Of Dumplings and Rice and Din Tai Fung

The site of this always makes my entire family smile.

To those of you who have experienced Din Tai Fung and do not live within 200 miles of one, I apologize in advance (I say 200 miles because I know very well that most people would drive 200+ miles at least once a year to get the DTF fix). I would mail you some if I could. I really would because I get your longing. I get it so much that since living in Taiwan in 2006/07, we have set a standard for countries where we will live – There must be a Din Tai Fung.

Din Tai Fung is not uniquely Malaysian. It’s Taiwanese. It’s L and R’s favorite restaurant by far and as most know, from the time the food arrives on the table until the table is cleared is about a solid 15 min of desperation. Chopsticks fly around the table at lightning speed as one inhales a dumpling from the middle of the table, a mouthful of green beans from the opposite end, a spoonful of perfect fried rice from the communal plate that by a pure stroke of luck was set in front of you by one of the food delivery aunties. Xie to the Xie auntie. You knew what you were doing when you came to my table! You don’t ask anyone to pass you anything. You would never be so foolish. The food may disappear by the time it reaches you otherwise!

What makes the food so special? I have no clue. I seriously don’t, though I assume it may be crack…Or MSG. The dumplings are stuffed with juicy pork filling that oozes soup at first bite. Draped with impossibly thin strips of ginger that have been bathing in a pool of black vinegar, these little pockets of love make my children lose the plot if they are not ladled onto their plates fast enough.

My eldest has taken to special ordering the pork buns and my youngest is a huge fan of the strips of ginger. Before the food arrives you will find him demanding one strip after another that he gingerly chews on until the food makes its appearance.

Here are some photos as I’m feeling particularly cruel today.

The site of this always makes my entire family smile.

The site of this always makes my entire family smile.

The dumpling kitchen. Where the magic happens.

The dumpling kitchen. Where the magic happens.

Oh here there pure steamed goodness. Called Xia Long Bao, these are a Shanghainese specialty.

Oh hey there you pure steamed goodness. Called Xia Long Bao, these are a Shanghainese specialty.

I told you I'm feeling cruel. Can't you just savor the flavor?

I told you I’m feeling cruel. Can’t you just savor the flavor?

These xiao long bao have a spicy kick.

These xiao long bao have a spicy kick.

I think the black vinegar is what I'm really fond of at this place. I would put it in my cornflakes if allowed.

I think the black vinegar is what I’m really fond of at this place. I would put it in my cornflakes if allowed.

Drenching the sliced ginger in black vinegar goodness.

Drenching the sliced ginger in black vinegar goodness.

Fried rice with pork chop.

Fried rice with pork chop.

L's new favorite. The pork bun.

L’s new favorite. The pork bun.

There was a period of time where DTF couldn't find a quality supplier of green beans. A mini riot happened every time a customer was told they didn't yet have the green beans for sale.

There was a period of time when DTF couldn’t find a quality supplier of green beans. A mini riot happened every time a customer was told they didn’t yet have the green beans for sale.