Most of us would have probably eaten at Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 before. But did you know that Din Tai Fung first started out selling only oil?
Din Tai Fung was founded by a man called Bingyi Yang. He opened a shop in Taiwan called Din Tai Fung and sold cooking oil. In the 1980s, when the business went down hill, he and his wife decided to use half of the shop to sell steamed dumplings. Their steamed dumplings were so good that they eventually stopped selling oil and ventured into a full fledge restaurant.
Today, Din Tai Fung is an award winning chain of restaurant with branches in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, the United States and Thailand. In Hong Kong, several of its branches are awarded one Michelin star.
Din Tai Fung was brought into Singapore after Breadtalk Group won the franchise rights. The group also won the franchise rights to operate Din Tai Fung in Thailand. Currently, there are 14 Din Tai Fung branches in Singapore.
I visited the Din Tai Fung branch at Raffles City Shopping Centre (which is just next to City Hall MRT station) on a Saturday evening. As usual, there was a crowd waiting outside the restaurant waiting for their numbers to be called (this is a norm during weekdays too).
For those who have never been to Din Tai Fung, here's a tip. There is no need to queue, instead you should approach the counter, inform the service staff how many person you have and get the order form (with the queue number written on it) from the staff. After that you can fill in the form, according to the dishes you would like to order. You should also ask what is the estimated waiting time. If the waiting time is long, you can consider walking around before coming back to check if your queue number has been called.
Although the restaurant had a considerably large sitting capacity, the place was full. We waited half an hour before our queue number was called. Simple, clean yet classy ambience. In addition, I like their open kitchen concept. Its great to see how the chef prepare our food!
In another corner of the restaurant, the place had a classy oriental feel.
Its great that they had Chilli, Vinegar, Soya Sauce, pepper and toothpicks on every table. It makes it so convenient for customers and at the same time, free up some bandwidth for the serving staff to concentrate on other things. Win-win situation. Crystal Jade use to provide these at every table too. However during a recent visit to their Plaza Singapura outlet, I noticed that they had removed them.
The ginger slices immersed in vinegar is a must have when having their Xiao Long Baos!
The Oriental Salad in Special Vinegar Dressing $3.50 was superb! It is my favourite appetiser at Din Tai Fung! Whenever I patronise Din Tai Fung, I am definitely order this! It's made of seaweed, beansprouts, strips of spicy bean curd and rice vermicelli. The ingredients are then mixed and tossed in their special vinegar dressing. It's very refreshing and addictive as each ingredient gives a different texture and flavour. A must order.
The Steam Pork Dumplings aka Xiao Long Baos (XLB) $6.80 (6 pcs) are one of Din Tai Fung's signature dishes. The XLB were filled with pork fillings and rich and tasty juice. Although the skin of the XLB was wafer thin, it was able to hold the juice. Each piece of XLB is wrapped with a minimum of 18 exquisite folds. Do handle the XLB with delicate care to avoid breaking the skin. In addition, be caution not to scald your mouth when the hot juice ooze out. The XLB are best eaten with ginger slices and vinegar.
The Fried Rice with Shrimps & Eggs $10.80 is another of my favourite dish! It was executed perfectly. You would be amazed to find out that the it consisted of just rice fried with shrimps, eggs and spring onions.
The shrimps were fresh with sweet succulent flesh. Each grain of rice was well coated with flavour from the egg, spring onions and shrimps. In addition, they did not stick to one another and was not lumpy. Kudos to the chef for his skills (heat control, timing and frying).
The partner ordered the Special Braised Beef Noodle Soup with Beef Brisket $11. The beef soup was incredibly rich and well flavoured. However, the beef meat was disappointing. Several big chunks of beef meat were given. Although the meat were well flavoured, they were too tough and chewy. To put it simply, it was hard biting through the meat. Moreover, certain pieces had a thick layer of fat on it.
What I thought was amazing was that Din Tai Fung has so many branches in Singapore. Yet, somehow they manage to maintain the consistency of the food across all their branches. No matter which branch you patronise, the food taste the same! Not an easy feat to achieve. Although the Special Braised Beef Noodle Soup with Beef Brisket was a let down, the rest of the dishes were perfect! I will certainly be back for more!
Do note that Din Tai Fung does not accept reservations. Please click here to view the locations of the other 13 Din Tai Fung outlets.
For full review and more photos, please visit http://foodiefc.blogspot.sg/2013/04/din-tai-fung-raffles-city-shopping.html