Was kindly invited by Shauna and Din Tai Fung to try out 10 of their signature dishes last Wednesday at 112 Katong Mall. :)
Din Tai Fung is a title sponsor for Jack Neo’s latest movie The Lion Men: Ultimate Showdown and the tasting session was held in conjunction with a meet-and-greet session with Wei Liang and Tosh Zhang.
Both of them demonstrated the art of making Xiao Long Bao and interacted with their fans. They were so entertaining and I had an enjoyable time laughing at their jokes and savouring some of the best dishes from DTF :)
Recently awarded the Most Influential Brand (Restaurant Category) voted by Generation Y (ages 18 to 20), Din Tai Fung needs no further introduction. It is one of my favourite restaurants in Singapore and a place that never fails to satisfy my Chinese food craving.
Originating from Taiwan, this Michelin star awarded restaurant is also ranked one of the world's Top 10 Best Restaurants by The New York Times! Not surprising though, as its famous signature xiao long baos (steamed pork dumplings) and fried rice has won the hearts of many, including mine :p
Grand entrance! Greeted warmly by their screaming fans :)
Roselle Drink (洛神花冰）| $4.30
I was served this drink immediately upon sitting down, much to my delight as the weather was scorching hot. High in nutritional value, the Roselle drink is a herbal drink rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins (natural pigment). It is packed with healing properties such as reducing hypertension, aiding digestion, refining complexion and weight loss. Sounds too good to be true!
It was tart on the first sip and tasted like grape-juice with a sweet aftertaste. I wasn't too fond of this drink at the start as i thought it was too sweet and concentrated, but it slowly became an acquired taste. Definitely a great accompaniment to the meal.
The service of the staff was impeccable and they were so courteous and friendly. I was told that Din Tai Fung hires ex-air stewardess/stewards or those who have experience in the service sector and these people will be wearing blazers. So now you know who to pick for quality service ;) From this, one can tell how much emphasis Din Tai Fung place on service and I am pleasantly surprised. Nothing ruins a meal more than bad service and I'm glad DTF is doing such a great job at ensuring top-knotch service to its customers :)
Oriental Salad in Special Vinegar Dressing (小菜) | $4.00
Starting off our sumptuous high-tea feast with DTF's signature appetizers!
The first dish was this simple and refreshing starter comprising a mix of julienned seaweed, bean sprouts, chilli, bean curd strips and rice vermicelli tossed in an appetizing light tangy dressing. I have heard raves from many about this, saying it's a must-order item but I have never tried it despite my multiple visits to DTF.
I was taken aback by its myriad of flavours despite its humble outlook. The variety of ingredients were well-marinated and provided great balance in flavours and textures. Definitely a winning appetizer!
Red Dates with Glutinous Rice (红枣圆)| $4.80
These glossy and huge red dates are generously filled with steamed glutinous rice fillings. Honestly speaking, I couldn't taste any rice at all and it felt like eating a harder but mushy red date by itself.
While i am not a big fan of this appetizer, it is a relatively healthy and light starter. Try it if you love red dates!
Fragrant Pork with Crushed Garlic (蒜泥白肉) | $7.30
Another highly raved appetizer was this cold dish consisting of crunchy cucumbers encased in thin layers of succulent poached pork and steeped in a fragrant garlic sauce with sesame and green onions.
I really liked this! It looked unsophisticated but the mixture of flavours was intriguing. The pork was lightly marinated, the cold cucumbers were refreshing and dipping these with the flavorsome sauce was delightful!
Steamed Pork Dumplings (小笼包) | 10 pcs $9.80 / 6pcs $7.30
A signature dish of minced premium pork enveloped in a delicate dumpling skin.
What's a visit to Din Tai Fung without ordering their famous xiao long baos? These steamed pork dumplings are filled with minced premium pork and rich tasty broth enveloped in a thin, delicate dumpling skin.
