It almost seems as though a visit to Sydney isn’t complete without a visit to the highly talked about Din Tai Fung. If you don’t know already, Din Tai Fung is suppose to be the king of all Xiao Long Baos (soup-filled pork dumplings). These bite-sized dumplings are best with thin skins, a fair amount of soup and when served steaming hot. Half the fun is really just trying to pick up the dumpling with your chopsticks, and carefully placing it on your spoon without ripping the dumpling. Otherwise, the soup will spill out and that really defeats the point in eating a soup filled dumpling.
Din Tai Fung in Sydney, can be found at World Square Shopping Center, located near Chinatown. It can be accessed by walking to the middle of the center and up the stairs to the second floor. There, you will find many patrons waiting outside. As expected, there is a queue. Pretty much every Sydney guide book will mention this restaurant, followed with the title “Best Dumplings in Sydney”. But despite the popularity and the heavy queue, they are VERY well organized and efficient. Given menus to tick as we waited and buzzers for when our table was ready, we were seated within 30 minutes.
Without a question, we ordered two orders of the soup dumplings. They came out steaming hot and ready for dipping in ginger and our own mixing of soya sauce and vinegar (provided on the table). I would say the quality is on par with what I had experienced in visiting the Din Tai Fung in Seattle, WA. However, I wouldn’t agree that they are the world’s best, or even the best in Sydney. My cousin (who was dining with me) commented that the pork had a very strong flavour and that the dumplings were average. I’d have to agree.
Along with our two orders of the dumplings, we also got a small serve of hot & sour soup, some wontons in soup and the green beans with minced pork. The latter were not photographed as I didn’t really deem them to be that interesting as photo subjects. I’d say of the group, the wontons were the best. The green beans were very reminiscent of any kind of Chinese take-out veggies, and at the price they were, I’d say skip. The hot & sour soup, which is usually a favourite for me, tasted very strong of what I’m guessing is Chinese wine or vinegar which made it a bit odd.
Overall:For the Xiao Long Baos, Din Tai Fung is what you expect it to be. It's good, but not really spectacular. As many say, it is quite overrated. If you're in the area though, and have never been to a Din Tai Fung, it's worth a visit for the experience and bustling atmosphere. If you want to avoid the crowds, Din Tai Fung can also be found in the City Westfield Food Court and at The Star Food Court as upscale fast food stalls. Prices are probably the same.
*Our scoring system is out of 5. With 5 being the highest score.