Thursday, December 2, 2010

Truffle Xiao Long Bao And Much More @ Din Tai Fung, The Gardens, Kuala Lumpur

In Asia, the name Din Tai Fung is synonymous with delicious dumplings (xiao long bao in particular) and Shanghainese cuisine. This chain restaurant have two outlets in Malaysia, one in The Gardens and another in Pavilion KL. A new outlet will be opening in February 2011 in Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang.

Simply the best xiao long bao...

I still remember the first time I ate xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings) at Din Tai Fung. Each morsel was a delight. With its translucent delicate skin, juicy pork filling and flavoursome broth, the xiao long bao's here are pure perfection. It set a high benchmark for xiao long baos I would find myself eating in future. Since then I have tasted numerous xiao long bao's in Malaysia, and I have to say, nobody does it quite like Din Tai Fung.

Din Tai Fung's xiao long bao includes meat, soup and a Michelin Star.

Din Tai Fung's dedication to creating the perfect xiao long bao has garnered them a Michelin Star in Hong Kong and is also ranked as one of the world's top 10 restaurants by the New York Times.

I was recently invited to the newly refurbished Din Tai Fung in The Gardens to sample their new truffle xiao long bao, chicken xiao long bao, baby xiao long bao and a new appetizer. We were hosted by the gracious Ms Lim, owner of the Malaysia franchise.

The menus here are illustrated with beautiful pictures and brief descriptions, to aid diners when making their choice.

When I arrived at 10am, there were already 8 tables seated (the restaurant just barely opened its doors). The place filled up in no time at all, and at lunch time, you will see a long queue forming outside the restaurant. Thankfully, they have a very good waiting system here, where one gets a number and waits for the number to be called. While waiting, the diners can tick off what they want on the order sheet so they get served quickly when they are seated. The management have also considerately provided drinking water and seats for those waiting.

Appetizing appetizers...

To start the meal, we were treated to a selection of Shanghainese appetizers to whet our appetite. The Chinese believe that with a bite of something cold, something sweet, something sour and something spicy, our palates are awakened to savour the next dish. With this in mind, Ms Lim has carefully selected the following appetizers for us to try.

Japanese cucumber (RM3.80), which has been pickled with garlic, red chilli, chilli oil and sesame oil was a refreshing appetizer with a nice crunch and tasted slightly spicy.

Spicy Jelly Fish (RM7.00) was another spicy appetizer served, with a nice crunchy bite to it.

The House Special Appetizer (Xiao Cai) (RM3.80) of spicy vermicelli noodles mixed with seaweed, bean sprout, dry beancurd, sesame oil and chilli oil tastes a little sourish and has quite a few different textures. In appearance, this may seem like a simple dish but in fact, the preparation process is rather laborious.

The Golden Pumpkin with Salted Egg (RM3.80) is a new appetizer introduced to the menu. This was my favourite appetizer of the lot. I loved the combination of the sweet pumpkin and salted eggs batter. Delectable!

The Stewed Beancurd with Honey Sauce (Kaofu) (RM7.00) resembles tofu puff, but tastes nothing like it. Thank God, as I dislike tofu puff very much. Instead, this had a lovely texture akin to bread. Ms Lim explains that the beancurd is imported from Shanghai and is made with high protein wheatflour. It is first fried in oil, then fried again in sugar but surprisingly, this dish is not oily at all despite being double fried. To add texture to this dish, there is black fungus (mok yee), mushroom, bamboo shoots and edamame. A very tasty dish.

We also tried the Shanghainese Drunken Chicken (RM12.80), which has been slightly modified. A whole Kampung chicken drumstick is now marinated in 2 types of cooking wine (instead of 1 previously) for 48 hours to enhance the flavours. To be honest, I am not much of a "chicken skin" person, but I braved myself and ate the skin. Surprisingly, it didn't taste too bad... in fact, the skin was crunchy due to the wine marination so it was quite pleasant to eat. The chicken meat, nicely deboned was tender and you can really taste the natural sweetness of the chicken.

And now we move on to the world famous xiao long bao...

Din Tai Fung produces consistently good xiao long baos.

Xiao long bao are served with julienned ginger.

Add 1 part soy sauce to 3 parts of vinegar to the ginger.

Din Tai Fung has introduced 3 new types of xiao long bao; the chicken xiao long bao, baby xiao long bao and truffle xiao long bao.

