“Dumplings! Yay!” My daughter clapped her hands and shrieked with delight as her dumplings arrived at our table. Other guests turned to look and waitresses gathered around with big smiles, amused by the enthusiasm our almost-two year old showed for her food. This happens every time we go. Din Tai Fung is her favourite restaurant and she is a regular.
Din Tai Fung originated in Taiwan in the 1980’s and has been growing in popularity around the globe. It is known for its Xiao Long Bao which are delicate dumplings filled with rich, hot soup. My husbands favourite since we first visited Din Tai Fung with friends in Singapore a few years ago. There is a particular way to eat these so be sure to ask a waitress for some tips so you don’t burn your tongue. You might anyway but it won’t keep you from devouring a whole table full of them. I know from experience.
The menu also offers a mouth watering mix of wontons (szechuan shrimp and chicken without the szechuan are my daughters favourite), pot stickers (chicken and shrimp are my favourite), steamed buns, fried rice, bok choy and more. All made to order by a team of talented people who craft the dumplings in full view of their guests.
Din Tai Fung’s first Dubai restaurant opened at the end of last year with the new expansion at Mall of the Emirates. The Dubai branch does not offer pork dumplings, relying on chicken, seafood and lamb based dumplings instead. A bit disappointing for those of us who like pork but it hasn’t seemed to phase anyone. The restaurant is always full and there is usually a line up to get in. I assure you it is worth the wait.
My daughter loves that she gets her own children’s plate, bowl and spoon branded with cartoon characters I call “dumpling head” and “basket head” for lack of a known name. When the baskets of steamed dumplings arrive my daughter starts bouncing in her seat and she shovels a whole order of them into her mouth faster than my husband can cut them into pieces. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Waitresses from all over the restaurant stop to say hello as they walk by and we often see parents at other tables pointing at us as an example to their children. Regardless of the language they are speaking I imagine it is usually some variation of “See that little girl over there eating all of her dumplings…”
As usual, lunch was delicious. A terrific way to start the new year. Yay, dumplings!