04 February 2011

Din Tai Fung: Chinese New Year at World Square, Sydney (2 Feb 2011)

Corner of Liverpool, George and Pitt Streets, Sydney NSW 2000

Din Tai Fung
World Square Shopping Centre
Level 1, Shop 11.04 , 644 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Kung Hei Fat Choi

Thanks to Alana Chetner from PPR for inviting me along to see the crowd stopping of the award winning stilt-jumping lion dance troupe, Jin Wu Koon followed by a generous banquet style lunch at Din Tai Fung. The stilt-jumping was very impressive and I couldn’t believe how high they stood above the enthralled crowd below. The deafening drum and cymbals certainly woke up the shoppers throughout the World Square as the lion dance troupe paraded past shops, up and down escalators and collected ceremonious lettuces along the way including outside Din Tai Fung. Hot Dollar even gave a red packaged donation outside their store — let’s hope it was more than a dollar. Check out the video below of the lion dance through Din Tai Fung to the delight of customers — all cameras were quickly out to capture the festivities.

After running along side the fast paced lion dance it was time for a refreshing Lychee mint juice ($6) and what may be considered Sydney’s most precise looking dumplings. I’ve previously tried the Pork Dumpling Xiao Long Bao ($10.80 8 pieces) when they first opened and to be totally honest I thought back then the filling wasn’t as flavoursome as the cheaper Sea Bay Chinese Dumpling on Pitt Street, Chinese Noodle Restaurant in Haymarket or Shanghai Night in Ashfield. I’ve since been told that being Taiwanese in style they can tend to be a bit bland compared to others so it definitely helps to make a dipping sauce of your choice from fresh ginger, vinegar, soy sauce or chilli oil to excite the taste buds. I did however discover the Prawn & pork wonton dipped in a spicy sauce ($8.80 6 pieces) which were comparatively bursting with flavour and reminded me of the Zi-Zhuan dry wonton I once enjoyed from Shanghai Night — I'd definitely have these again.

Our banquet continued with so many dishes including a fairly peppery Hot & Sour soup with shredded pork ($7.80 regular), tender Calamari rings lightly battered ($7.80) and a light and slightly crunchy textured Din Tai Fung Vegetarian Delight salad ($3.80). Other precisely made dumplings were the Crab Meat & Crab Roe with Pork Dumpling ($17.80 8 pieces), Vegetarian Jiao Zi ($8.80 6 pieces) and Prawn & Pork Packed in a Parcel Shao Mai ($9.80 4 pieces) which seemed to hold the most broth inside. By this time everyone was getting quite full mainly due to the very hot weather but mains were still to be served. The tasty and crispy coated Crumbed Chicken Fillet ($7.80) was probably my cholesterols worst nightmare. An unusual combination of Jumbo Prawns with Pineapple ($22.80) seemed to work but I probably would have enjoyed it more without the liberal use of mayonnaise looking white sauce on top. The Sesame Noodle ($10.80) was certainly more mild than the Dan Dan Noodle ($10.80) although I think I’d prefer the noodles in a soup which would have made the dish less sauce heavy and to help keep the noodles from clinging together. The challenging looking Silken Tofu with Pork Floss & Century Egg ($6.80) is certainly an acquired taste — I still have yet to fully appreciate it as I’m not used to eating pork floss but it does have its fans.

A refreshing Watermelon juice ($5.50) helps wash down the savouries in preparation for desserts. I think the Golden Red Bean Bread ($5.80 2 rolls) is worth trying if you like red bean which I prefer to the less sweet Golden Taro Bread ($5.80 2 rolls) although one must wonder why they serve them with a piece of parsley on the plate. My Asian/Western combo of Green Tea and Cookies & Cream ice cream ($6.80 2 scoops) is probably sacrilege and I’d probably have one or the other next time or the Black Seasame ice cream ($3.80) on its own. The service was pretty efficient and at times was hard to keep up with the pace of the dishes being served.

Other food blog reviews:

PROS: Free festival samplings in The Square until 11 Feb (check website for event details), Precisely made dumplings, Interesting selection of dishes, A good place for sharing dishes
CONS: Dumplings aren’t particularly robust in flavour, Prepare to wait for a table when busy, Shanghainese style Drunken Chicken and Triple Mango Crushed Ice were sold out
MUST TRY: Lychee mint juice, Prawn & pork wonton dipped in a spicy sauce, Pork Dumpling Xiao Long Bao to compare to all others, Golden Red Bean Bread

Lion Dance troupe and parade

Lion Dance celebration
Relaxing before the big event

Lettuce being hung outside Din Tai Fung for Lion Dance

Professional photographers getting ready and checking out each others gear before the event

