Din Tai Fung (Wisma Atria)

Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese restaurant that’s internationally famous for its xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings). I’ve wanted to check them out ever since the first Singapore outlet opened at Paragon, but stories of super long queues put me off. The local franchise has since expanded, its fourth and latest outlet being at Wisma Atria.

Steamed Pork Dumpling (5 pcs, S$4.80).

The trademark of the Din Tai Fung xiao long bao is the 18 exquisite folds on each dumpling. I counted, and true to their promise, there really were 18 folds. Amazing!

Gingerly lifting a dumpling out of the steamer basket, I noticed that the dumpling skin, though very thin and translucent, was quite resilient. Other xiao long bao that I’ve tried had skins which broke easily, but not these. Each one was the perfect size to be put whole into the mouth, but do beware of scalding your tongue with the hot soup from the dumpling!

I must say that this was one of the better xiao long bao I’ve tried. The meat filling was lean with just a hint of fat, and the broth was sweet and flavorful. But I would have preferred if the skin was softer. Perhaps this had to be compromised in order to produce a thin but resilient skin.

Steamed Shrimp and Pork Dumpling (5pcs, S$5.80).

The shrimp and pork dumplings were similar to the xiao long bao, with the addition of a whole shrimp in each dumpling. These weren’t as soupy.

Steamed Vegetarian Dumpling (5pcs, S$5.00).

There’s something for vegetarians, too. The vegetarian dumplings are stuffed with chopped bok choy, beancurd, turnip, Shitake mushroom, black wood ear fungus, and bean thread vermicelli.

Vegetarian dumpling, dissected.

I didn’t really enjoy the vegetarian dumplings. The filling was dry, and there wasn’t much flavor. I’ve definitely had much juicier vegetarian dumplings elsewhere.

Original Shanghainese Drunken Chicken (S$5.80).

Turning to the appetizer selection, here’s one of my favs. If you’re shocked by the name of this dish,ย  please relax. Contrary to what you imagine, the fowl above was NOT subjected to copious amounts of booze and then had its life prematurely ended while it was still in a drunken stupor.

“Drunken Chicken” is simply a fancy title for boiled/steamed chicken steeped in Chinese wine. After a few hours, the chicken is subtly infused with the fragrance of wine. Served chilled, it is succulent and refreshing. Rather expensive for such a small portion, but it’s worth a try.

Delightfully Crisp Mini Cucumber (S$2.50).

Lightly salted to draw out the juices, these “delightfully crisp” cucumber segments were a pleasant accompaniment to the meaty dumplings.

Finely Sliced Pickled Lotus Root (S$2.50).

It took a while for me to get used to these crunchy, sweet-sour lotus root slices. They were great for reviving one’s appetite.

Vegetarian Delight in Special Vinegar Dressing (S$2.50).

The waitress recommended this as one of their best-selling appetizers. It’s basically a salad of bean thread noodles, wakame seaweed strips, beancurd strips, beansprouts, chilli, and spring onion tossed in vinegar dressing and sesame oil. Slippery, crunchy, piquant and spicy, it was an lively mix of flavors and textures.

Special Braised Beef Noodle Soup (S$10.00).

This was another winner. R and I fell in love with the melt-in-your-mouth braised beef, and greedily slurped up every last drop of the rich beef broth.

Steamed Chicken Soup (S$8.50).

According to the menu, the steamed chicken soup is Din Tai Fung’s “house specialty”, a result of “hours of meticulous simmering to bring out original flavors”. Skeptical but curious, I had to try it for myself.

Whoa! Just one sip, and I was totally floored. Don’t let its appearance fool you, but the crystal-clear soup was bursting with the natural sweetness of fresh chicken. There were definitely no shortcuts when preparing this soup. Only the freshest ingredients and hours of labor could have produced something as sublime as this. The taste can be described as light but invigorating. A definite must-try.

Overall, the standard of the food at Din Tai Fung was high, and the dishes were obviously prepared with quality ingredients. I did feel that the portions were on the small side, making the prices seem high in comparison, but still affordable. It’s the place to go if you’re looking for quality, not quantity.

Prices listed do not include 10% service charge and 5% GST. Each diner is charged a miscellaneous feeย  of S$1.00 for Chinese tea.

Din Tai Fung
Wisma Atria
435 Orchard Road
#02-48/53
Singapore 238877
Tel: (65) 6732 1383

cheers!

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Comments

  1. oleyoley says

    wow, will try the ‘Original Shanghainese Drunken Chicken’ & ‘Vegetarian Delight’ the next time i go..
    just a recommendation, imperial treasure serves good ‘xiao long bao’ too =)

  2. says

    Hey.. Julia,
    After reading so many malaysian blogs.. i realised that food in singapore is rather expensive… except for our food court food. .and hawker center food.
    i think the next time.. i come back to asia.. i might just have to stay in malaysia a wee bit longer. than in singapore.. eh..??

  3. rachel says

    wow! the food sounds yummy! can’t wait to get home to try them with family & friends. i’ll go for quality over quantity any time.
    i love it that you are flogging again; i’ve missed reading your recommendations. am already making a mental list (getting longer by the day!) of the places to try when we are finally home in july… yums…

  4. says

    Hi Julia,
    I should have tried this when I visited Singapore last year, but I’ll make sure to try it when I’m there in September. Either that, or I can try it in Taiwan (I might be going stopping by there on the way home).

  5. rEXic says

    Hi Julia,
    I really enjoyed the beef noodle soup too! Wonder what ingredients they used to make such a delicious and addictive broth!

  6. says

    Hi oleyoley,
    Thanks for the recommendation. Will keep it in mind the next time I’m craving for xiao long bao. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hi MamaBok,
    Yes, food prices in town are generally higher. Culprit? Rising rent and labor costs. Still, there’s lots of cheap and delicious available in the suburbs. Come home and support the local economy, leh! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hi rachel,
    July will arrive in the blink of an eye! After you return, perhaps we could share tips on makan places? ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hi Reid,
    I think you should definitely go to the original Din Tai Fung in Taipei. Heard that the quality of the food at the Singapore franchise pales in comparison to the original outlet.
    Hi rEXic,
    I wonder, too! But I did detect hints of star anise…
    Hi snowystars,
    I saw it on the menu, and was tempted to order it. But we already had lots of meat. Will try it next time, thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Shirley Lim says

    Hi Julia,
    Glad you’re back!
    Yes – have tried the original store in Taipei vs Singapore and the Taipei store is much, much better (that is an understatement). You should try the red bean xiao long bao next time. That is what always brings us back because you don’t get that in other la mian places. But remember to eat it while they’re hot.

  8. says

    Hi Queer Chef,
    I know how you feel. Dumplings has that kind of effect on people!
    Hi Shirley,
    I must have missed the red bean xiao long bao. They sound interesting. Will be sure to try them next time.

  9. says

    I tried the Bishan outlet and most of the dishes were way below expectations. The beef briskets were so tough that hubby had a hard time chewing through.
    And I thought that the soup in the dumpling are very *porky*.
    If you ever have a chance to go Shanghai, try the branch in Xin Tiandi. They have this miniature dumpling that’s just so light and certainly doesn’t make a lady look rude chowing it all in one go! LOL