After standing on our feet for a few hours while we watched the ANZAC Day March, we needed to sit down and re-fuel. We were in the heart of Sydney’s CBD with my sister, Lou and her family, and were pretty close to World Square near where Lou works.
Spinning around in circles wondering where to eat, Lou suggested Din Tai Fung. Working close by, she had eaten at Din Tai Fung before but only once in Oz.
Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese franchise that has restaurants all around the world with a few in China and when Lou and her family lived in Beijing, they were regulars. Lou says the dumplings in Sydney are as authentic as the dumplings served in Beijing. The franchise is renowned for its modern and minimalist-styled restaurants, it’s consistent quality and above all else, it’s incredible dumplings.
The restaurant at World Square has outdoor seating where you can sit if you need to wait for a table. We had to wait and the wait wasn’t long; they move customers through the restaurant swiftly.
If the wait is so long that you have run out of things to do on your mobile phone, you can walk up to the window where you can see the chefs, with their hair in hair-nets and their faces covered in masks, making the dumplings. For a non-Asian who has never seen this sort of kitchen-action, it’s an added bonus to the dining experience.
There were quite a few of us in our party and the staff were happy to accommodate such a large group on a busy day. We sat at one very long table and Lou, our family’s Asian expert, did the ordering.
We started with a cucumber salad with a vinaigrette dressing. The cucumber was crisp and crunchy and very refreshing. I did like the way it had been so precisely stacked. For all those being trained by Tiago, this counts as one raw vegetable serving.
Moving on from Tiago, I asked Lou if she could pop on the order the fried chicken fillet, a Taiwanese specialty. I felt I’d earned it. The batter on the chicken was wonderfully crisp and crunchy with the chicken being extremely soft and tender.
Balancing our ‘meat and veg’ we then had the spinach with garlic. This is a very simple dish but a wonderful accompaniment to any meal as the two components of the dish need nothing else added.
There was a vegetarian dish that Lou really likes called Din Tai Fung Vegetarian Delight. It was very good with all vegetables yielding but still retaining that outer layer of crunch.
Alfie wanted a pork bun. No, that’s not right, he wanted five pork buns. Anything to get calories into this wee boy so we ordered the pork buns. Restraining myself, I didn’t have one and Alfie sat very still and ate through his pile of pork buns. He said, ‘these are the best ever’.
A highlight of a Din Tai Fung dining experience is ordering the Xiao Long Bao dumplings. As you bite into them there is a wonderful burst of broth. I did wonder how they made these and found out that when the broth is put into the dumpling it is in a jelly form but once it hits the steam it becomes liquid – and an absolute sensation. We could have had many more of these.
Lastly we enjoyed the vegetable and pork wontons in a tangy sauce. I really loved these as well; the wontons were very soft and the sauce should be bottled and available for purchase. At this point I did wonder how I managed to get through my life without being introduced to wontons and dumplings.
We really enjoyed our lunch at Din Tai Fung. It’s the kind of place that is welcoming of singles, couples or large groups and has the system so streamlined the food, once ordered, appears in minutes. The prices are more than reasonable and the quality and consistency of what’s ordered is remarkable.
Verdict: Very affordable with excellent quality.
Din Tai Fung: World Square, Level 1, 644 George Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9264 6010