I was in Singapore last week, and what I ate of my own discretion (as opposed to work-sponsored lunch and hotel buffet breakfast) could be classified into two major food groups: Din Tai Fung and chicken. I’ll get to the chicken soon enough, this one’s about Din Tai Fung.
Although Crystal Jade has finally come to Manila and, to some extent satisfied my cravings for the world-famous soupy dumplings, there’s nothing like Din Tai Fung Xiao Long Bao. So much so that we went to DTF twice over a five-day period.
And the Xiao Long Bao was as good as I remembered. The dumpling wrappers were so thin, you could see the broth through the skin of the dumpling.
The pork meat inside was juicy, flavorful and tender. But anyone will tell you that it’s the broth that makes or breaks a Xiao Long Bao. And though I sang praises of Crystal Jade’s, the broth in DTF’s dumplings tastes purer, cleaner and more flavorful.
It’s hard to make the comparison if you’re not having the dumplings together, but with one sip of that fragrant, steaming hot broth, I knew (drama! Haha): that DTF’s Xiao Long Bao are the best I’ve ever had. I was actually even nodding my head while going “mmmmm…” with that first slurp, as if confirming to some invisible higher being that, yes, DTF if the king of Xiao Long Bao (consequently prompting a raised eyebrow from my mom).
I even prefer their ginger, vinegar and soy over Crystal Jade’s, where they give you the sauce ready-made in those small sauce bowls. In DTF, you get to blend the soy sauce, black vinegar and chili sauce to your own preference.
Their soy sauce is really mild, and the ginger is cut into such thin strips, the taste does not overpower the soup at all. Add a touch of chili sauce, and I’m in sawsawan heaven.
We also had their beef noodle soup, which was good, warm and comforting, although it has to be said, Crystal Jade’s noodles win the noodle battle.
I also ordered their steamed yam dumplings for dessert, which weren’t bad but were still disappointing, given how good I remember the ones I had in Taiwan were.
Definitely not disappointing, on the other hand, was DTF’s fried porkchop. I wanted to order this with rice (apparently, the rice is very, very good), but my mom wanted noodles, and it didn’t make sense to order both. It’s a good thing you can order the porkchop alone, because I really had my heart set on finally trying this. It’s perfectly tender and juicy, and they trim the fat from the chop, so it’s not oily at all.
I don’t know how to describe the flavor, because it’s not something I’m used to, but there was definitely a little spice to it, and a lot of very Chinese flavors. Not very helpful, I know, but take my word for it and order the porkchop rice the next time you’re in Din Tai Fung.
But it’s not like I need the porkchop as further motivation to eat at Din Tai Fung. If they only sold Xiao Long Bao, I’d still go and come back again and again.
Now who do I talk to to finally get DTF to the Philppines?