After Din Tai Fung’s exclusive blogger’s culinary workshop, the guests were treated to a food tasting menu featuring all time favourites and a selection of tasty new dishes. The workshop took place at Din Tai Fung’s latest outlet at 313@Somerset, where amongst the glitz and glamour of the fashion district, it stands out as a traditional yet contemporary Chinese casual dining restaurant.
I don’t frequently visit Din Tai Fung as it just never occurred to me. Of course, Chinese cuisine can only differ so much as ultimately most dishes would be either savoury, spicy or simply just fragrant with that kick of umaminess. So, for this review of Din Tai Fung’s tasting menu, here is my take on it.
Appetizers first. Vegetarian Delight in Special Vinegar Dressing. Each time I mention about Din Tai Fung to my friends, at least a couple of them will mention to me this particular appetizer which I should really try. I found the vegetarian delight to be a good mix of glass noodles, julienned bamboo shoots, sprouts and chillies. Its, shiny, slightly oily coating is probably what gives this humbe unpretentious dish its flavour and spiciness. $2.80 a serving.
The Fragrant Pork with Crushed Garlic looks the least like fragrant pork with crushed garlic. Instead, the dish looks like sliced chilled pork belly wrapped in cucumber and drizzled lovingly with chilli oil, sesame seeds and crushed garlic. Surprisingly not fatty in texture, this dish actually found me finishing piece, after piece and after piece. A little spicy, a little oily, but hey, its both crunchy and gelatinous. $6.80 a serving.
The Xiao Long Bao or Steamed Mini Pork Dumplings with Soup were labelled “little nuggets of heaven filled with flavourful broth and tender minced pork” by the media release article I received from Sixth Sense. I would probably call it aptly described as yes I ate it the old fashioned way by sucking out a small hole by the side and slurping the juices and then later devouring it whole with julienned ginger simmered in vinegar.
And I have to agree that the 18 folds around the dumpling itself is so much different from the ghastly imitation I tried to create just moments earlier during the workshop. $10.80 for 10.
And of course the ubiquitous Fried Rice with Shrimps and Eggs is done very well by Din Tai Fung. The consistency of egg to rice ratio is slightly higher than normal so you can expect more of that yellow savoury goodness. Its savoury, slightly fragrant as you waft the aroma towards you, and tenderly flavourful from bite to bite. The only thing missing is perhaps your traditional wok-hei flavour if you are looking for it. Other than that, its a good rendition of a classical masterpiece. $10 for a serving.
On the tasting menu, these were stated Steamed Chilli Crab and Pork Bun. My immediate thought would be little baos with chilli crab and pork slices inside it and upon the first bite, oodles of chilli crab sauce would start flowing out.
Ok, maybe I was imagining a little too much, but instead of the oozing chilli crab sauce, what was served was actually a pork and crab patty marinated with chilli crab sauce and then wrapped in a steamed bun. I would prefer it spicier though as this was a little lack luster in flavour. Still the price of $3.80 for 3 and its name is attractive.
Its hard to imagine that vegetables would be the most expensive dish on the tasting menu with a serving going for $12. The Stir Fried Nai Bai with Garlic is perhaps not really worth its weight in gold. Still, I have to admit that maybe you are paying for the chef’s masterly skill in perfectly cooking vegetables and leaving it shining with a robust colour and a gentle coating of garlic essence.
The Fragrant Peanut Dumplings is a recreation of the Japanese mochi but this time stuffed with chopped peanuts and sesame seeds. It is served steamed with the outer layer of the dessert coated with dessicated coconut that added more texture than flavour or fragrance.
Even though the dessert looks like artistic hair little fur balls, the combination of peanut, sesame seed, coconut and glutinous rice is hardly a mixture that could go wrong. $6.80 for 6.
As a final end to the meal, the tasting menu rounded it up with Sago served with Ice and Sweet Coconut Sauce. Taking a leaf out of local desserts, again the artful combination of coconut milk and gula melaka is used. Nothing too impressive, but still delicious to the last drop. $3.50 a serving.
Look at all the paos.
The Dining Area
The Shop Front
Fom this tasting menu, I found the strengths of the restaurant to lie more towards the dumpling arena. And on its own accord, it does serve up an impressive meal with complex tastes and savoury flavours at prices that almost anybody can enjoy. Just don’t go around expecting some extreme fusion flavours like Xiao Long Baos stuffed with caviar and topped with truffle oil.
Thank You Veronica & Hsian Ming from Sixth Sense Communications & PR Consultancy and Din Tai Fung for inviting me to this workshop and tasting event. It was a pleasure visiting Din Tai Fung.
|Din Tai Fung|
313 Orchard Road
#B2-01/02/03Tel :6509 6696
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