Shop 11.04,Level 1, World Square/644 George St, Sydney NSW, Australia
(02) 9264 6010
NileGuide Expert tip:
Sure, the dumplings are famous, and rightly so, but try other Taiwanese delights like the minced pork with beans, or braised beef soup. And no matter what time of day or night, be prepared to queue.
Dumplings. That's it. The best in the world. You have to queue, so take a number, place your order, and wait. From humble Taiwanese beginnings, the Din Tai Fung franchise now totals more than forty outlets skirting the Pacific rim, and counting.
When your number's up, venture inside, past surgical-looking chefs nimbly at work in the open kitchen, then across a very slate floor to be seated on very wooden chairs. The equally very wooden tables are so close together, it's almost communal dining.
Before long, the drinks and food ordered while waiting outside arrive without a word. The wired up staff (all discreet ear pieces and microphones) go about their work with military precision.
The signature dish of Xiao long bao is mandatory: delicate hand-made marvels stuffed and folded 18 times to weigh 21 grams (plus or minus 0.4 grams). They come with eating instructions: Place one in your spoon and 'baptize' with the soy (1 part) and red wine vinegar (3 parts) dipping sauce. Next, poke the bulging pastry pocket with a chopstick.
This releases a 'fart' of steam from the hot broth inside, which trickles out to fill your spoon. Place a smidgen of shredded ginger on top then gulp the lot down like you would a freshly shucked oyster. Savor the flavor: sweet briny meat alongside the zesty sauce and hot broth. The delicate pastry almost dissolves in the process. Repeat at will.
To be fair, there is much more on offer at Din Tai Fung, all beautifully crafted and cooked with care, but there is no need to bother!