Monday, January 18, 2016

First Bite: Din Tai Fung Manila

Din Tai Fung is probably one of the most talked about restaurants last year. Its huge "opening soon" banner has captured the attention of foodies and every one was on the look out on social media for the official opening day announcement of the well-loved Taiwan-based restaurant. It finally did last month with free Xiao Long Bao for the first 100 guests. I would normally visit on its first week (or even attempt to be one of the first 100 for free food) but since traffic was not very pleasant and knowing that this restaurant will have a blockbuster line, I decided to wait till I do visit SM Megamall. And thanks to the super delayed Christmas lunch with college friends, I braved the crazy Saturday traffic and giddily hopped towards Din Tai Fung. 
Hello, Din Tai Fung!

K was the early bird in our group and managed to get a number for us. However, for us to be seated, everyone from the group has to be there. Since some of us were late, we had to wait a bit longer for us to get a table (because our number was long been called). On a positive note, we could already place our order while still in line. At least that cuts down our wait for food. We ordered Din Tai Fung House Special (PHP155), Pork Xiao Long Bao (PHP315, 10 pcs; PHP160, 5 pcs), Vegetarian Mushroom Wonton Noodle Soup (PHP265), Sweet and Sour Pork (PHP245), Salted Egg Yolk Prawns (PHP375) and Shrimp Fried Rice (PHP210). 
When we were finally complete, we waited for a couple of minutes before we were assisted to our table. I think it wasn't that bad. (Then again, it was already 3 PM when we visited and the place was still packed. So just imagine how busy the place is during lunch.)
The Din Tai Fung House Special was served right away and it looks appetizing. I loved the slight tart of the dish making it very refreshing and a great appetizer. I also love the delightful seaweed texture and beansprout crunch.
The server also tried to upsell by offering the Stewed Spongy Gluten (PHP235) which we said yes to as we were really hungry. 

I liked this one too. The sauce was sweet and went well with the spongy gluten. I really enjoyed the texture of the mushroom and bamboo shoots. The edamame was bland but I guess it was added for texture and not for flavor.
The Vegetarian Mushroom Wonton Noodle Soup was served next and it was a bit bland for my taste. I added a bit of rice vinegar and soy sauce and... problem solved! It added a tinge of tart to the dish making it so addicting. I didn't even have to dip the mushroom dumpling in the sauce. If only the noodles were a bit firmer, it would have been one of my favorites.
The sweet and sour pork was your usual well-loved dish. It was indeed sweet and sour. (Duh!) But the nice thing about Din Tai Fung's version is that the pork cuts were more bite size and crunchier. Good bye pork bits in between your teeth!
Din Tai Fung's famous Xiao Long Bao was next and... it was good, but not quite spectacular. I tried it before in Hong Kong and quality is pretty much the same. With all the craze for Din Tai Fung's XLB, I was hoping it would be way better than Lugang. I guess I was expecting too much. (Or perhaps I need to shell out more to get the Truffled Xiao Long Bao.) 
The seafood rice was your typical yang chow with a relatively generous serving of shrimps. I liked the consistency of the rice. It went well with the salted egg yolk prawns which was my favorite.
I truly enjoyed this dish. From its grainy texture to the rich salted egg taste and fresh, sweet taste of the prawns, this dish was nothing but delectable. It was the priciest dish we ordered but it was worth it! I would love to order this dish again.
Oh, I also got a glass of Lemongrass Iced Tea and I find it a bit too sweet. If you are not fond of sweet drinks, ask for a glass of water or wait for the ice to melt.

Overall, it was a great meal. I'll definitely be back.

P.S. I love how they thought of guests with bags. Din Tai Fung provided hamper-like storage for us to put our bags and was placed beside our table, covered with a piece of cloth. Great job, Din Tai Fung!

Din Tai Fung is located at Ground Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City. 

Din Tai Fung Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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