Friday, 4 January 2013

The Art of Dumplings

Dumpling man? Din Tai Fung's mascot
This evening my friend YTSL and I had an early dinner tonight at the Causeway Bay branch of Din Tai Fung.

The team of workers in the kitchen to make the dumplings
I worried about getting a table, but YTSL was confident we would and she was right.

She arrived around 6.15pm and managed to get a small table for two by the window of the cavernous restaurant. It feels like one needs to navigate a maze in order to get to your seat.

In any event I arrived a few minutes later and the wait staff had warned my dining companion that we had to finish our dinner by 7.45pm. Popular place.

So we quickly perused the menu and ordered five dishes on an order sheet on the table to ensure freshness.

Pork and prawn wontons in a spicy sauce
For starters the spicy cucumber topped with chillis and fresh garlic were hot enough to cause some tongues to wag. The thick cucumber slices were crunchy and yet had a powerful kick.

And to carry on a hot theme, the shrimp and pork wontons in spicy sauce came soon afterwards, thankfully not as spicy in a soy sauce.

Then the signature dish -- the special six piece xiaolongbao arrived in the steamer basket and I was very impressed by the very thin skin. However, the filling was rather dense and lacked some flavour, making the taste bland and one dimensional.

A plate of stir-fried choi sum was welcomed at the table, the fibrous ends carefully pruned from the elegant-looking stalks. Not too much oil was used, but the dish could have used some cloves of garlic to add some flavour.

Xiaolongbao with extremely thin skins that were impressive
Our final dish was the highly-prized Shanghai hairy crab roe cooked with cubes of silken tofu. Again this dish only had a hint of the typically pungent flavour from the roe, though we were impressed by the smooth texture of the tofu. Perhaps this roe was previously frozen? Nevertheless, we enjoyed the dish because we didn't have to do all the manual labour of having to extract the meat and roe from the tiny crab ourselves.

We finished the meal before 7.45pm and could have even had dessert if we wanted. But we decided to continue our evening elsewhere.

In the end the bill came to HK$398 for two including a pot of tea.

When we emerged from the restaurant, there were many hungry diners trying to patiently wait for a table.

Overall service was prompt and efficient, though probably too much so for the table next to us.

Shanghai hairy crab roe cooked with tofu for a smooth treat
The couple had just barely settled down at the table to peruse the menu when an order of xiaolongbao arrived at the table.

Or perhaps the restaurant is reading its customers' minds?

Din Tai Fung
Shop G03-G11, G/F, 68 Yee Wo Street
Causeway Bay
3160 8998


  1. Hi there --

    Re the xiao lung bao: I liked that there was plenty of soup inside of them. :)

  2. I'm still pretty impressed by the thin skins! It's a Din Tai Fung signature!