Din Tai Fung is a part of a Taiwanese food restaurant chain, and has a worldwide presence. In its New York avatar it was reputedly ranked as one of the world's Top 10 Best Restaurants by The New York Times, and I read somewhere that two of its Hong Kong outlets have been awarded Michelin stars.
Its Singapore outlets are located in Raffles City Shopping Centre on North Bridge Road, Wisma Atria on Orchard Road,Paragon,also on Orchard Road, the Tampines Mall, the Junction 8 Shopping Centre at Bishan Place, and at Jurong Point, Jurong West Central, and the Marina Bay Link Mall.
I ate at their Marina bay Link Mall in Singapore. Located in the financial district, the restaurant is always busy during lunch and dinner times, when workers from the surrounding offices descend here for food.During these hours, you might have to wait for half an hour for a table, but the waiting is worth it. We reached the restaurant a little before dinner time, and were immediately seated. In the Singapore business districts, the trick is to get to the restaurant half an hour before the rush hour. This doesn't work if you go to a restaurant in a Mall, because in a Mall, all hours are Lunch or Dinner hours.
The menu is not particularly Taiwanese, it is mainly Asian. Their dumplings, even according to a quote attributed to Antony Bourdain, are the world's best dumplings. I have to agree.Xiao Long Bao dumplings- either pork or chicken,come in small steam baskets, and the minimum order is of 6 (tiny) dumplings.They are a visual delight, their silky translucence folded into a score of tiny pleats. You pick up a dumpling and dunk it into a sauce that you yourself prepare from shredded ginger and soy sauce, and wait for it to soak for half a minute. Then you transfer it into a Chinese flat bottom spoon, pierce its thin skin so that the steam escapes, and some of its soup trickles into the spoon, and then wait again for a few seconds just to make sure it has cooled. Then you pop it in your mouth. Its chewy, and the goodness of the soup within, and the flavours of the pork or chicken, along with the flavours of soy laced with ginger bursts into your mouth, awakening all the taste buds.You close your eyes, enjoy the experience, and thank your luck for finding something so exquisite, delicate and wholesome.
The egg fried rice, and the noodles with mince pork were also excellent. The portions were of manageable size.The meal is served with Chinese tea, and your tea cup- a tall ceramic glass, really- is constantly filled up.
Perhaps this may not be strictly local Singapore food, but after you have tried Singapore's justly famous chilly crab elsewhere, come here for food that satisfies.
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