I remember being blown away the first time I tried Din Tai Fung (DTF HAHA) in Sydney, 2012. It was the first time my tastebuds had tasted the true soup explosion of a well prepared Xiao Long Bao (XLB) and my life changed. The skin was feather thin but held the precious soup and pork filling together in a neat package. The flavour was bold and delicious. The Perfect Xiao Long Bao.
This time however, whilst they were still good tasting dumplings, it definitely had fallen from grace. Not worth the price, and not better than any other good quality XLB out there. The skin was still thinner than most other dumplings, which means the flavour comes across stronger and is less diluted, but they are no longer anything special, just another mass produced dumpling.
The Gem Dumplings (limited!) were obviously a novelty, and so I just haaaad to try it. There wasn’t a lot of soup filling inside, like their signature dumplings, and to their credit, their stated flavours matched the actual flavours.
- Green Salad – quite alright, a smattering of asian steamed winter veg and seaweed strips; somewhat dry.
- Golden Corn – thick mixture of starchy corn puree and real corn, like a sweet corn soup dumpling, but not as good
- Pink Seafood – closer to a normal XLB, a nice filling with more soup than the previous two dumpling flavours
- Yellow Cheese – actually had a pork filling coated in mozzarella cheese, surprisingly not bad
- Red Bolognese – exactly how you’d imagine Bolognese sauce in a XLB would taste like
- BBQ Pork – a semi diluted BBQ sauce in a soup dumpling, didn’t really enjoy that one
- Garlic Sauce – very strange, thought it would be a XLB with extra garlic, but it turned out to be a strange tangy garlic sauce mix, did not like
The Pork Bun was a disappointment; a very average pork filling with barely any taste. And the dough. Wow. Tasteless and dry, as compared to the usual fluffy soft white bao dough that most are used to. Usually I prefer the bao compared to the filling, but definitely not this time.
The Soya Bean milk was very nice, it definitely tasted home made.
Golden Lava Bun (lao sha bao) was incredibly disappointing as well. The same dry dough for the outer bao, and the inside was too grainy and custardy rather than sweet, buttery golden insides.
The Green Tea Ice Cream wasn’t bad, but was a little too icy.
TL;DR Skip, especially since they’ve recently opened in Melbourne.