Each Xiao Long Bao is skillfully handmade with precision and pleated with a minimum of 18 exquisite folds before steaming, after undergoing 6 precise preparatory steps.
photo credit here
Pick up each xiao long bao with care to avoid breaking the skin!
I always dip my XLB in vinegar before placing it in the spoon, poke a small hole to release the steaming broth then add a few slices of ginger before shoving this amazing concoction into my mouth and enjoying the explosion of flavours ~~Heavenly. ☺
The recommended way is to dip it in 1 part soy sauce to 3 parts vinegar though! Shall try it next time :)
This is a definite must-order.
Hot & Sour Soup (酸辣汤) | $6.00 (Small) / $8.00 (Regular)
I was apprehensive before drinking this as I'm not a fan of spicy food. However to my surprise, this soup wasn't spicy nor sour at all which is rather ironic if you ask me. The Hot & Sour Soup contains mushrooms, bean curd strips, bamboo shoots and black fungus which warms the belly with its comforting flavours.
I thought it tasted great, especially with some vinegar added. I think my dad will love this ^^
Stir-fried Dou Miao with Garlic (蒜炒豆苗) | $12.00
One of my favourite dishes that day! Not everyone is a fan of dou miao due to its fibrous nature, but this deceptively modest dish is made with only premium young, tender shoots. Every batch of specially selected vegetables is almost identical in length (3-4cm) and quality, and is trimmed with precision before being tossed in the wok with just a teaspoon of sunflower oil, bringing out the natural sweetness of the vegetables.
Crispy Golden Prawn Pancake (酥脆腐皮虾饼)| $9.30
Consisting of fresh prawns wrapped in a delicate layer of bean curd skin and deep-fried to perfection, the Crispy Golden Prawn Pancake tasted like a giant and soft keropok to me :P
This was rather average to me, I couldn't taste the sweetness of the prawns and it was slightly on the greasy side.
Fried Rice with Shredded Pork & Eggs (肉丝蛋饭) | $9.80
My top 2 must-order items in DTF would be their xiao long baos and THIS.
The fried rice comes with shrimp or fried pork chop and my favorite is definitely the latter.
Every grain of the premium Taiwan pearl rice is coated with egg and stir-fried with minimal seasoning so that the natural fragrance of the eggs and spring onions shine through. With just simple ingredients, cooking a plate of fried rice may seem simple but it takes skill to execute it well.
Shauna told us that only 3 plates of rice is fried at a time to ensure quality and also to make sure the grains are individually separated with the oil evenly distributed without being too greasy.
Steamed Red Bean Dumplings with Chocolate Lava (巧克力豆沙小笼包) | $10.00 (10pcs) / $7.30 (6 pcs)
We ended our splendid evening with a sweet finish - steamed dumplings wrapped with premium Taiwan red bean paste filling enclosing a flowy luscious chocolate centre.
Being a huge red bean and chocolate lover, this dish is a dream come true for me. Although not spectacular, it was a delightful dessert to have with the chocolate lending its sweetness to the mildly-sweetened red bean paste :) The skin was chewy but would appreciate if it was thinner!
Goodie bag includes a tote bag and pineapple cakes imported from Taiwan!
The pineapple cakes were amazing! Thin pastry with an unadulterated buttery flavour enclosing moist, sumptuous pineapple jam filling was satisfying and addictive.
The boy: "So nice! It's not sour but also not sweet."
Me: "Then what???"
Him: "Uhm.. it tastes quite balanced?"
HAHAHA OKAY CAN.
On a side note, Din Tai Fung’s annual Chilli Crab Xiao Long Bao promotion is back! Each chilli crab xiao long bao is 40% larger than Din Tai Fung’s signature Steamed Pork Dumplings. You can expect the same juicy pork filling, but with shredded succulent chilli crabmeat added on top of it. Grab it while it lasts :)
Being a local household brand since 2003, Din Tai Fung assures good Chinese food made with quality ingredients are served every time, at every branch. This consistency is definitely something remarkable!
They currently have 19 branches island-wide, details here :)
Thank you so much for having me, DTF! <3