Din Tai Fung first started as an oil shop selling tinned oil in the 60s but as the business for tinned oil went down in 1972, the founder of Din Tai Fung Mr Yang Bingyi decided to convert half of his store to selling steamed dumplings. The dumplings were so tasty that business took off and Din Tai Fung became a full fledge restaurant.
Din Tai Fung was so popular that everyone raved about their dumplings in their Taipei store and in 2003, Din Tai Fung finally opened their first store in Paragon. Since then, you can find Din Tai Fung in most popular shopping malls with queues during meal times. The décor in all Din Tai Fung restaurants is standardised; brightly lit spaces with basic dining tables and chairs to house as many hungry diners as possible.
You can order your dishes via this paper order chit which is placed at your table after the server leads you to the table. The server will confirm your orders on the chit before keying in the final orders. For customers who are inclined to picture menus, they do have the menus with pictures as well.
One of the most popular appetiser includes this Oriental salad with vinegar dressing. The salad includes shredded bean curd, vegetables, bean sprouts, vermicelli and chilli and heavily dressed in vinegar sauce. This dish is extremely good and light and is very appetising to work up an appetite.
The other appetiser which is fabulous is this steamed cucumber wrapped with pork belly and dressed with chilli vinegar sauce. The crunchy cucumber balances the oil from the pork belly and the garlic chilli sauce has a great tangy flavour with the vinegar added.
The spicy sweet and sour soup is thick and starchy with the right consistency and full of ingredients. Most spicy sour soup is either too sour or too spicy but the one at Din Tai Fung has the right balance of sour and spicy and savoury taste. The soup is full of ingredients like soft bean curd, black fungus, shrimp and green onions.
The king of the meal is the steamed pork dumplings which has delicate skin and juicy meat fillings. Different from the Cantonese dumplings, these come with a small amount of soup wrapped within the dumpling itself. It is important to eat the dumpling in the right way or you could get scalded by the hot soup in the dumpling or even miss drinking the broth which might ‘leak’ out of the dumpling. My personal way is to bite a small hole and suck up the broth before dipping the dumpling in vinegar ginger and enjoying the dumpling in one mouthful. The dumplings here have thin skin and juicy fillings.
The zha jiang mian noodles is minced pork sauce noodles and all of the noodles are hand made daily so they have a nice spring. The minced meat sauce is also savoury and complements the plains noodles very well.
Another popular item on the menu is the double boiled soup which is a healthier choice amongst the soup available. The soup is clear and light with the natural sweetness coming from the pork ribs in the soup.
One of the most popular mains being ordered in Din Tai Fung is the fried rice with pork chop. Din Tai Fung has one of the best fried rice amongst Chinese restaurants and there is very good wok hei when frying the rice. Each rice is fried continuously until each pearl of rice is coated with the sauce and egg and the fried pork chop is savoury, juicy and tender and is the perfect pair with the rice.
The same dumpling skin is also used for dessert dumplings which has fillings like sweet red bean and yam paste. I particularly love the yam paste ones which are smooth and sweet and bursting with fillings.
Din Tai Fung is a restaurant where many people love to visit to satisfy their soup dumpling cravings, this is true for me too since they are one of the best when it comes to soup dumpling to get awarded a Michelin Star for their Hong Kong outlet.
Address: 8A Marina Boulevard B2, 05, 018984
Operating hours: 11am to 9.30 pm