The most anticipated restaurant opening of the year, Din Tai Fung has opened the doors of its first store in SM Megamall Fashion Hall. In case you’ve been under a rock, Din Tai Fung is Taipei gift to the world of food, specializing in xiao long bao.
I had a little sneak taste at the grand opening of Din Tai Fung, a night before they opened to the public.
The meal started with a plate of Din Tin Fung House Special appetizer (P125). It’s a tangy plate made up of julienned beancurd and seaweed with beansprouts and vermicelli. I really enjoyed how the flavors prepared my taste buds for the meal ahead, there’s also lots of fun textures which you know I like in my food.
Next up was the Spicy Pickled Cucumber (P125). Looked spicy but in actuality it was on the mild side, this reminded me of the cucumber appetizer at Ippudo, both unexciting but give good crunch and whets the appetite.
First time to eat xiao long bao, no need to worry, they’ve got illustrated instruction cards that will guide you. Get a nice laugh if they give you one with Filipino.
The recommended xiao long bao dipping sauce is 3 parts vinegar, 1 part soy added to ginger strips. I’m more partial to soy so I had half and half, it boils down to your preference.
Pork Xiao Long Bao (P160/5 pcs., P315/10pcs.). This is what put Din Tai Fung on the food map. I’ve never been a big fan of xiao long bao but this recent meal has given me a better appreciation. My table mates proclaimed the taste exactly like the ones in Taipei, Hong Kong and Singapore. I defer to their judgement but to me it tasted really good. The wrapper are very well done, thin yet strong with no unintended puncturing.
Crab Roe and Pork Xiao Long Bao (P285/5 pcs, P565/10 pcs.). There’s a cute little thing inside the steamer to indicate that the dumplings contain crab roe. There’s a slight orange tinge you can see through the xiao long bao wrapper. This is the one that excited my taste buds. The pork flavor is still there but the added crab roe gives it an umami flavor dimension. I can not recommend this enough even though it’s almost 2x the price of the regular pork, you’ll also be happy to know that they use local export quality crabs.
Shrimp and Pork Wontons with House Special Spicy Sauce (P185/6 pcs.). I love wontons but these DTF ones are done a little differently, the wrapped is the same as the xlb but done in a different shape and it served with a sauce that we were advised to mix thoroughly before eating. I suspect that they’ve toned the spice level down because I could enjoy this easily. The shrimp pieces inside are crisp and juicy works well with the slightly spicy sauce.
Here’s a little green interlude by way of Stir Fried Organic Kale (P230). Simply cooked with garlic to let the vegetable flavor stand out. This is healthier compared to Cantonese vegetables with the use of less oil but sacrifices a bit more flavor.
Din Tai Fung developed a number of dishes specifically for the Philippine market. These are the Salted Egg Yolk Prawns (P395), Black Pepper Beef (P395) and Sweet and Sour Pork (P255). For me all 3 are not special dishes but are good to pair with rice.
Fried Rice with Salted Fish (P185). Another healthier rendition, with the rice not as oily and shiny but flavors of the salted fish shine through.
Dan Dan Noodles with Spicy Sesame and Peanut Sauce (P145). This noodle dish is creamy and just a bit spicier than the wontons. Make sure the noodles are well coated with the sesame and peanut sauce so there a nice nutty flavor to complement the “QQ” noodles.
Time for dessert stating with the Mango Sago with Pomelo (P95). DTF does this differently, adding cream to the mangoes making closer to a liquid custard than the mango sago we know and love. The pomelo pieces add a little break in the taste to avoid any chance of cloying.
This steamer of Golden Lava Salted Egg Yolk buns (P85/2 pcs.) arrive innocently enough with nary an inkling of what treasures they hold inside.
Bite a bit and let the liquid salted egg tickle your tongue and mix together with the ultra soft bun. This is so far the best salted egg yolk bun I’ve had in Manila.
Din Tai Fung has served noticed to other xiao long bao chains in the Philippines. They serve the best xiao long baos and at a price comparable to the others. My must order recommendations at Din Tai Fung are the Crab Roe and Pork Xiao Long Bao, Dan Dan Noodles, and the Golden Lava Salted Egg Yolk Bun.
*They have an ongoing promo of FREE baskets of xiao long bao for the first 50 tables from Dec. 8-15, 2015.”
Din Tai FungG/F Mega Fashion Hall
Edsa cor. Julia Vargas Ave.,
Ortigas, Mandaluyong City,