Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Quest for Good Dumplings - Din Tai Fung, Sydney CBD

I really do mean it when I say I have travelled far and wide for dumplings, be it India, Australia or elsewhere in Asia. The quest for finding good dumplings is a path I never intend to leave. I had sampled Din Tai Fung's dumplings at the food court in Westfield Sydney and was left wanting more. I had the vegetable wontons in a chilli broth and they tasted divine. Usually this dish is pork based and so I rarely get a chance to eat it, to sample a vegie version was jackpot indeed.

This Easter weekend we decided to go have a proper sit down meal at the Din Tai Fung Restaurant at World Center, Sydney CBD. The place was bustling with customers and the waiters were moving in a frenzy with their little headsets attending to the customers. This is not a place for a romantic meal, lets be clear on that. It is a place for good dumplings and Asian fare with a lot of chatter and hustle bustle thrown in for good measure. I like that energy in a restaurant, it somehow makes the experience even more interesting. The restaurant decor is simple and modern, it has beautiful light fixtures and an open kitchen with the adjacent feature wall decorated with steam baskets. They also have a dumpling mascot at the entrance with a basket full of dumplings - a cute addition.

Restaurant interior

Restaurant interior

Dumpling mascot

The menu

We were escorted to our table by the lovely waitress and I was just about to hang my handbag on the edge of my chair when a waitress magically appeared with a little basket and asked me to place my bag in it. After I put my bag in it she covered it with a red cloth and left it beside me. It was like a ceremony by itself, nice touch Din Tai Fung I thought to myself, quite amused by this process. 

The coveted handbag basket

I then had a look at the menu and was disappointed to not find the vegie wontons in it, but then got over it and decided to order. They have little paper order forms in which you tick the item you want to order and the quantity.We decided to have the Din Tai Fung Vegetarian Delight - looked like a medley of shredded mushroom, tofu and looked quite amazing in the picture on the menu. We also ordered pork dumplings, noodles with pork, vegetable bun, vegetable dumplings, sweet ice tea and Lychee Mint freeze. A waiter came and told us that the Vegetarian Delight was sold out and abruptly walked away. We then decided to order water spinach in a garlic sauce instead. The food arrived fairly quickly, the dishes poured in one after the other. The addition of grated ginger along with chilli and soya was a really nice touch, I loved the addition of ginger to my chilli soya sauce for dipping the dumplings into.

Drink: Sweet Ice Tea

Cold, sweet enjoyable ice tea.

Sweet Ice tea

Drink: Lychee Mint Freeze

This was my choice of drink and I loved it. It was sweet, minty with crushed ice in lychee juice and topped with Lychee. Yumm!

Lychee Mint Freeze

Dish 1: Vegetable dumplings

I have had many a dumplings in my time, this restaurant claims to have the tasties dumplings in the world - a big claim! The dumplings were tasty, had a good amount of filling, were nice and plump and were cooked well. The filling had spinach, tofu and vermicelli noodles. A good dumpling, but the best? I am not so sure.

Vegetarian Dumplings

Dish 2: Pork Dumplings

These were hubby's pick of the day. He really enjoyed the dumplings, good flavour and cooked well.

Pork Dumplings

Dish 3: Water Spinach in garlic sauce

This dish was an alternate to our Vegie delight. It was delicious and healthy with a good hit of garlic. A nice accompaniment to the dumplings.

Water Spinach with garlic

Dish 4: Noodles with pork

The dish looked visually very appealing. Hubby thought the dish was pleasant but could do with more flavour. The noodles were bland and needed more flavour in the sauce.

Noodles with pork

Dish 5: Vegetarian bun

The vegetarian bun was nice and soft and just melted away in the mouth. I really enjoyed it.

Vegetarian Bun

Overall it was a nice dining experience, we enjoyed our lunch. The service can be a little abrupt but they are quite busy so can be excused. We will be back to sample some more dishes  especially the elusive vegetarian delight.

Food 7/10

Service 6.5/10

Ambience 7/10

Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon