Din Tai Fung is an international chain based in Taipai. They specialise in the art of dumplings, and have a reputation for pulling ques globewide. Do their dumplings warrant the hype, or do they leave you down in the dumps?
The service area from a different angle
Even as a local, I only visit star foodcourt with reluctance. Sure, the standard is high across the board. However it's got about as much soul as the owners of Tabcorp. The numbing atmosphere requires you to block everything out but the food at hand.
We arrived to a que which warranted the reputation. Thankfully, you can occupy yourselves by watching the dumplings being sculpted though a big glass window. It's a nice way to let you know what's behind the food you're about to gorge.
Décor is not paramount when you're dining in a food court. Nonetheless, there's a slick design to this place, with gold plaques and black tiles. We ordered the shrimp and pork wontans with noodles and spicy sauce, along with the the fried chicken with noodle soup. The menu was diverse, offering a wealth of dumplings and noodle options. They also offer bottles of soy and vinegar at the front counter, as well a signature chilli oil. With my penchant for strong cuisines, I stocked up on all of the above.
The different array of sauces available
The food arrived fast. I got to work on the chopped fried chicken and noodle soup. The chicken was sensational: juicy meat inside a cornflake-esque shell. This said, it didn't work with the soup. If it were thrown in a quality bun, it could comfortably put the colonel to shame, but here it felt mismatched. The soup was also too watery. Despite attacking it liberally with the condiments above, I could not bring out any real sense of flavour.
A glimpse of my Din Tai Fung experience
On the other end of the spectrum, the noodles in spicy sauce had oodles of character. The base was a bed of noodles, topped with wontons and a rich spicy sauce. It had sourness of vinegar, the bite of chilli, and the numbing effect of sechuan spices. As for the dumplings, they were everything you could ask for; juicy and fresh. The prawns and shrimp insides were a long stretch from the bigmac paddy fillings you find in your average dumplings. I'd advise towards getting entrees for those with vibrant appetites, as the dishes were fairly small.
More culinary fare
For those in search of ambience, I suggest looking elsewhere. But for those wanting quick and convenient dumplings, this is your one stop shop.
Din Tai Fung at The Star
Where: 80 Pyrmont St Pyrmont NSW
Why: Delightful dumplings at an affordable price
Cost: $10-15 for mains