Bingyi Yang started Din Tai Fung as an oil company in Taiwan. The name is a combination of Heng Tai Fung, the cooking oil company he first worked for in the country, and Din Mei Oils, his oil supplier. The dumpling restaurant came about as advised by a friend during a low season for their oil business. Today, their xiao long baos are enjoying global recognition through their branches in Taiwan, Japan, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Korea and Malaysia, even in Los Angeles and Sydney. A new branch is opening this month in Seattle too (www.dintaifung.com.tw)! Din Tai Fung was one of the world’s top 10 restaurants according to The New York Times in 1993 (en.wikipedia.org). This year, its Hong Kong branch was awarded 1 Michelin star.
Location From Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit A1, go right along Haiphong Road and left at Canton Road. Go inside Silvercord, where the restaurant occupies much of the 3rd floor.
Queue Besides dumplings, this restaurant is also known for its queue as they do not accept reservations. But try getting there before 7:00 pm, like we did, and the queue would probably be just for the takeout lane. The queue got pretty long some 30 minutes after we came in, but by the looks of it, there’s no crowd that the huge restaurant cannot handle.
Food The two xiao long baos we tried, the steamed (hairy-fisted) crab roe and pork dumplings and the steamed shrimp and pork Shao-Mai, were equally good. The egg fried rice with shrimps and shredded pork was not the usual fried rice with egg we know. I am guessing they used either freshly laid chicken eggs or duck eggs for this dish. We also tried their drunken chicken in Shaoxing rice wine and steamed sponge layer cake; the latter is not for everybody (sorry…).
Don’t worry if it’s your first time with xiao long baos as you will be given instructions on how to eat it and make its sauce.
Price HKD150 per person is a good estimate for this restaurant, making it a perfect stop after a day of depositing all your money at the expensive shops of the massive Harbour City, which is just across.
One last thing I will never forget with Din Tai Fung is the service, even your shopping bags will be given a table napkin (yep, they have a cover prepared for your bags!).