For me, I have always associated Din Tai Fung with their Xiao Long Baos. And when Sixth Sense in representation of Din Tai Fung invited me to the Blogger’s Culinary Workshop at 313 @ Somerset, I was game to learn first hand how they make that highly demanded dumplings.
The workshop first had us learn from the Master Chef how the dumplings were rolled out, moulded, weighed, rejected and made. And even though they didn’t give us real meat fillings to use (we used red bean paste instead as we were just beginners), it was a thoroughly new experience to see how much work goes into making just that 1 Xiao Long Bao. In the kitchen itself, it was explained that for each piece of the exquisite dumpling, a team of 6 people is required to make it.
When I finally had my hand at making rolling out the pieces of dough itself, it wasn’t too bad at first. Still, I had to work quickly as the edges of the rolled out pieces of dough will dry out within 30 seconds and then it would be hard to stick the skin together.
Very personalised attention was given at the workshop with 1 chef coaching every 2 guests. When it came to placing the filling into the center of the skin, I simply couldn’t adopt the hand posture that was required. So for this step, the chef helped out.
When it came to folding the 18 folds, it was still easy if you simply maimed your way through. But to achieve that perfect shape in which the fine creases around the side of the Xiao Long Bao, it was a feat to be achieved. No matter how much I tried for the 6 Xiao Long Baos I made, I simply could not master it. Of course, for the chefs at Din Tai Fung, it was explained that they take at least two years to qualify to make each dumpling and at each stage whether be it rolling out the dough, weighing or folding, there was a test to certify their skillfulness. For the restaurant, it seems that precision is key to that perfect piece of dumpling.
The bowl of rejects
Each table had 4 guests, so Elaine (Divine Essentials), Dorothy (Dotinabox), and Glenn (Hungry Epicurious) made our Xiao Long Baos together. After witnessing the big bowl of rejects, each of us agreed that perhaps for Xiao Long Baos, we would leave it to the chefs at Din Tai Fung.
Doesn’t it look perfect
I had a fun time being at the workshop and it was a real eye opener to me to see that so much work goes into making each individual Xiao Long Bao. Now this is what I call savouring life’s enthralling moments!
Thank You Veronica & Hsian Ming from Sixth Sense Communications & PR Consultancy and Din Tai Fung for inviting me to this workshop.