Sunday, September 9, 2007
I think I've dined at Ding Tai Fung for half a dozen times now and each time I leave with a satisfied grin on my face.
Up until today I've gone to the one in Shin Kong Place, an exclusive shopping mall complete with every designer label you'd wish you could buy if you had the money. Hence the shops are all empty.
But the other Ding Tai Fung restaurant is in an off-the-beaten path place in Dongzhimen, in the north east side of the city. It's at a turn off from the main street and interestingly enough there are many other restaurants there too.
Automatic sliding glass doors open at your arrival and because I booked a table the day before, we were seated upstairs. Diners who want to be seen probably request the ground floor.
We were seated at a booth, which, unfortunately is not ergonomically designed. The seats are too far away from the table, forcing you to lean forward so that the food won't drop into your lap.
But other than that the service is attentive, efficient and fast.
We ordered dried tofu that was braised in a sweet soy sauce with a sprinkle of edamame beans; a portion of drunken chicken that kept a nice delicate wine flavour; and finely chopped spinach and tofu.
Of course we feasted on xiaolong bao, the pork dumplings wrapped in a delicate skin, dunked in a soup stock before adding vinegar and slices of ginger to pop into our hungry mouths.
Another new favourite is xiaolong bao with hairy crab meat. We also had a bowl of braised beef with tendon in a clear broth with noodles. The noodles were cooked al dente and the beef tender, but not much taste.
Finally for dessert, a pair of steamed sesame buns, white on the outside, and finely ground black sesame filling inside.
Ding Tai Fung is so consistently good I could almost eat here everyday -- with a few workouts in between.