A new stage to take a bao…

It’s hard to imagine more humble origins to what is now a Taiwanese cuisine leviathan, but it all began as a part-cooking-oil-retailer-part-restaurant in the early 1970s. Din Tai Fung can now be found in over 170 locations worldwide. And passing by any of its branches here in Dubai, you’re likely to see packed dining halls, occasional queues and dumpling devotees devouring the brand’s iconic steamed bun, the xiaolongbao.

The latest outpost of the DTF empire, is a new licensed venue on Bluewaters Dubai for those who love their baos with a side of beer. On the night of our reservation, we made a beeline to The Wharf next to Ain Dubai and took the elevator to the first floor to find it bustling with diners gearing up to enjoy the start of their weekend.

Din Tai Fung Bluewaters

Once seated, we were handed two menus, one for food and the other for drinks. We opted for their signature cocktails – Tai (Dhs75), a strong cocktail with sake, pink dragon fruit, a lemon slice sprinkled with glitter; and Fung (Dhs75), a fruit drink with créme de violette-liqueur, blueberries, lemon and strawberry puree.

This isn’t our first Din Tai Fung rodeo, and although we’re familiar with the food menu, there’s so much attractive fare, we spent an inordinate amount of time whittling down our order (made slightly easier by the mark sheet).

Din Tai Fung

The first of our dishes, the six-piece chicken xiaolongbao (Dhs39), arrived in what we’re convinced is record time, which we gleefully dunked into the soy sauce, vinegar and shredded ginger mix made by our waitress, and given extra pep by the Schezwan sauce we ordered on the side. The next dish, chicken lettuce wraps (Dhs42), is laid on the table as we’re still chewing through the buns. Carefully picking up the crunchy lettuce, we invite a bite and make ‘mmm’ noises at the burst of juicy hot minced chicken and cool lettuce on our palate.

Din Tai Fung may be known for its dumplings, but the next dish, the wok-fried lobster with almond brittle (Dhs235) was the dish of the night. Created especially for the Din Tai Fung Bluewaters branch, the lobster is perfectly spiced and crispy, and topped with a slightly sweet almond brittle to counteract the spicy notes. It is a triumph of form and flavour, one seafood fans cannot afford to leave without trying.

Din Tai Fung Bluewaters food

We made a mental note to try the noodles next time after being slightly underwhelmed by the palate potency of the black truffle egg fried rice (Dhs85). Though, if we have to leave you with one piece of advice, it would be to tuck into the dishes when they’re piping hot to capitalise on the full delicious flavour.

For dessert, we were urged to try the chocolate xiaolongbao (Dhs34) featuring a mix of Nutella and Hershey. And it genuinely was a naughty rapture of gooey chocolate. A fitting end, to bao out on.

What’s On Verdict: A great dining experience with added benefits, means we’re even more down To Fung.

Din Tai Fung, The Wharf, Bluewaters Island, Dubai. Monday to Thursday 11am to 12am, Friday to Sunday, 11am to 2am. Tel: (0)4 288 7786. @dintaifungbw

Images: Supplied