The chicken xiao long bao (RM9.80 for 6 pieces) was introduced to cater for the more health-conscious. It is slightly less soupy than the original xiao long bao (ie with pork filling). Similar to the original xiao long bao, each dumpling has 18 folds, delicate translucent skin and hot porky broth. Do eat it while it's hot before the skin hardens.

Delightful little things

The baby xiao long bao (RM13.80 for 12 pieces) are miniature version of the original xiao long bao. Small and cute, they are about half the size of the original and do not have the 18 folds. The folds are inverted, ie facing downwards.

Baby xiao long bao is served with a bowl of superior chicken broth which has been simmered for at least 6 hours. The soup is garnished with shredded egg yolk.

The baby xiao long bao is only available exclusively at Din Tai Fung, Pavillion outlet (serving times 2pm to 6pm weekdays and 11am-1pm weekends).

The star of the day...

Without a doubt, the star of the day was the truffle xiao long bao (RM12 for 2 pcs). It was a match made in heaven. Amazingly flavoursome, the truffle and the juicy pork filling worked in perfect harmony.

Little parcels packed full of flavour

This is what I would call a gourmet xiao long bao... everything was just perfect, from the skin to the filling to the soup. The pork filling has been mixed with a blend of white and black truffle paste to impart a slightly (but not overpowering) earthy flavour to the pork. A slice of black truffle tops the pork filling. The truffles have been sourced from France.

Eat this on its own without any vinegared ginger to fully enjoy the truffles.

As I took my first bite into the delicate morsels, the inviting scent of truffle followed by the delicious filling was simply wonderful. Gorgeous, oh so gorgeous!

Even the fried rice here is excellent. Known as Golden Rice, the rice is coated in a thin layer of egg yolk, and fried with a dash of oil for a glossy finish. The Shrimp and Pork Fried Rice (RM15) was fragrant and deliciously flavourful. The prawns were big and juicy.

Time for desserts....

The Mini Sesame Buns (RM5.50 for 3 pcs) were more dense than fluffy (in a good way) with a bitter-sweet black and white sesame paste filling imported from Taiwan.

The Yam Paste Dumplings (RM7.50 for 6 pcs) was my second favorite dish after the truffle xiao long bao. The yam paste was smooth, creamy and absolutely divine. I really loved it!

Dainty dumplings

An awesome dessert

A visit to Din Tai Fung is not complete without a peek into their open kitchen... watch those chef with their nimble hands.

Xiao long bao here are made with such attention to detail. Truly a work of art.

The chef making truffle xiao long bao.. my favorite!

Experts at work

Many thanks to Ken of and Ms Lim of Din Tai Fung for the invitation.

*Set lunch available Monday to Friday before 6pm. Priced at RM19.80++.

Opening times: 10am to 10pm daily.

Location: Din Tai Fung, Lot LG-207, Lower Ground Floor, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-2283 2292


  1. opening at Empire?? Wee!!
    I'm drooling over the truffle xiao long bao! *hungry* and golden pumpin with salted egg! Oh, I love pumpkin. Please open sooner in Empire...

  2. February will here very soon... :)

  3. Looking fwd to try the new truffle xiao long bao.. looks good :)

  4. aisay...should have gone and eat at DTF instead of Oyster King that day :(

  5. cool! i heard about this truffle xlb selling in singapore a while ago or was it foie gras xlb, maybe that should be next

  6. Fujiko: Since you love xlb, you will love the truffle ones :)

    Small Kucing: This weekend can go DTF! Oyster King very lousy ah?

  7. Joe: Foie gras xlb... that would be interesting..!

  8. Don't how exactly the truffle taste like bit the truffle XLB was flavorful~

  9. yes, when i heard that din tai fung in kl came out with truffle xiao long bao, i almost jumped up with joy. The last i had was in shanghai ding tai fung which carries one of the most comprehensive list of xiaolongbao ever- including foie gras!

  10. Augustdiners: So, have you tried the truffle xlb in KL yet? What was your favorite xlb from Shanghai DTF?

  11. I miss the chicken soup so much!

  12. Oh my..I must try it soon.. can u imagine ? I hv not stepped into DTF before! Alws thot it was atr Dragon=i and Canton-i wannabe!

  13. you're really good at describing the food. the way u describe it makes me drool. man u have to stop that! :S


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