World Square Chinese New Year promotional hostesses

Lion Dance Troupe and Photographers

Group photo time

Musicians with drum and cymbals

The Square drawing a crowd

Lion Dance Troupe perform on stilts

Lion Dance on the move

Parading outside and around World Square

Past the shops

Up escalators

Visiting the One Dollar shop for a red packet

Through the shopping mall

Back up escalators

Making a very loud noise

Din Tai Fung Restaurant
Table condiments of vinegar, soy sauce, chilli oil, pepper to create your own sauce

Guide to enjoy the Xiao Long Bao

Lychee mint juice ($6)

Tina from Eat, Booze & Shoes and Simon from The Heart of Food captivated by the Avocado Juice

Avocado juice ($6.50)

Hot & Sour soup with shredded pork ($7.80 regular)

Prawn & pork wonton dipped in a spicy sauce ($8.80 6 pieces)

Calamari lightly battered and served with a dipping sauce ($7.80)

Din Tai Fung Vegetarian Delight-Vegetarian salad with seaweed, dried tofu, glass noodle tossed with a light sesame dressing ($3.80)

Pork Dumpling Xiao Long Bao ($10.80 8 pieces)

Picking up the Pork Dumpling Xiao Long Bao — be careful not to break it

Fresh ginger with vinegar for dumpling dipping

Crab Meat & Crab Roe with Pork Dumpling ($17.80 8 pieces)

Vegetarian Jiao Zi ($8.80 6 pieces)

Prawn & Pork Packed in a Parcel Shao Mai ($9.80 4 pieces)

Crumbed Chicken Fillet Taiwanese Speciality ($7.80)

Sesame Noodle non spicy ($10.80)

Jumbo Prawns with Pineapple ($22.80)

Dan Dan Noodle spicy ($10.80)

Silken Tofu with Pork Floss & Century Egg ($6.80)

Watermelon juice ($5.50)

Golden Red Bean Bread ($5.80 2 rolls)

Golden Taro Bread ($5.80 2 rolls)

Green Tea and Cookies & Cream ice cream ($6.80 2 scoops)

Black Sesame ice cream ($3.80)

Bamboo steamer feature wall


Inside seating

Outside restaurant

PPR Media Kit goodie box — apparently the goldfish offering is edible, rice cake I've been told

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Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon


joey@FoodiePop said...

Lychee mint juice looks and sounds so refreshing, especially right now!

I had to look twice when I saw the calamari; seems so incongruous with the other dishes.

LOL@ "Professional photographers .... checking out each others gear"

Shanks said...

DTF's Lychee & Mint juice is sooo good, perfect for the weather we've been having. Great coverage Simon, I love watching lion dance. Goong Hei Fat Choi!!

Monica ^o^ said...

Happy Chinese New Year ^_^
The goldfish (is it jelly ?) is very cute ! The deep fried taro roll and the vegetarian side dish are my must order at Din Tai Fung

OohLookBel said...

The stilt dancing looks incredible. I was sorry to miss it, esp. the lunch! Hope you had a nice new year.

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Cool fish! And great shots of the lion dancers - looks like the chasing was worthwhile :)

susan said...

Both of those juices look incredibly refreshing. I have seen so many dumpling posts lately which is making me crave them!

jenius said...

Well captured! Wish I didn't have to miss it!

sugarpuffi said...

i steamed a fish rice cake as well! but it collapsed and lost its shape :(

Happy New Year!

Makan1976 said...

The pictures are so nice and colourful. The fish looks so yummy and beautiful. never had the chance to check it out at the restaurant here, as it is always so packed. Dumplings & drinks looks fabulous. Thanks.

Dolly said...

HNY to u simon !!

oh din tin fung... those memories!

eat well !


Skye Craig said...

I would love to try the lychee and mint juice... scrumptious! Happy new year! :)

MissDissent said...

Ah I was meant to go to this! Now I feel like I have been! Awesome documentation Simon!

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi joey, for a hot weather drink it's pretty good. i know what you mean about the calamari hehe

hi shanks, i love how they give the lion so much character in its movements.

hi monica, i've learnt it's rice cake. i haven't had before.

hi bel, would have been great to see you there. hope it's a great year for you!

hi tina, i certainly got my exercise that day running around with the lion dance :-)

hi susan, Sydney eaters certainly love their dumplings.

hi jenius, pity you missed it. was a fun day!

hi sugarpuffi, i hope the rice cake will turn out ok.

hi Makan1976, it certainly gets popular although the lines don't seem as crazy as Mamak. but i think the turnover is fairly quick so hopefully you wouldn't have to wait too long if you do end up lining up.

hi holly, happy chinese new year to you too! hope it's a fantastic and yummy one :-)

hi skye, happy chinese new year to you too. hope you get to try the mint and lychee drink one day :-)

hi MissDissent, that's a shame you couldn't make it. would have been good to finally meet you :-)

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