Din Tai Fung is a one Michelin starred restaurant chain that has set up shop in Singapore, Thailand, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and USA. It is ranked as one of the world’s top ten best restaurants by the New York Times and is a place that is worthy of a visit if you are anywhere nearby.
While on holiday in Singapore Jeremy and I fell so in love with this place we actually ate here twice. I couldn’t stay away, it just resonated with me just how much this restaurant chain reminded me of the food I eat back in Taiwan when I go to visit my grandparents and family.
The lines for each restaurant we ate at (Marina Bay Sands and Pagoda) were long; the service efficient. During busy times you’re given an ordering sheet to mark what you’d like to eat from the menu so that as soon as you sit, the food starts to come out to you. It’s a smart set up and impressive.
The sliced duck in crispy spring onion pastry is delicious. The smoked duck slices and wrapped in crunchy pastry and have spring onions cooked inside offering both textural and flavour diversity. When dipped in the dark sweet sauce that accompanies it, I can’t help but roll my eyes in excitement and appreciation.
The pork and prawn dumplings are fried goodness without being oily. The filling is minced and seasoned perfectly and the outer pastry is crunchy and not at all soggy. It tastes great when combined with the complimentary chilli oil on offer.
Jeremy is a massive bao addict, so I insist that he orders some to share. He chooses the pork and chilli crab buns which is a really nice twist on infusing some traditional ingredients with Singapore fare. The filling is sweet and moorish; the chilli not at all hot but quite delicious.
The dough of the bun is gluttonous but not gluggy – you can really appreciate that they’re made on site but hand – and can actually stand and watch the kitchen at work.
One of my favourite dishes of all time is Taiwanese Crispy Prawns. I eat this basically every second day when I’m in Taiwan and I was completely rapt when I saw it on the menu here. When it came out to our table it looked as good as the original dish I’ve grown to love.
Though it sounds somewhat strange, this dish is crispy prawns that are fried in custard powder and coated in a creamy lemon-infused mayonnaise. Accompanying the prawns is slices of peaches and plump, juicy lychees. The dish is hot and melts in your mouth as it offers the perfect balance of sweet and savoury.
The fried rice on offer is exactly what you need to cure any rumbling tummies. It’s beautifully fluffy rice mixed with egg and spring onion as the starting base. From there you can leave it plain, add slices of pork or shrimp. On the two occasions we go we choose pork the first time and shrimp the second.
Both taste amazing but the shrimp is the definite winner. It’s probably the best fried rice I’ve ever had though is quite similar to the one my mum makes (which everyone offers to pay her for it’s that good).
The deep fried specially marinated pork chop is fried to perfection. It’s juicy and tender; seasoned to a tee and worth ordering if you love your meat. You can order this on it’s own or over the egg and spring onion rice where it seeps it’s juices into the rice.
The shrimp pancake is crunchy and completely full of shrimp like you would hope from the name. When you cut it open there’s barely any batter or spring onions, but is chunked full of seafood. It’s oily and crunchy and moorish. I have to admit, it is more than I could have hoped from the name!
The final dish we try at Din Tai Fung is the oriental wontons with black vinegar and chilli oil. The wonton skins are soft and translucent; the handcrafted dumplings fresh and vibrant. The spring onions in the vinegar and chilli oil offer great flavour and elevate what would be ordinary but delicious dumplings, to a truly fantastic dish.
They say Din Tai Fung’s cuisine is all about harmony. “Utilising the freshest ingredients paired with a relish for simple cooking styles, the recipe selection is never too rich or heavy on the palate, and is a fresh welcome given the increasing preference for healthy cooking.” It’s no wonder that this place attracts both locals and tourists who are all ready to line up to gorge themselves silly on the delicious offerings that the extensive menu has to offer.
Is this love I’m feeling for this place? Yes. A million times yes.