I love variety in food, which explains why I love dim sum (and tapas and izakaya-style dining). Din Tai Fung is a Michelin-star chain of dim sum restaurants with its roots in Taipei. Lucky Sydneysiders now have three outlets to choose from; the flagship at World Square Centre, 644 George Street (02-9264 6010), in the foodcourt of Westfield CBD, Pitt Street, and the
latest one at Star City, Pyrmont (02-9660 9084). There is a branch at Chatswood Westfield.
Din Tai Fung is deservedly renowned for its xiao long baos (soup dumplings). These are made to order in front of curious passers-by to an exacting standard, – the wrapper dough must weigh 4.8 – 5.2g, the dumpling must be exactly 6cm in diameter and must weigh 20.6 – 21.4g once filled. A dumpling house run by engineers!
You cannot be disappointed at Din Tai Fung, everything I’ve tried is delicious, the service is prompt and efficient, if sometimes somewhat brusque. And if it gets busy (especially during lunch), you may have to share tables.
The homemade noodles in the noodles with broad bean, mince and tofu in a spicy bean sauce are perfectly al-dente, making a perfect host for the deliciously rich spicy sauce. The wontons in spicy sauce were also fantastic. I thought it would be too spicy, but surprisingly, the more you eat, the initial hit of the chilli turns into a pleasant warmth.
My favourite appetizer is the cold silken tofu with pork floss and century egg ($7.50). There’s nothing better than this simple dish to awaken your taste buds.
When at Din Tai Fung, I always have an order of the pork xiao long baos (6 for $8.80) and crab xiao long baos (6 for $15.80). The paper-thin skin amazingly holds a morsel of pork (or crab and pork) mince sitting in a puddle of fragrant hot soup. The xiao long baos are eating with a dash of vinegary soy sauce and slivers of fresh ginger. The soup is hot, so you need to nibble the skin and suck out the soup, otherwise you could be punished with a burnt tongue. Been there, done that.
To finish off, we had an order of steamed taro dumpling ($5.80). I’m not a huge fan of the sticky taro, but my fellow dinner is, and she declared this her favourite dish on the menu.
World Square branch opening hours: