For those of my readers who have read about my recent travels to Sydney would no doubt have read my review of Din Tai Fung at the Star. Having been to the original store in Taipei, I can say as a matter of fact that one of their fortes is consistency. Across all their stores worldwide, the standard of food will only have very small deviations, but quality and quantity remain largely the same. That's why I went to their Emporium Store in Melbourne.
Being situated in the top floor of the complex, we headed there at 11.00am to ensure we could grab a table.
Being a sit down restaurant as opposed to a food court this time, we were soon presented with a regular menu and a specials menu.
Food was ordered via a tick sheet.
One of the things I really enjoy about Din Tai Fung is the quality of their tea. Today's brew was a fragrant jasmine green tea, which was strong and appetizing.
Being one of the earlier tables to arrive, our food came out very quickly. It was quite the spread.
The reason why I keep coming back to Din Tai Fung is without a doubt their Xiao Long Bao. With its thin skin - so thin that it's semi transparent so that you can literally see the hot meaty soup inside, and so elastic that you can easily pick it up without breaking or leaking, it is without a doubt the tastiest dumpling in the world. The fillings were tender, soft and well seasoned without being oily or overcooked. Needless to say I absolutely loved them.
The wantons came in a light chicken broth, which was nourishing and warming. The dumplings were cooked to just the right texture, without being so overdone as to break the skins. Compared to the more yellow skins that HongKongers like me are used to, they used a whiter skin, which didn't have as strong an egg taste, but this actually complimented the meat and vege filling more by bringing out those flavours instead.
We ordered the small sized hot and sour soup, but this turned out to be able to be more than enough for the two of us. The soup contained quite a number of things such as tofu strips, bamboo shoots and fungus. With chilli powder and shallots on top, we were hit hard with the strong flavours of the soup.
Wanting to try something off the special menu, we opted for the truffle oil beef fried rice (because everything is better with truffle oil). Upon presentation of the dish, we were slightly surprised with the obvious canyon in the middle of the (previously) bowl shaped rice. However, given that a good friend rice is judged upon its ability to have every granule separate from the others (i.e. not lumped together), it definitely met this condition, which explained the crack. The truffle oil was very fragrant, but didn't overpower the dish, whilst the beef was not overdone.
We also decided to share a classical favourite of ours, being the chicken fillet noodles. The chicken fillet, whilst not as large as Hot Star, was still considerably larger and more generous than other Taiwanese restaurants. The potato starch batter was not too thick, but very very crispy. The noodles were again arranged in a manner very soothing to my OCD, and had been cooked to a perfect texture and served in the same chicken broth as the wantons.
After finishing off the meal, we were greeted at the counter by the adorable DTF mascots. It's too bad that they don't have their souvenir stores in the Melbourne shop like Taipei. Then again, I can only hope that they decide to come to Brisbane soon.