Ding Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 @ Paragon
Lunch @ Ding Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 Paragon
For most food lovers, Ding Tai Fung is a name that does not require much introduction. It, with its roots in Taiwan, specialises in Chinese cuisine and is immensely popular amongst the locals as well as tourists from all around the world, who flock there to sample 小籠包, their signature dish, amongst other simple yet scrumptious delicacies. The restaurant chain also continually make the news, i.e. with the Taipei outlet being voted as one of the “Top 10 Restaurants in the World” by The NY Times in 1993. More recently with their Tsimshatsui restaurant joining the stellar ranks of Michellin-starred dining hotspots around the World after it was awarded one Michelin star by the Hong Kong and Macau 2010 edition of the Michelin Guide. While the establishment of the Asian versions of food guide is considered controversial by some, others feel that its a well-earned accolade.
We’d been to Ding Tai Fung several times since their inauguration in Singapore a few years back and have been reasonably satisfied with the quality of food and service. This time, we ordered pretty much ordered the usual things we are accustomed to eating here.
First up is the quintessential must-order, half a dozen of 小籠包 “Xiao Long Bao” aka little steamed dumplings. These little treasure packets each contain a ball of minced pork and spring onion filling, and most important of all, a small sip of soup stock, further flavoured by the juices from the marinated pork. The tricky bit is the way to lock the liquids in, of which many techniques have suggested in different recipes from the use of “gelatinised” stock, pork stock collagen or simply a “broth sorbet” being adding to the minced pork filling! Anyone knows the actual method used at Ding Tai Fung? Enlighten me please!
Gingerly held up by chopsticks, the little parcel droops slightly from the weight of the juices locked within!
It is comme il faut for one to place the dumpling gently on a soup spoon and nibble a small hole near the base to allow the juices to escape. One can then savour the flavours from the soup. Some go to the extend of sucking out the juices with much relish! A few strands of juilienned ginger pre-dipped in black rice vinegar is then placed on top of the dumpling customarily before one devours in its entirety. Heavenly if you ask me.
Ding Tai Fung with the aid of a supposedly renowned French chef, created “Xiao Long Bao with Black Truffle”, an attempt to revolutionize simple chinese food fare by infusing elements of French haute cuisine. But we prefer to stick to the traditional staples 🙂
Next is half a dozen of 菜肉蒸餃, steamed pork and vegetable dumplings, usually the same wheat flour dumpling skin but different wrapping handiwork.
To most people, this would probably stand secondary to the notoriously famous Xiao Long Bao but I like it! With the nice blend of minced pork and chopped up greens, these crescent-shaped dumplings tastes so simple and yet down-to-earth.
蝦肉餛飩麵 – Noodle with Shrimp and Pork Wonton Dumplings and Soup. This is new to us as our “usual noodles” here is 紅燒牛肉麵, Braised Beef Noodles with Soup. But we find that the flavours from the robust and aromatic beef has a tendency to shadow the somewhat more delicate dumplings. So we opted for the lighter tasting wonton dumplings in clear broth.
The prawns tasted very fresh and succulent with the minced pork encased within.
排骨蛋炒飯, Fried Rice with Scrambled Eggs and Pan-Seared Pork Chops, another dish that we always order whenever we dine at Ding Tai Fung.
Simple yet simply delicious! Every grain is individually separated and coated with egg giving it a luscious golden appearance.
简单的一盘蛋炒饭， 好美味哦！米饭粒粒分明， 每一颗都裹着一层金黄色的蛋汁， 散发出浓郁的蛋香和葱花那微微呛鼻的清香， 熊熊地在刺激着我们的味蕾。但有谁知道，小小的一盘蛋炒饭里到底下了几颗蛋啊！？ 我可以告诉你。。。 很多！！！
Fried Rice is something which I’m pretty sure most would have tried or attempted to try at home. But to near the standards of what’s done at Ding Tai Fung is by no means an easy feat.
Such a gratifying meal. Sometimes simplicity is really bliss.