Doing dim sum the Taiwanese way

Creamy, golden salted egg filling gives this bao a delightful edge. — Photos: ART CHEN/The Star

Bolder xiao long bao flavours elevate dining experience at pork-free restaurant in KL

THE anticipation of biting into steaming hot xiao long bao to savour flavourful juices trapped within is why this purse-shaped dumpling stands out from others.

It takes some practice with chopsticks to carefully pick up the soup dumpling without breaking its soft skin, because a hollow xiao long bao is no fun at all once the juicy goodness escapes.

So, one weekday when we found ourselves dining at DIN by Din Tai Fung in Pavilion Damansara Heights for a taste of some pork-free dim sum, the first thing that caught our attention was the menu page filled with an unusual variety of xiao long bao.

Interestingly, the filling choices were chicken, crab roe with chicken, truffle, chocolate, red bean, and yam.

Noodle with Minced Chicken in Bean Sauce.Noodle with Minced Chicken in Bean Sauce.

We decided on the chicken and chocolate varieties, the latter of which is extremely popular with diners.

We also requested the chocolate version be brought out for dessert once we were done with the savouries.

The soup dumplings arrived steaming hot in bamboo baskets.

These are to be relished with a touch of vinegar and julienne ginger – the best condiment for the dumplings.

Listed under the menu’s snack section are more dim sum goodness, including steamed and deep-fried wonton as well as fried chicken chop and crispy prawn cake.

For those who prefer something bolder, the Spicy Shrimp and Chicken Wonton’s pungent appeal might tickle your fancy.

Flip the menu further and there are steamed morsels such as dumplings filled with shrimp and chicken, vegetable and chicken, and vegetable and mushroom, as well as shrimp and chicken shaomai.

The popular chocolate xiao long bao.The popular chocolate xiao long bao.

This variety of fillings is to be expected at DIN, the pork-free restaurant of popular Taiwanese chain Din Tai Fung which is known worldwide for its contemporary approach to Chinese classics.

Aside from its mouthwatering dumplings, what I like about this place is the array of noodles with something for meat lovers, pescatarians as well as vegetarians.

We decided to have wheat Noodles with Minced Chicken in Bean Sauce, which can be elevated taste-wise with a dollop of Din Tai Fung’s fragrant and spicy chilli oil.

Those who enjoy vegetables will be thrilled to learn that there are plenty of leafy options and string beans to delight in, making DIN a perfect place to be with family and friends who are vegetarian.

Din Tai Fung customer relations officer PH Yap recommended the crunchy String Bean with Minced Chicken.

Besides string beans, there are pea sprouts, spinach, kailan and romaine lettuce that can be stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, shimeji mushrooms or garlic.

If you do not go overboard with dim sum and have space for some carbs, then do have a look at the fried rice dishes.

Spicy Dried Chilli Chicken entices with its heat.Spicy Dried Chilli Chicken entices with its heat.

There are six options and we ordered the heavyweight of the lot – Chicken Chop and Shrimp Egg Fried Rice.

DIN also has Chinese-style dishes such as Spicy Dried Chilli Chicken, Sweet and Sour Prawn, Prawn with Mayonnaise, Prawn with Salted Egg, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Sweet and Sour Fish and Shimeji Mushroom with Salted Egg, which the kitchen crew can whip up in no time.

In fact, we did not have to wait too long for our orders to arrive as DIN prides itself on speedy service.

The downside of this was that they were served soon after the dim sum, causing some of the dishes to go cold.

It would thus be advisable to let the waiters know to hold back some of your orders so you can appreciate them hot from the wok.

Sesame Rice Ball in Soya Bean.Sesame Rice Ball in Soya Bean.

Soon, it was time for our chocolate xiao long bao!

The velvety chocolate filling that oozed out from the dumpling, served piping hot in a bamboo basket, was a sheer joy to taste.

Another steaming hot dessert is the Mini Lava Custard Bun, bursting with salted egg goodness the minute you bite into it.

The other sweet finds are Sesame Rice Ball in Soya Bean, Peanut Rice Ball in Soya Bean, Double-boiled Snow Fungus, Sesame Rice Ball coated with Peanut, and Mango Pudding.

DIN by Din Tai Fung, Level 1, 1.13.01, Pavilion Damansara Heights, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-3010 8371) Business hours: 11am to 9pm, daily.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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Din Tai Fung , DIN , xiao long bao


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