Hi everyone! Having spent a fair bit of time in Covent Garden lately, I made a lovely discovery: Din Tai Fung. For those who don’t know this name, this is an exceptional restaurant specialising in Taiwanese dumplings. I am very much into Asian food and the delicious dishes I have eaten there are among the best I have tried in London so far.
Today, DOYOUSPEAKLONDON invits you to discover Din Tai Fung, the authentic exquisite Taiwanese restaurant in London.
Din Tai Fung Covent Garden
Din Tai Fung is an international restaurant chain, which opened its UK flagship in Covent Garden last year exactly. Since then, the brand has received accolade from Michelin and the restaurant has won general acclaim from its customers.
The brand’s core philosophy to serve up quality cuisine and excellent service at reasonable prices seems to have proven successful.
I arrived at Din Tai Fung with my family on a Sunday morning, just after the restaurant opening at 11am. I knew from the restaurant’s website that we could not book ahead, so I showed up early after a chilly walk in Covent Garden marveling at Christmas’ decorations.
It took us some time to select a few dishes to share: the menu is varied and as we are not experts in dumplings (big amateurs though), we relied on the superb pictures on the menu to make our choices. Which did not disappoint us!
True Taiwanese flavours
The menu offers several signature dishes, including its world-famous Xiao Long Bao (Steamed Pork Dumplings). They are made with pork filling wrapped in a delicate dough skin, which is then pleated, twisted at the top and steamed.
I have learnt there that each Xiao Long Bao is “passing through 6 different stations and undergoing a 40-minute process hand preparation before it is served”! I found the texture of my chilly crab and pork Xiao Long Bao very delicate with the filling and dough skin melting in the (very) hot sauce included in the dumpling. The flavors are intense and the piece is big enough to keep in mind the pleasure of its degustation!
After eating a delicious and fresh salad, we continued our Taiwanese culinary discovery with another signature dish from Din Tai Fung: the prawn and pork Shao Mai.
Served in bamboo baskets, which are open in front of you releasing all the steam kept inside, these prawn and pork Shao Mai are quite spectacular. Inside the dumpling, you’ll find the same juicy filling as in the Xiao Long Bao, with a prawn at the top, everything looking like a lovely bouquet…
We enjoy those very much. Very. They may even be our favorite dish…But we did not stop there (far from it). My children ordered noodles: either Special with braised beef (absolutely yummy) or With mushrooms and edamame (scrumptious). Unfortunately, I took no pictures of those noodles, because my kids started eating their meal as soon as they arrive (not that they were really starving, but the meals all looked “irresistible”).
Afterwards, we ate Jiao Zi. Maybe less surprising than the other signatures, but certainly no less tasty.
We ultimately tried the desserts. First, buns.
Buns either with sesame or red bean fillings. I was more surprised and impressed by the sesame one, as more original in flavor and texture. But I do love desserts with red beans since my first try at Minamoto Kitchoan, the Japanese confectionery I discovered a few years ago and regularly go to. This is worth trying if you have never eaten such a dessert before.
The final touch of our amazing lunch was the chocolate Xiao Long Bao. These dessert dumplings are amazing. Of course you need to love chocolate! The chocolate Xiao Long Bao have a decadent molten chocolate center that flows as soon as we pierce the dumpling.
And the chocolate inside is … hot. Very tasty, very creamy, perfect!
The chocolate dumplings are simply just as addictive as their savory cousins!
Din Tai Fung restaurant
Din Tai Fung is the largest dumpling restaurant chain in the world, with more than 160 sites. I have read online that its locations in Macau and Hong Kong both hold Michelin stars, making them some of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants in the world!
Din Tai Fung’s London flagship restaurant seats approximately 250 guests on 2 levels.
I love the skylight at the back of the upper level. The interior decor is rather simple, with its ochre tones dominating and the use of wood material. Nothing extravagant then, but the most important thing is in the plate!
When following the waiter to be seated you will go past a glass-fronted workspace filled with dumpling experts, all wearing masks and filling xiao long bao, shumai, jiaozi and all delicious Din Tai Fung signature dishes.
The time spent at Din Tai Fung was awesome: being one of the few non-Asian people in the restaurant and discovering new dishes with new flavors made us almost forget we were in London!
I highly recommend Din Tai Fung for the perfect combination of delicate food, great service (staff were very helpful and there was no waiting time between the dishes), reasonable prices and perfect central location.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found inspiration here. If you are planning to go to Din Tai Fung, please share your experience and opinion on DOYOUSPEAKLONDON’s blog!
To go further:
Din Tai Fung: 5-6 Henrietta Street, London WC2