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Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐
Address: 18 Shuicheng Lu, near Hongqiao Lu / 水城路18号, 近虹桥路*
Tel: 6208 4188
Price: 100~150 RMB/person
*6 different locations available in Shanghai, click here for the list.
For many people, Din Tai Fung needs no introduction. This Taiwanese chain, with its remarkable consistency in quality and well-trained service, has been rated one of the top 10 gourmet restaurants in the world by NY Times and now operates in 9 different countries. Their soup dumplings (xiao long bao) are simply the best and easily make Shanghai’s famous local 南翔小籠 (Nan Xiang dumplings) look ridiculous in comparison. This place is always packed so be sure to make reservations.
Din Tai Fung Gubei Store
Din Tai Fung, a Taiwanese pride
Clean interior and well-trained waitstaff
Some of our favorite starters, clockwise:
香辣牛筋 Spicy ox-tendon 35 RMB,
辣味小黃瓜 Sliced cucumber with chili and garlic, 23 RMB
什錦豆干絲 Shredded bean curd with seaweed and bean sprouts 19 RMB
香干馬蘭頭 Chopped wild vegetable and bean curd 22 RMB
特色蟹粉小籠 Steam pork and hairy crab roe dumplings, 86 RMB/10 pcs
特色小龍 Steamed pork dumplings, 58 RMB/10 pcs
Din Tai Fung soup dumplings are made with great care – they have exactly 18 folds on the skin, which is translucently thin but never breaks at the squeeze of the chopsticks. After dipping the dumpling in vinegar, put the whole thing in your mouth, give it some pressure with your palate, feel the delicate skin burst and let the soup fill your mouth. The soup doesn’t burn and also makes the meat and skin taste exponentially better.
If you order both 蟹粉小籠 (steamed pork and hairy crab roe dumpling) and 特色小籠 (steamed pork dumpling), which are my favorites, eat the 特色小籠 (steamed pork dumpling) first because these are lighter in terms of flavor. There are some other variations on the menu, such as 黑松露小籠 (steamed pork and truffle dumpling) and 魚翅小籠 (steamed pork and shark fin dumpling), which I’ve never tried.
菜肉蒸餃 Steamed pork and vegetable dumplings, 58 RMB/10 pcs
紅油菜肉炒手 Pork and vegetable wonton with spicy sauce, 40 RMB/6 pcs
蔥花蛋炒飯 Fried rice with egg and scallion, 32 RMB
Other than the best dumplings, Din Tai Fung also serves the best egg fried rice. There are several variations (scallion, shrimps, pork chops) and all are divine. Each grain of rice is separate and evenly coated with perfect seasoning. After polishing off the fried rice, I like to end my Din Tai Fung meals with steamed taro paste dumplings as shown below.
荔芋小籠 Steamed taro paste dumplings, 38 RMB/10 pcs
This photograph was taken in Sogo復興館鼎泰豐 in Taipei. You can see the the division of labor among the kitchen staff to consistently and efficiently churn out steamers after steamers of perfect dumplings.