We’re crazy about Mall of the Emirates’ new dumpling joint Din Tai Fung. It’s a restaurant chain with serious street cred, and their versions of Chinese snack food – dumplings, noodles, steamed buns, and simple vegetable dishes are flawless (so much so that two of the Hong Kong branches have a Michelin star).
All the praise aside for a second, we did make the mistake of going for dinner there at 7.30pm recently. Mayhem as it was just so busy. After an hour wait for our dumplings we’ve decided that 5pm will be dinner time next time we’re craving steamed goodness.
Founded in Taiwan in 1958 as a cooking oil retailer, Din Tai Fung diversified and started selling their now-mega-famous soup dumplings – xiao long bao – in the 1980s.
There are now branches in China, Hong Kong, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, the US, South Korea, Thailand and, lucky us, Dubai.
A trip to the new MOE option is not complete without eating the soup dumplings, but you need to do so properly to get the full experience, so here are the five steps to eat xiao long bao:
1. Sprinkle some soy sauce, Chinese vinegar and chopped ginger into a small saucer.
2. Using chopsticks, carefully pick up the dumpling and gently dip it into the sauce. (Warning: these thin-skinned parcels are very delicate, so handle with extreme care).
3. Place the xiao long bao on to your spoon, then bite a small hole on the side of the dumpling.
4. Let the broth empty on to the spoon or slurp the soupy goodness straight from the dumpling. (Warning: the soup will be very hot so consume with care).
5. Gobble it whole and repeat steps one to five until the basket of buns is empty. Then order another round.
Illustrations by Freddie Colinares.