Saturday, 18 January 2014

Din Tai Fung

From Shanghai to Taiwan

Din Tai Fung is a very successful restaurant chain from Taiwan, with restaurants spreading across the Far East, Australia and North America. The cooking style is a bit of a combination of Taiwanese and Shanghainese cuisine, due to the founder coming from Shanghai and who started to learn his trade in the restaurant business in Taiwan before setting up Din Tai Fung. Din Tai Fung these days is now a global restaurant chain with countless awards attached to its name with no less than a Michelin star in its Tsim Sha Tsui branch at Hong Kong.

Din Tai Fung's mascot

Din Tai Fung runs a no reservation policy due to its massive popularity, on my lunch visits it was packed with tourists and locals alike waiting to get inside to a restaurant which has 200+ covers, you are given a number on arrival and you have to wait for your number to show up on the screen at the front to confirm your table is ready (A common policy in a no booking restaurant in Hong Kong when it is busy). We waited about 10 minutes before we were given a table as there were only 2 of us so it wasn't too bad.

Din Tai Fung Tsim Sha Tsui

We began our meal with the cold preserved ox tripe, the tripe was tender and soft with a nice depth of Chinese spices aroma, a very refreshing starter. The trademark steamed crab roe and pork dumplings were quality as expected, you can really taste the rich and delicate flavours from the crab roe, it blended nicely with the stock inside the dumpling. It was a real delight inside your mouth when all the lovely elements burst through the skin of the dumpling, the small issue was the tip of the dumpling which could have been thinner. 

cold preserved ox tripe
steamed crab roe and pork dumplings

Braised beef brisket in noodle soup was decent at best, the soup was watery and failed to carry the spicy and bold flavours you would expect from this classic Taiwanese dish. The dish of the day was the spicy shrimp and pork wontons. It was executed wonderfully with good balance of saltiness, sweetness and spiciness, the wonton's layer was thin and the spicy soy sauces really brought out the freshness of the prawn.

braised beef brisket in noodle soup
spicy shrimp and pork wontons

At the end I didn't find the food at Din Tai Fung worth all the hype it has had and i'm not sure if it is worth the fuss to wait if it is anything over 15 minutes personally ( For groups of four it is normal to wait over half an hour). The quality of the cooking was at a pretty good standard but there are better places elsewhere in Hong Kong that provide similar styles of food and I couldn't help but think that Din Tai Fung is popular due to its brand image rather than the food itself. Bear in mind it has a table return policy of 90 minutes so it is not an ideal place for any lengthy catching up with friends or family gatherings.

Food 5.5
Service 4
Ambience 4
Value 7

£13 per head with tea

Shop 130, 3/F, Silvercord, 30 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

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