Monday, October 8, 2012

Din Tai Fung - Bangkok

We were scheduled to leave Bangkok. Sister Stonethrower and Senior Mrs. Stonethrower had to fly to Delhi. Their flight was early, in other words at a more sensible time. This left us time for a sumptuous lunch. Sister Stonethrower suggested Din Tai Fung a Taiwan based Dim Sum chain. She had eaten at the Singapore branch and enjoyed her meal. I had written about this in an early post on Hong Kong. The Hong Kong branch had a single Michelin star. So off we went to have our final meal in Bangkok. A typical Chinese lunch.

Din Tai Fung is located on the top floor of the Central World Mall in Siam Bangkok. It’s a large restaurant and we reached slap bang in the middle of lunch hour. On walking up to the desk, I was given a clipboard [you know the kind we used when going to an exam in school] on which was the menu and a pen. I had to mark out what we wanted. The whole process was delightful, numbers co-related to a dish and all dishes were helpfully photographed and put on a large poster. So we set about ordering what we wanted. Mind you this ordering process was done with no help from a waiter, the descriptions of the dishes were accurate and the photographs helped. If this works at the tens of thousands of MacDonald’s, Burger Kings and KFC’s why should it not work in a Chinese restaurant? Logic. That is the essential ingredient. Indians may have invented the zero, but logic is not our strong point. Before I digress let’s get on. Within minutes our table was ready, so I handed in the order and sat at the table.

Senior Mrs. Stonethrower wanted to have a Lemongrass Juice to drink. This was promptly ordered. I must say it looked nice.

Din Tai Fung is most famous for its Xiao Long Bao. These are really delightful steamed dumplings. They are very popular in Shanghai where you get them everywhere and some restaurants serve them with a straw. There is a reason for this. Finely chopped pork is stuffed into the casing. The casing is normally made of refined flour [Maida]. Then a spoon of pork aspic, jellied pork stock is put into the casing which is then closed and steamed. The result is that the minced pork cooks and the jelly turns liquid. So when you bite into the dumpling you get a mouthful of delicious pork soup with the minced pork. In Shanghai they sometimes make a very large dumpling which you cannot stuff into your mouth in one bite. So you use the straw to suck out the pork soup and then set about eating the dumpling.  [6 of these dumplings cost THB 145 which is about Rs 250 + 17% tax and service charge]. Do keep a note of these prices.

Xiao Long Bao

Also ordered were Shrimp Dumplings  [6 of these dumplings cost THB 165 which is about Rs 290 + 17% tax and service charge] and Spicy Pork Dumplings  [6 of these dumplings cost THB 160 which is about Rs 280 + 17% tax and service charge]. The good old Kailan which was the most expensive [THB 200 which is about Rs 350 + 17% tax and service charge] was ordered which arrived with an Oyster Sauce and Burnt Garlic. Totally delicious.

Shrimp Dumplings

Spicy Pork Dumplings

Kailan with Oyster Sauce & Garlic

A deep fried Prawn Pancake  [THB 195 which is about Rs 340 + 17% tax and service charge] was also ordered. This was an intriguing dish. This was basically a Sesame Prawn on Toast which we know and love, but without the toast. No waste of time if you know what I mean, just delicious prawn deep fried without toast/bread to bulk it up.

Prawn Pancake

The meal would not have been complete without some noodle to fill us up. HRH the Queen of Kutch desired Dan Dan Noodles  [THB 150 which is about Rs 265 + 17% tax and service charge]. These are spicy and have a delightful Sesame, Soy and Chilli sauce. I got myself a Soup Noodle with additional dumplings  [THB 195 which is about Rs 340 + 17% tax and service charge]. I just love soup noodles.

Soup Noodles with Dumplings

Dan Dan Noodles

We had slightly under ordered.  The consensus was a Prawn Fried Rice  [THB 225 which is about Rs 400 + 17% tax and service charge]. This was outstanding. Juicy Prawns nuggets of golden Egg, flecks of green Spring Onion and that delightful short grained Oriental rice. One of the better fried rice dishes I have eaten.

Prawn Fried Rice

All in all, a most delightful meal. Top quality Chinese food at a price of Rs. 900/- per head. Ok we were eating in a Mall but the food was top quality. This was very good quality Dim Sum and Noodles. The quality of the Dim Sum from fillings and casings to actual formation and crimping was of a high quality not available anywhere in India except in really expensive restaurants. I have set out the price of each dish. Is something at Mainland China even close to this in quality? I think not. The question of matching the price simply does not arise. Mainland China would be vastly more expensive.

Do eat here if you are in Bangkok. And, no, you do not have to eat here because you are sick of Thai Food. This is good enough to eat at by itself.

Now you know why Bangkok?   

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