Din Tai Fung. Those three syllables are music to foodies’ ears and eyes when they found out that this famous chain is finally opening its doors in Manila, thanks to Moment Group of Restaurants. I couldn’t really join or understand the hype as I have never been to one but I was told that it was very similar to Tim Ho Wan which I was not really crazy about. But then I had the opportunity to try this well-loved Chinese restaurant when I visited Hong Kong a few weeks back.
Hello, Din Tai Fung.
We visited the Din Tai Fung Miramar Mall branch since it was the one nearest our hotel. And it sure was a good call as when we arrived, there was no line at all. The mall, which was renovated in 2008, was pretty empty except for this restaurant with a massive floor area.
The first thing I noticed was that there’s a time limit for dining. I forgot to take note though up to how long we could stay. But the French way of dining is definitely out.
We settled with the following dishes: Steamed Pork Dumplings/Xiao Long Bao (HK$58), Braised Beef Noodle Soup (HK$82) and Steamed Taro Paste Dumplings (HK$43) for dessert.
While waiting, we enjoyed our warm house tea (which apparently not the house tea we are used to as we had to pay HK$9 per person for this and water is more expensive).
First served was our xiao long bao which were pretty good. It was juicy and flavorful and dipping it in the black vinegar sauce made it even more delectable. It was also served piping hot so we had to wait a bit to let it cool. However, Lugang Café’s xiao long bao wasn’t far from Din Tai Fung’s. I could settle for Lugang anytime.
The braised beef noodle soup was something else though. It was probably one of the best noodle soups I’ve tasted. The noodles were cooked just right, not too hard nor too soft and the broth had this lovely sweet yet salty flavor. It wasn’t oily too. And the braised beef… it was so soft and flavorful too. (Waaah! I am drooling now.)
As for dessert… it looked just like our first dish. Don’t be tricked though as this time, it was stuffed with taro paste.
It was indeed worthy to be called paste as it was sticky. But the slight sweetness of the taro made it a nice dish to end our meal. (It was too heavy though as dessert so don’t order a lot if you plan to get this too.)
Upon getting our bill, I realized that Din Tai Fung is far more expensive than Tim Ho Wan. But it seems that it also serves better dishes and wider food selection.
See you in Manila, Din Tai Fung.
Din Tai Fung is located at 4th Floor, Miramar Shopping Center, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.