Feb 10, 2015

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 @ Pavilion KL - Xiao Long Bao... Hmm...

Looks like I'm on a writing streak here. This is essentially my second write-up for the night.

Din Tai Fung

鼎泰豐 Din Tai Fung is a one-Michelin-star restaurant that originates from Taiwan, made famed by its meticulously crafted 小笼包 xiao long bao - and I had a fantastic feast devouring some of those dainty Chinese soup dumplings. Hold the thought - a little more on that later.

Chinese New Year calls for a toss of Din Tai Fung's Three Treasured Yee Sang (Rm188.80). Piled with jellyfish, abalone and smoked salmon, good enough to feed a table of 10. Tonight's lousang ritual felt comprehensive, with auspicious wishes to add. And those mini abalone - this is as exquisite as it gets. 

Moving on to some of Din Tai Fung's specialties.

The dishes you're about to see below, are all part of the 2015 Chinese New Year sets. However, for reference, I will include the a la carte pricing should this article be read post festivities.

We started our meal with some appetizers. The Steamed Wheat Gluten was stunning - juicy taufupok textures, soaked in savory and sweet flavors. The Din Tai Fung House Special (Rm6.90) was a mix of sweet-and-sour vegetables. The Shao Shing Wine Marinated Chicken (Rm15.90) on the other hand was quite an interesting dish, served chilled and with the tender-est thigh meat imaginable. 

Soup is an obligatory dish in a traditional Chinese meal. We had the House-steamed Chicken Soup (Rm14.80). The Spicy Jellyfish (Rm10.90), another favorite here, reminded me of the Japanese appetizer I had at Rocku Yakiniku not long back.

We tried 3 different types of xiaolongbao - Pork (Rm17.80), Crab Roe & Pork (Rm25.80) and Truffle & Pork (Rm69.80). Each has its own distinct flavors and fillings, wrapped in a delicate layer of dumpling skin.

My pick would have to be the Crab Roe & Pork dumplings, which I though had richer flavors compared to the rest. I couldn't help myself but greedily reached out for seconds - I hope there was enough to go around the table. The other thing I noted was that the consistency of flour wraps differs from branch-to-branch. For me, the Mid Valley outlet serves one with slightly thicker skin compared to Pavilion.

Tip: The correct balance of vinegar sauce has 3-dashes of vinegar and 1-dash of soy sauce, over slits of ginger.

Steamed Fish Dumpling (Rm20.80) stuffed with minced white fish.

"Soooo spicy", I said out loud on my first mouthful. These Spicy Shrimp and Pork Wanton (Rm12), in a pool of fragrant chili oil, were seriously addictive. With a tissue in hand, I reached out for a second and third dumpling.

It has been awhile since I've last had Stir Fried Pea Sprouts (Rm19.50), aptly known as dao miew. These were perfect - toothsome textures, amazing crunch, with hint of garlic flavor to boost. 

These silky-smooth House Special Tofu were equally scrumptious, topped with a thin layer of spinach and enhanced by sweet oyster sauce, which I thought did great justice of enhancing the flavors of this dish.

What I really liked about this Prawns with Salted Egg Yolk (Rm34.50) dish - the bouncy prawns hidden beneath. The crust were light, salty-and-sweet and definitely gratifying as a whole.

Chinese pork chop versions are generally drier in texture. DTF's Fried Pork Chop (Rm13.00) was of no exception.

By the time we got to the rice and noodle dish, we were stuffed. The Shrimp Fried Rice (Rm17.90) were decent, though I thought it was lacking in that fragrant aroma and sticky texture that we were all hoping for. 

After all of the tantalizing dishes I had earlier, this Noodle with Minced Pork in Bean Sauce (Rm15.50) was easily forgettable.

The Sesame Dumpling in Red Bean Soup (Rm8.00) was not as sweet as I initially thought it would be. Great!

Or opt for a the chilled Boiled Papaya with Snow Fungus (Rm9.80), a lighter and refreshing change compared to the former.

Overall Rating: 7/10. My dinner here tonight was pleasant overall - some good some just decent, but mostly good. Strangely, there wasn't that one-dish that stood out for me in today's meal. Perhaps I walked through those doors, with expectations hung high, expecting to be blown away. Nevertheless, I had a satisfactory meal here, made enjoyable by loads of laughter - loads of it.

Din Tai Fung is located at:
Address: Lot 6.01.05, Level 6 , Pavilion KL, 168, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang, 55100 KL.
Phone: 603 2148 8292
Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm Daily.

Located on the same level as Italiannies, TGI Fridays and right in front of Grandmama.


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