My first taste of Din Tai Fung's famous "xiao long bao" was fairly "recent" - in 2001 during a trip to Taipei: we queued up outside this eatery on Xinyi Road. At the time, DTF had not expanded to become an international chain like it is now. So, it would never have occurred to me that, one day, DTF would actually open its 19th and newest branch in Singapore just 5 minutes from my home here in Singapore. The newest DTF outlet in Singapore opened at the swish, brand-new Seletar Mall last Oct. It was spitting distance from Jalan Kayu's famous "roti prata" spots and, in fact, also included a 24-hour Indian-Muslim joint, My Briyani House, selling "pratas", "murtabaks" and "teh tareks".
Our family dinner at DTF, Seletar Mall, last Friday:
- Pickled seaweed and bamboo shoots: complimentary appetiser and quite well-done here, with the thick slices of crunchy black seaweed contrasting beautifully with the bamboo shoots.
- Century eggs and chopped ginger: my fave appetiser, though I'd have preferred the pickled sweet ginger slices to the minced almost granulated) ginger used here.
- Tofu puffs, bamboo shoots and wood-ear fungus, braised in a soy-honey sauce: delish, but too decadent and overly-sweet here.
- Steamed "xiao long bao": no one does it like DTF, though its delicious XLB did seem smaller than those served in other establishments here (e.g. Paradise Dynasty, Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao, etc.). And, no, we didn't count to see if each XLB had *exactly* 18 folds on it, as touted by DTF to illustrate their strict quality control.
- Steamed vegetarian dumplings: delicious chive-stuffed dumplings, suitable for some members of my family who don't take meat (for religious reasons).
- Steamed pork-and-shrimp "shao mai": very tasty dumplings, with fresh, bouncy shrimps.
- Fried rice with eggs and shrimps: one of the better Chinese fried rice around. It was moist and delectable, but tasted as if it's been pre-cooked and re-heated to order.
- "Tung yuan" rice dumplings (stuffed with black sesame paste) in sweet peanut soup. This was okay - complimentary to OCBC Bank credit cardholders who spend more than S$80 here. It was enough to serve 2 (there were 5 of us, but we weren't big on Chinese desserts, so it was more than adequate).
Service was competent, though impersonal (servers do *not* make eye contact, where possible). Anyhow, in a Chinese setting, you don't really expect personalised, friendly banter, do you?
Din Tai Fung
The Seletar Mall
33 Sengkang West Avenue
Tel: +65 63416566