Thursday, June 30, 2011
Din Tai Fung
BANGKOK AMAZING GOURMET
Shanghai native xiao-long-bao, literally small basket bun, is a delicacy that is well received not only in China, but (probably) all over the world; it is a type of small sized steamed bun filled with pork stuffing and its soup. To my knowledge, Shanghaiese xiao-long-bao is originated from the Nanxiang district, widely called xiao-long-mantou by locals, arguably the best in China. Whether people call it xiao-long-bao or xiao-long-mantou, it is a bun, a very small bun, but not a dumpling (jiaozi/gyoza).
The bottom line is any xiao-long-bao we eat shall taste like a bun.
Din Tai Fung, (originated in Taiwan, but now an international chain) proclaimed a xiao-long-bao specialty and its Hong Kong franchisee received one star Michelin recognition, its bun skin is thinner than other xiao-long-bao commonly available in the Greater China Region (China mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) with the help an 'innovative' recipe of leavening agent and flour mix; however, a result is that the bao (or bun) itself is tasteless, though pork fillings is decently delicious. (Imagine that spaghetti lost its durum wheat flavor and baguette does not taste like bread!) Besides the tasteless bun skin, the texture of Din Tai Fung xiao-long-bao is closer to a dumpling more than a bun. I would have no objection if it is named steamed DTF soup-filled dumplings, but definitely it is not the xiao-long-bao that I expected.
1. century eggs (a.k.a. thousand-year eggs) with garlic mousse and sauce, THB 80++
seeing is believing, look at the century eggs la!
2. braised tofu in braised sauce, THB 80++
tasteless tofu, a dish of msg and soy sauce promotion! where is the braised sauce?
3. xiao-long-bao (steamed small bun with pork filling in its soup) , THB 165++/6-pcs
odd texture, tasteless bun skin, though pork filling and its soup is good
4. steam bun filled with vegetables, THB 28++ each,
pretty good flour mix, texture and taste, at least I felt like eating a real bun
5. Din Tai Fung signature braised beef noodle in soup, THB 240++
nice broth, beef tender, but noodle didn't convince me it was hand-pulled
6. stewed bean curd, THB 100++
renowned Shanghaiese side dish, four-happiness stewed bean curd
7. fried spiced pork chop, THB 160++
heavy taste of spices, seasonings, and meat tenderizer, no pork taste at all
(pork chop without taste of pork? kidding?)
The other food served is not better than its xiao-long-bao. Take the braised tofu in warm braised sauce for example; the tofu itself is totally tasteless while the braise sauce is ultra salty. Without any hints of the aromatic flavor of Chinese five spices and other seasonings in harmony but just a single taste - salty! The signature braised beef soup noodle doesn't save its reputation, though the braised beef is tender and the soup seasoned to the right taste; however, the noodle doesn't taste like hand-pulled noodle of which it should be, but the packed preserved noodle we can easily find in any supermarket, with a tag of THB 240++ a bowl.
I have a thought that Michelin better stick to its tires business.
Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 **1/2
7/F Beacon Zone, Central World Plaza
4 Rajdamri Road (/Rama I Road)
Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
* reservations not available
Open daily : 10 am - 10 pm
Pay (food only for two): around THB 1,100