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Din Tai Fung

644 George Street, Central Business District, Sydney, Australia

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  • +61 2 9264 6010
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A Taiwanese chain with branches in Japan, Korea, China and further afield, this restaurant specialises in soup dumplings. The original restaurant popped up in the 1980s in Taipei (the original owner previously being in the cooking oil business, originally selling dumplings as a sideline). This particular branch is at the first floor level of the World Square shopping centre in Sydney's central business district. There are no reservations at lunch here and the queues are legendary, but on a Monday lunch at 11:30 I walked straight in. The premises are large, with the dumpling chefs visible behind a glass partition. This is a casual place, with no tablecloths and paper napkins. On one wall is a large display of bamboo steamers. The menu has pictures of the dishes, and you place your order via ticking boxes on a paper order form. It is worth saying that portions are large, and although I ordered several dishes to try, two would be more than adequate per person.

The dumplings themselves are made with a cube of pork stock placed inside the dumpling; during steaming the pork jelly liquified and forms the soup inside the dumpling. These are made to order, and my pork dumpling was indeed very good. The dumpling itself is quite large, with pieces of pork inside plus the liquid pork stock. The pork was tender and the stock pleasant (14/20).

Hot and sour soup was pleasant if unexciting (12/20) but noodles were excellent, having unusually good texture (14/20). These came with strips of deep fried pork. I also enjoyed chicken rice, the rice grains distinct and carefully cooked with egg, while the deep fried chicken pieces were well seasoned (13/20).

Service was dazzling efficient, with dishes coming within moments of ordering. The entire process of being seated, ordering, dishes arriving, eating, clearing and bill payment took 35 minutes flat. The bill came to AUD 45 (£29) but this was with far more food than a sensible person could eat, so a realistic cost per person is perhaps half this. I enjoyed the meal here: it is simple food but very well made. I hope this chain's international expansion takes it to London at some point.

 

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