This is the first Din Tai Fung branch ever to receive a Michelin star in November 2009. No doubt their main outlet in Taiwan would probably receive a couple of stars if there was ever a Michelin Guide for Taiwan. Din Tai Fung was after all named one of the top ten restaurants in the world by the New York Times back in 1993. Back in Singapore, Din Tai Fung is a thriving chain with many many outlets open islandwide. Is the Michelin starred Din Tai Fung Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong any different from the one in Singapore?
We arrived just before 7pm on a Saturday evening at Silvercord. The queue outside Din Tai Fung was mad, and we decided to come back after visiting the sights along Victoria Harbour. We returned just after 9pm and found a 20-minute queue in front of us. The restaurant is huge! It is probably bigger than any of the Singapore branches. At the restaurant entrance we were met with the surprisingly familiar Din Tai Fung order sheet and queue number. It is amazing how Din Tai Fung managed to transfer an entire restaurant system throughout Asia, with almost an identical experience at branches in different countries.
We were seated with a strangely familiar routine and we passed our order slip to the staff. Even the service staff at Din Tai Fung in Hong Kong seemed to have the same accent as their staff in Singapore.
Xiao Long Bao at Din Tai Fung Tsim Sha Tsui
This is what they are famous for! As usual, the delicious xiao long bao (小笼包 or steamed pork dumplings) is filled with their super juicy minced pork, that melts in your mouth. If you have never eaten xiao long bao before (blasphemy), bite a small hole in the top of the skin and blow in it to cool the xiao long bao down before stuffing it in your mouth. This item tastes identical to the one that I am so familiar with in Singapore. Perhaps due to its widespread availability I have taken Din Tai Fung’s xiao long bao to be the minimum acceptable standard for the dish, as such we rate it 4/5. I believe that I have tasted better xiao long bao in Shanghai, China, but that was 10 years ago and memory is a fuzzy thing.
Shredded Pork Fried Rice
I eat a lot of fried rice. I have tried the famous fried rice at Chen Fu Ji Riverside Point and the artery clogging Angus Beef fried rice at New Ubin Seafood. Yet I still exclusively order 肉丝蛋饭 (ròu sī dàn fàn or shredded pork fried rice) when I come to Din Tai Fung. It is just that good. Their rice is super fragrant with a generous amount of egg coupled with a perfect taste combination together with the shredded pork. Unlike most fried rice at your usual ‘zi char’ stalls (Chinese home-style dishes cooked to order) where the oomph and kick from the wok hei disappears after the first or second mouthful, the oomph from Din Tai Fung’s fried rice lasts until the very end. We rate this 4.2/5.
The fried rice is generally identical to the one served at Din Tai Fung in Singapore, but do note that the Singapore branches have about a 10-15% variance in taste consistency, and if you go to a mediocre branch it will not taste as nice as the one that I tried in Hong Kong.
Beef Brisket Noodle Soup
Din Tai Fung’s menu lists this as ‘Special Braised Beef Noodle Soup with Beef Brisket’ 红烧牛肉汤面 (hóng shāo niú ròu tāng miàn) – it is quite a long name, but it is damn delicious. Din Tai Fung is exceptional as in addition to their famous Xiao Long Bao, they have quite a number of ‘signature dishes’ that are pretty delicious. The beef brisket noodle soup is one of them. The broth is thick and fragrant with the delicious beef taste permeating throughout. The beef brisket is super tender with a perfect texture that melts in your mouth. This coupled with near al dente noodles makes it a potently delicious combination. We rate this 4.2/5.
Oriental Wantons with Black Vinegar & Chilli Oil
Listed on their menu as ‘wontons’ instead of ‘wantons’ (红油抄手 hóng yóu chāo shǒu). Sometimes we experiment and it doesn’t go very well. I have no doubt that the wantons by themselves would taste super delicious with the perfect soft texture and meat balance inside the wanton. However, black vinegar and chilli oil combination was a bit pedestrian and it didn’t impress us too much. We rate this item 3.8/5.
The experience and the food at Din Tai Fung Tsim Sha Tsui is nearly identical to the other international branches of Din Tai Fung. It is as delicious as it is everywhere else, most of the time. If you are hard pressed for time and you have already experienced Din Tai Fung goodness in all its glory, you can choose to skip this and spend your food calories elsewhere.