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Friday, 4 July 2014

Din Tai Fung @ Pavilion

Din Tai Fung @ Pavilion has been one of my favourite restaurants to have Xiao Long Bao (steamed Shanghainese dumplings) and this place is infamous for these little morsels of goodness.
 
This popular, award-winning restaurant of Taiwanese origin arguably serves one of the best Xiao Long Bao in town.  You can see the delicate process of making XLB from its trademark open kitchen.

If you happen to sit at the inner part of the restaurant, you'll find these black and white (almost stencil-like) drawings adorned on the walls which looks pretty neat.

Here are some of the condiments/sauces to accompany your food...soya sauce, black vinegar and their inhouse chili oil (which is quite fiery) but not particularly "hebat" (fantastic).

You can't come to Din Tai Fung and not order their world famous Xiao Long Bao (XLB) @ RM10.90 (for 6 pcs) or RM12.90 (for 8 pcs).  Each XLB comes consistently presented in 18 exquisite folds and is freshly made to order.  The dumpling skin is of the right thickness (or thinness in this case) and the pork and broth are steamed to perfection. 

The XLB is served with julienned strips of fresh ginger to which you can add a dash of black vinegar and soya sauce (if you like) but I omit the soya sauce.

Now, we're ready to eat.  I like to poke a hole in the dumpling and let the broth flow out onto the spoon and sip the broth first.  The reason for this is because the broth is quite hot (and I don't want to accidentally burn my tongue) plus I like to sip the clear, juicy broth on its own to savour the clean flavours.

Next, I'll add some shredded fresh ginger (that has already been steeped in a little vinegar) and this makes it into a perfect bite.  I don't know about you but this is how I like to eat my XLB.  [#Note: However, according to some blog, this is the wrong way to enjoy the dumpling.  It seems we are supposed to 1) poke a hole, 2) let the broth flow out onto the spoon, 3) add the ginger, vinegar and soya sauce (and the ratio is supposedly 3 parts vinegar to one part soya sauce) and 4) eat it in one bite.....but, hey, life shouldn't have to be that complicated...over a XLB!]  

As far as I'm concerned, there's no right or wrong way to eat this dumpling.  What the heck...eat it in whatever way you like....and that's the right way!  [#Tip: But I do have one recommendation though and that is, if you intend to eat more than one basket, don't order them all at one go coz once they are cold, they're not as good.]  

I also ordered the Truffle Xiao Long Bao @ RM15.50 (for 2 pcs) just for the added luxury to see what it tastes like.  In the description of the dish, they say they use a blend of black and white truffle to complement the natural flavours of the pork.

The addition of this thin slice of truffle gave the XLB an earthy and intense mushroom flavour.  It tasted really good and was even better than the normal XLB.  But, at almost RM8 a bite, it's one costly bite...but a pleasurable one!  

This is a brighter snapshot of the Truffle XLB so that you can see the piece of truffle clearly.  [#Tip: For best results, I would suggest that you eat this one as it is to get the full aroma of the truffle.  I tried one with the usual ginger and vinegar but the combo didn't quite work.]

If you're looking for a stand-alone dish, then the Pork Chop Fried Rice @ RM17 will be a good choice.  This is just a plate of rice fried simply with egg and scallions...simple but clean flavours and a dish that kids will certainly enjoy!

The fried rice comes with its signature pork chop (served separately).  The pork chop was lightly seasoned and had a nice crisp on the outside.  I like this pork chop (which is lesser spiced) as opposed to the famous Macau pork chops (which I find too heavily flavoured with 5-spice powder).

Another stand-alone dish (for beef lovers) is the Braised Beef La Mian @ RM18.  The beef was braised till very tender and the broth was full of beefy flavours with a very slight hint of spiciness which added another dimension to the taste of the soup.  The only thing that didn't appeal to me was the beef tendons as I don't like to eat gelatinous and 'wobbly' textured stuff (although some I'm sure would swear that it's good stuff).

Our next dish, the House Special Steamed Chicken Soup @ RM13.80 was a soothing chicken soup for the soul.  The soup, that has been double-boiled for hours (with a slice of ginger and the white part of a stalk of spring onion), was clear with an intense chicken flavour. The chicken pieces were so tender and just falling off the bones.  I love this soup to bits!  It's a bowl of love...it's warm, it's comforting, it's delicious.  [#Tip: For a heartier meal, you can opt for the Steamed Chicken Soup with La Mian.]

I also ordered the Shanghai Style Deep Fried Fish @ RM20 which comprised of slices of fried fish in a sticky, sweetish sauce.  This dish should appeal to kids (coz it's fried and it's sweet) although I found it just so-so.

This is the House Special Tofu @ RM18 which is made inhouse and though it's a bit pricey for just 4 pcs of tofu, it was worth it.  The tofu was superbly silky smooth on the inside with a delicate fried texture on the outside (and what looked like seaweed flakes on top).  It comes with some braised Chinese mushrooms and vegetables in an oyster-based sauce that has an intense mushroom flavour.  It was super tasty and ideal to be eaten with white rice (and should be a hit with kids too).

For our final dish, I ordered a vegetable to complete our meal and settled for the Fried Baby Green Beans with Minced Pork @ RM18.  This dish is rather similar to Esquire Kitchen's Fried French Beans except the former uses normal green beans while Din Tai Fung uses baby green beans which are more crunchy to the bite.  However, it lacked the fragrance of the charred green beans and the saltiness of the "char choy" (preserved Sichuan vegetable) in the minced pork like the one from Esquire Kitchen (which I preferred more).
 
My Personal Opinion
 
Their infamous and 'must-order' Xiao Long Bao is definitely one of the better ones among its competitors.

What I really liked:  Xiao Long Bao (especially the Truffle Xiao Long Bao), Steamed Chicken Soup, Fried Pork Chop and the House Special Tofu.

What I didn't like:  Haven't come across a dish that I didn't like so far though some dishes could be better.  Only grouse I've got is that they don't 'service' you when it comes to settlement of bills (you have to queue up at the cashier counter).

Din Tai Fung Restaurant 
6.01.05 Level 6 Pavilion KL
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2148 8292

3 comments:

  1. Ah, this is one of my favourite restsurants. I usually go to the one in the Gardens/Midvalley mall. I love the beef tendons in the la mian. Yums!

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    Replies
    1. So I see you like gelatinous and wobbly stuff (but not wobbly, fatty char siew)...if you were next to me, I would have given you my beef tendons, hehe!

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    2. It depends on what it is. Tendons ok but not pig skins or any animals' fats or skins. I do not eat pig hooves.

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