On Tuesday night I went to dinner with the bf as he is heading off to America for a few weeks. We decided on Din Tai Fung for a few reasons 1. we have been saying to come for a long time and I had talked it up considerably after going a few years ago 2. the smaller version of the restaurant has opened in the new Westfield Sydney which has been great but we needed the full menu experience 3. I am completely obsessed with dumplings atm 4. I am even more obsessed with noodle soups that have dumplings in them.
For a Tuesday night the place was extremely busy and there was a fair few people outside waiting for a table. We put our name on the list and got given a copy of them menu to fill out and a buzzer to notify us when our table was ready. While we wait we grab a seat at the window outside and watch the chefs making the dumpling wrappers and filling them. The process seems extremely fiddly but the dumplings look oh so pretty, like little flowers. We waited for about 20mins for our table, by then we had chosen what we wanted and were seated at one of the large banquette like tables with the spinning lazy susan in the middle. It was a bit awkward sitting at a table with four other groups of people, especially when I kept pulling my camera out to get a shot. I had an urge to stand up and get better angled shots but I think I might have distracted all of the others a little too much.
The dumplings at Din Tai Fung are made to precise measurements which gives them their signature difference. We order 6 pieces of the steamed pork dumplings xiao long bao , which were spot on. The outside pastry wrapper is so thin and beautifully presented, with the pork inside being really tasty with a nice surprise of a slightly salty broth
Really love how pretty and perfect each of the dumplings are, and from making my own dumplings before I know how fiddly it is to get that shape.
We also ordered 6 pieces of the vegetable & pork jiao zi. Having the vegetables in the mixture makes the overall dumpling a bit drier in taste with a bit more crunch to each bite. I guess this type don’t have a broth in them either.
We had to order a dish with noodles as I remember them being really good and I have a feeling they also hand make them there, but I could be wrong. We went for a shrimp and pork wonton noodle soup. I added a few spoons of the chilli oil and bam..I was in heaven. On a cold day you cant go past one of these soups to warm you up. The wontons inside are also folded into a perfect round shape with the shrimp and pork flavour going well with each other, and providing a meatier taste.
Being all dumplinged out we started on the Taiwanese style black pepper steak which instantly became a favourite in my books. They surely were not shy with the pepper and it really did burn your whole mouth after a few bites. The steak was extremely tender and infused with the pepper flavour. The dish also came with an assortment of vegetables that had also been stir fried in the pepper marinade.
Lastly from the savoury menu we ordered the vegetarian rice fried with egg. The rice was light and not drowned in oil. You could choose other rice options with shrimps or meat but we decided to go with the plain choice so that it wouldn’t overtake the flavour of the steak and make the dish too heavy.
Nothing beats the end of a meal with some black sesame ice cream. I originally thought this was a mainly Japanese style dessert but I believe I could be wrong. The colour of the ice cream is not the most appealing, but what it lacks in looks it surely makes up in its sweet and nutty flavour. The ice cream was served with crushed black sesame; this gave it a crunchier texture which I prefer.
I also ordered a mini steamed black sesame bun to try…
The ball is filled with black sesame paste with the outside being like a doughy bread mixture, very similar to the outside of a steamed pork bun (I’m guessing they are the same).
The service is very attentive; with staff covering your jacket on the back of your seat to make sure nothing is spilled onto it. The food came out pretty fast but in no set order so we received the rice and meat dish before the dumplings. It was a bit weird sharing a table with all these other people, but we got over that factor pretty quickly, and since it was just the two of us it was still easy to have a conversation. All up we paid just under $80 for the meal and were extremely full afterwards and happy that we got to try a variety of items from the menu. I will definitely be back again, and just from seeing how packed the place was on a Tuesday night you can tell that it is definitely one of the better Asian style restaurants in the city.
Din Tai Fung
World Square Shopping Centre- Level 1, Shop 11.04 , 644 Geogre St, Sydney, NSW 2000.
Ph: 9264 6010