On Monday night, on the recommendation/early scouting by Evan and Brian, we had dinner at the Din Tai Fung outpost in Xintiandi. For a restaurant that has had the honor of being called New York Times’ 10 Best in the World (or something like that), it had a lot to live up to. Being a vegetarian, I couldn’t partake in the xiaolongbao (小笼包), but did have both the steamed vegetable dumplings and the steamed vegetable buns (along with some various noodles and steamed deserts).
The dumplings were extraordinary, their wrappers being the most impressive part (translucent and supple) while the filling was fantastic. However, the tour de force for the vegetarian eater was definitely the steamed buns. The shell was both large and doughy but possible to be picked up with a set of chopsticks. The shell when combined with the vegetable and tofu filling made for a fantastic entrée quite unlike any I’ve ever had before.
So does Din Tai Fung live up to the reputation? Since I wasn’t able to have the signature dish, I can’t say but from what I ate the dumplings rivaled any I’ve had before while the buns were by far and away the best I’ve ever had.