeter.

Summary : Wang Bao He is a place to go to just to try Shanghai Hairy crab. The list of crab dishes is impressive. The cooking is typical big Chinese restaurant style. You can’t go wrong bringing visitors here. I personally think I can eat in this type of restaurants in Manila.

Rating : Chance Visitor
Food : Shanghai Hairy Crab

Wang Bao He
603 Fuzhou Lu, Shanghai
Tel : 011-8621-6322-3673.