Sunday, October 11, 2009

[SHENZHEN] Din Tai Fung: Dumpling it Up

My very first recollectable memory of xialongbao (soupy dumplings) is of us learning how to eat these piping hot packets of brothy pork in Toronto’s Din Tai Fung. Pick them up by the tops, bite a small hole and slurp out the broth slowly. Then down the whole thing. It was a delicious lesson.

(Garlicky cucumbers)

(Taiwanese beef noodles)

(Signature xiaolongbao: so juicy)

(Shrimpg and pork dumpings: even better than the signature)

And since then, I’ve had my fair share of XLB’s. But another dose of Din Tai Fung? Well, that didn’t happen until yesterday. I made my first trip to Shenzhen today and le madre insisted I try the Din Tai Fung up there. Fine, I had no qualms with that. The signature xiaolongbaos were de rigueur orders (RMB$18 for four) and we also slapped on an order of fresh shrimp and pork dumplings (RMB$18 for four). Both arrived in their steamers in all their piping hot glory. Juicy on the bite no doubt…but the best I’ve had? To be honest, no. The dumplings were literally a one-bite size (i.e. I’ve had bigger) and I just didn’t feel as if it had as much soup as the perfect amount. Don’t get me wrong – I still enjoyed the dumplings – ESPECIALLY the ubër-fresh shrimp-filled one – it’s just that I’ve had better.

(Braised glutinous rice “cake”: not perfect but still delicious)

The cold dish – garlic and peanut cucumbers in chili oil was refreshing with a spicy zing but nothing special. Same went with the braised glutinous rice “cake” which was a little too wet for our Hong Kong-er standards (though this, I’m guessing, could well be a cultural differentiation in tastes). But I was a happy camper with the Taiwanese style beef noodles – the noodles were slightly chewy but not at all doughy and the beef was baby-food-esque tender. I also happily lapped up the Taiwanese style rice (RMB$8), topped with a soy sauce braised egg, shredded meat and conpoy. I loved the intense flavors and dipped in for seconds even though I was already full. Healthy? Probably not. But delish? Yessss.

(Taiwanese style rice: a pleasant surprise)

FOOD: 3.5/5

2/F, Zhonghai Shopping Center
1 Xinyuan Road
Luohu District


  1. Nice review! (and very nice pictures!!!!)

    Really want to give the Taiwanese style rice a try!
    I wanted to do a comparison of their Taiwan & Hong Kong outlets in the near future ... maybe you can do one for the Hong Kong outlet now :)


  2. Thanks Jason! I love your blog too! Always fun to read up on where you've just eaten at :)

    I dropped by the HK Din Tai Fung the other day for a work-related assignment. Very impressive and yes, definitely worth comparing to the Shenzhen one! I hear they are opening a second outlet soon in Causeway. Can't wait!


  3. @D: Thanks for your kind words on my blog! Thanks for dropping by too :) ... Din Tai Fung in Causeway Bay? wow, they are expanding pretty rapidly! Can't wait indeed :)