Din Tai Fung opens at SM Megamall
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You never forget the first time you tried Din Tai Fung.
My first time was in 2009 during a Louis Vuitton junket in Taiwan.
Louis Vuitton only takes us to good restaurants, so the fact that we were brought there seemed like a good sign.

Din Tai Fung

Prior to this, I had never heard of xiao long bao.

Pork Xiao Long bao

“They are small miracles—plump, round spheres, soft yet firm to the touch, delicately fragranced. When you pop one into your mouth, it bursts into a mouthful of broth, transforming the filling of meat and aromatics into a loose, savory purée that melts away like pork-scented air,” wrote Jonathan Gold, Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic of the Los Angeles Times, about Din Tai Fung’s xiao long bao.

Here’s a picture of the instruction guide we were given in Taiwan.

How to eat xiao long bao

That was in June 2009. A month later I was back with Jeroen—at Din Tai Fung in Singapore

Din Tai Fung at Wisma Atria

Every time we travel and see a Din Tai Fung, we try to eat there. This was in Hong Kong, 2010.

Cooks, Din Tai Fung

With all the food concepts coming to Manila, it was only a matter of time before Din Tai Fung hit our shores.
Last December 8, Din Tai Fung finally opened its first restaurant in the Philippines at SM Megamall’s Fashion Hall.
Luckily, we know the owners and got invited to the grand opening. The first thing you’ll see is a window up front where you can watch the dumpling makers at work.

Din Tai Fung at SM Megamall

We were greeted by Taiwanese and Filipino hostesses who lined the entrance along with tons of security guards.

Din Tai Fung at SM Megamall

“The President must be here,” Grace said as we were led inside the huge restaurant.
True enough, there he was, seated with The Moment Group’s Eliza Antonio, Presidential candidate Mar Roxas, and Manila Economic Cooperation Office director, Manny Dimaculangan, who helped bring Din Tai Fung to the Philippines.

Din Tai Fung at SM Megamall

It’s no secret that Din Tai Fung (DTF) is one of the most difficult franchises to acquire.
According Forbes magazine, Din Tai Fung receives and rejects as many as 20 letters a week from prospective franchisees.

Din Tai Fung in the Philippines is owned by the Moment Group, which owns numerous restaurants such as Manam, Linguini Fini Manila, Ooma, and Mecha Uma, among others. The group’s founding members are Eliza Antonino, Abba Napa, and Jon Syjuco.
As part of the requirements, the team flew to Taiwan for the required six-month training in both culinary technique and customer service, working both the kitchen and the floor.
Eliza recalls the time she spent in Taiwan: “We trained there for six whole months. All 20 of us were on the floor, in the front and the back of the kitchen, working 12-hour shifts. It was gruelling, but it was the most exciting time of my life. I’d never learned so much in such a short span of time.”

Eliza Antonio and Mr. Warren Yang
Eliza Antonino with Din Tai Fung owner, Mr. Warren Yang at the opening

Here’s what we enjoyed at the opening: the truffled xiao long bao—no dipping sauce necessary

Truffle and Pork Xiao Long Bao

Salted fish fried rice

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and the prawns with salted egg yolk are to die for!

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Here’s what I want to come back for: chicken wings in shrimp paste

Chicken Wings in Shrimp Paste

Cold chicken with scallions

Cold Chicken with Scallions

Crab roe and pork xiao long bao

Crab Roe and Pork Xiao Long Bao

Crispy shrimp and pork wonton

Crispy Shrimp and Pork Wonton

Deep Fried Chicken and Shrimp Spring Roll

Deep Fried Chicken and Shrimp Spring Roll

Fried Rice with Sweet Garlic and Scallions

Fried Rice with Sweet Garlic and Scallions

Shrimp Fried Rice

Shrimp Fried Rice

Steamed Shrimp and Pork Xiao Mai

Steamed Shrimp and Pork Xiao Mai

Stir-fried Chinese Kangkong

Stir-fried Chinese Kangkong

Wait. There’s more. View the menu HERE.
The thing is, it’s going to be hard to go back because the lines are going to be crazy.

About:
Founded by Bingyi Yang in the late 1950s, Din Tai Fung started as a shop selling cooking oil in Taiwan.
In the ’70s, Mr. Yang and his wife started selling xiao long bao, or steamed soup-filled dumplings. When it developed a strong following, the store transitioned into a full-service restaurant.

Since then, Din Tai Fung has accumulated numerous accolades, including the distinction of being hailed by The New York Times as one of the top 10 restaurants in the world in 1993 and number one on The Daily Meal’s “101 Best Restaurants in Asia” list in 2013.
To top it all off, a Michelin star has been awarded to Din Tai Fung’s Hong Kong branch for five consecutive years since 2010.

Today, Din Tai Fung is known for serving the most widely recognized xiao long bao in the world, with 119 branches in 14 countries—including the US, Australia, Japan, Dubai, and now, the Philippines.
To know more, go to http://dintaifungph.com

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  • mintmocha

    Try the crispy beef!

    [Reply]

  • Donna

    Hello CVS, I am a fan of your blog.
    Been in this restaurant (in Taipei 101) when I had a business trip in Taiwan last July. I must say queuing for 1 hour was so worth it. Xiao long bao is to die for. The next day , went back again, didn’t mind the queue 🙂

    [Reply]

  • Hi Ms C! I’m based in Taipei and it’s Interesting to see some items on the menu that are not available here. We dont have wings, springrolls, wantons and prawns with salted eggs! Will definitely visit the next time I’m home for vacation.

    [Reply]

  • dyowsa

    may pork chop fried rice! yes! Did the ‘usuals’ taste like how we’d expect them to?
    We tried queueing in Melbourne for this and after 2 hours or so of waiting, it was a major disappointment. They don’t have the pork chop, the xlb was dry and barely warm and everything else was not up to standard. Based on this experience, I suggest not going soon, or when the queue turns unreasonable (1 hr or so). Unless their stress training is taken from Singapore/Hong Kong/Taiwan, the overwhelming response may not be to your advantage.

    Hindi lahat ng hinihintay ng matagal worth it. 🙂

    [Reply]

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