Din Tai Fung Hong Kong vs Din Tai Fung Singapore

Food + Beverage

Din Tai Fung is a popular chain of Chinese restaurants serving Shanghainese style noodles, dumplings, and other simple Northern Chinese dishes. Are the outlets in Hong Kong as good as the outlets in Singapore?

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Din Tai Fung, a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong specializing in noodles and steamed dumplings. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

 

On a press trip to Singapore three years ago I was taken to a Chinese restaurant that I fell in love with: Din Tai Fung.

I liked the food at the Chinese eatery so much that on my only free meal before leaving Singapore, I went to another outlet of the same chain for lunch.

Fortunately, it was located near my hotel. I had a mid-afternoon flight to catch.

There are currently four Din Tai Fung outlets in Hong Kong: one in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island, two in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, and one in Shatin in the New Territories.

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Could the food in Hong Kong be as good as the food was in Singapore?

I decided to find out.

I had dinner with an old friend at the Din Tai Fung outlet in Causeway Bay.

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A chef at Din Tai Feng in Causeway Bay accommodatingly poses for the camera. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

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The chef continues rolling out his dough with his hands. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

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Special steamed pork dumplings, a.k.a. xiao long bao, a popular Shanghainese dish. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

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Pan-fried shrimp and pork dumplings, a.k.a. pot stickers. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

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Shanghainese wild vegetables and diced bean curd. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

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Deep-fried chicken and shrimp spring rolls. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

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Vermicelli in soup with fried bean curd and pork rolls. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

The menu runs from appetizers and soups to buns, won ton, vegetables, fried rice, and desserts.

But the focus is on dumplings and noodles.

My dining companion and I shared orders of special steamed pork dumplings (xiao long bao), pan fried shrimp and pork dumplings (pot stickers), and Shanghai wild vegetables and diced bean curd.

Still hungry, we added an order of deep-fried chicken and shrimp spring rolls.

My dining companion also had a bowl of vermicelli soup with fried bean curd (tofu),  and I had  noodles with minced pork and bean sauce, a.k.a. zha jiang mian.

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I consumed a glass of white wine. My companion stuck to tea.

The most attractively presented dish, the pan fried shrimp and pork dumplings, was surprisingly the biggest disappointment.

Not only was it difficult to pry the dumplings from the thin sheet of fried dough they were attached to, they were also not very flavourful.

Everything else was excellent, the prices were reasonable (the bill came to HK$462, including one glass of white wine and service charge), and I will definitely go back.

The Verdict

But was the food as good at the outlet in Hong Kong as it was in Singapore?

It was good, but it was not AS good as I remember it in Singapore. And neither was the presentation, as these two photos will attest.

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Noodles with minced pork and bean sauce, a.k.a. zha jiang mian, at Din Tai Fung Chinese restaurant in Singapore. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

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Noodles with minced pork and bean sauce, a.k.a. zha jiang mian, at Din Tai Fung Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

While the food was essentially the same in Hong Kong as is Singapore, there just seemed to be less attention to detail.

Notice, for example, how the noodles in Singapore were carefully rolled out into the bowl.

If I remember correctly, there were also more condiments on the table in Singapore than in Hong Kong.

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It is traditional to dip Northern Chinese dishes such as steamed dumplings in a combination  of vinegar, soy sauce, and chili sauce (which each diner prepares to his own liking) so I was surprised that there was no chili sauce on the table.

Many people also like to add vinegar and/or chili sauce to their noodles or soups.

Din Tai Fung was established in 1972. In 1993, the New York Times ranked it was one of the world’s top 10 gourmet restaurants.

There are now Din Tai Fung outlets in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States.

And for the record, ‘din’ should be pronounced ‘ding’.

In 2010, the chain’s first Hong Kong branch was awarded one Michelin star in the French food guide’s premier Hong Kong edition.

Michelin will release its first Singapore food guide in the second half of 2016. It will be interesting to see how Din Tai Fung fares.

If the Hong Kong branches got one Michelin star, surely the branches in Singapore are worthy of two!

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Where

Din Tai Fung, G/F 68 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Telephone: (852) 3160-8998.

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