Din Tai Fung was founded in 1958 by Yang Bingy – it’s got a reputation for being the reigning authority for Xiao long bao, those celebrated steamed dumplings filled with seasoned pork & ripping hot soup – typically served with a condiment of ginger vinegar. There are a variety of techniques to eat them, such as piercing a hole on the top of the XLB with your chopstick and sucking the hot soup out, then taking the rest as a one biter. I prefer resting the little dumpling in the cool puddle of ginger vinegar, until it’s the right temperature to to inhale. So whilst travelling through HK, we chose to take our Din Tai Fung virginities at their first branch located in the Silvercord retail complex, which was awarded a Michelin Star in 2009.
The system is a simple process, if you haven’t booked then get yourself a ticket when you arrive, then queue. It was still heaving when we got there, a smidgen past 9pm. We got in within 10 minutes thankfully.
The string beans with minced pork $48 came first and the quality of the ingredients really shone through. The dish had right the balance of heat, umami and natural sweetness. A total must have and are possibly the best beans I’ve ever had.
Xiao long bao $60 is what we came here for and this is the classic pork one. Albeit, fresh and delicious, it was perhaps overshadowed by the initial dishes as the flavour profile was on the subtler side.
Onto desserts now and the dumpling theme prevails – it can only be a good thing when they’re this good. This time, and still with that perfect chewy dumpling wrapper, it’s filled with sweet red bean paste. The nutty sweetness is balanced and addictive.
Last but by no means least we ordered some more steamed dumplings, this time with sweet taro paste. ($45). Again, it came with that faultless thin wrapper and a delicately earthy sweet filling. We couldn’t have ended the meal in better fashion.
When did I go? Nov 2016.
The damage: Expect to pay $300 per head (£25) per head with drinks.
The good: Not only do you get relentlessly good value for money, but cooking that deserves cred. The dumplings are crafted brilliantly, with stunning translucent skins and mouth-watering fillings. This place is dumpling royalty that’s for sure.
The bad: Not a lot!
Would I go again? Yes
Address: Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui, Canton Rd, 30號306