Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dumplings!

I was going to have lunch with a new member of my team today but she was sick, so I called Mr Curious to arrange an impromptu date.

Our destination was Din Tai Fung ("DTF") at World Square.  I went there for the first time with another work colleague a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it.

We didn't waste any time ordering and the steamers were promptly delivered.

Here's the famous Steamed Pork Dumplings (小籠包, Xiǎo lóng bāo, or "Little Steamer Dumplings" in Chinese).

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If you haven't had them before, they are dumplings with mince pork meat and soup filling.  According to Wikipedia, "[t]he characteristic soup inside is created by wrapping solid meat gelatin inside the skin alongside the meat filling. Heat from steaming then melts the gelatin into soup."

The dumplings are usually served with ginger slivers and Chinese vinegar.  There is a little instruction card teaching first timers how to eat the dumplings.  They recommend a 1-3 soy sauce to vinegar mix for the dipping sauce.  I have never used soy sauce for these dumplings and I didn't today.

The DTF version is very delicate.  The dumpling skin is thin and the meat is very finely minced.  The soup is mild and with subtle flavours.  I like them both with and without the vinegar.  The vinegar gives it a bit more oomph.

It is interesting to compare them to the dumplings from New Shanghai in Chatswood.  I took a photo when I was there a few weeks ago.

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Sorry for the bad photo - I took it with my 2MP phone camera.

The skin of the New Shanghai dumplings are thicker (see the tips) and the meat are more coarsely minced.  The favour is more "concentrated" for want of a better description.

I think the New Shanghai dumplings taste "home made", whereas the DTF dumplings are more refined, more "gourmet".  I personally prefer the DTF version a bit better but I am happy to eat either.

Now onto other dumplings.

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These are Pork and Vegetable Dumplings.  When I took the first bite I thought they gave us the wrong dumplings, because I couldn't taste the pork!  Another bite revealed small pieces of minced pork.  I wasn't complaining though as I had the Vegetarian Dumplings last time and I loved it.  Again all the ingredients were finely minced and it tasted like ... spring.  Does it make any sense?

Next up was noodles with Prawn and Pork Dumplings in Spicy Soup (the Chinese name translates to "Red Oil Fried Hand".  Why "hand"?)

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Yes, the soup tastes as spicy as it looks.  The noodles are different from typical Chinese egg noodles, with a much smoother texture.  They are more akin to ramen in my opinion.  The soup is so strong I couldn't taste the fillings though.

With our tongues burning we wanted another dish to cool us down, so we ordered the prawn and pork dumplings again, the steamed variety this time around.

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The dumplings is in the same vein as the others but the small pieces of prawn gives them more bite.  And I love prawns so these get a bit tick from me.

Before my first visit a few weeks ago, I had a picture of a big hall similar to a yum cha place in my mind.  Instead, the decor is very chic.

I really like the feature wall with different sized bamboo steamers.

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I had a coat, an umbrella and a handbag and I was worried that I had nowhere to put them.  No need to worry though, as they provide a fold up bag to hold my belongings.  They also have coat covers to put over chairs.  What handy ideas!

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The bill came to $40 for 2 people which is a bit more than what I usually spend for a work lunch but it was totally worth it.  I want to come back to try some of the other dishes.  The drunken chicken looks promising!

Din Tai Fung
World Square Shopping Centre
Level 1, Shop 11.04, 644 George St
Sydney
(02) 9264 6010

33 comments:

  1. Yummo! Last time we went to DTF we way over-ordered because there was so much we liked :)

    Btw, do you think there is a difference between the 2 New Shanghai's? Been to the Chase one a little while ago but will be trying Lemon Grove in a couple of weeks.

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