*This tasting was sponsored by Din Tai Fung
If you think that a meal at Din Tai Fung (DTF) means the usual Pork Xiaolongbao (XLB), Fried Rice and Chicken Soup, think again. In conjunction with their 8th Anniversary, DTF will be launching 6 new dishes and 6 new desserts and drinks to their already extensive repertoire of dishes at all DTF outlets.
For those in the dark, you must know that not all DTFs’ are born equal. At some Din Tai Fung outlets, especially those located at the more up-market locations like Paragon, DTF offers premium items such as their Black Truffle XLB. DTF’s new outlet at Resorts World Sentosa is another example, which plans to cater to the tourist crowd by offering 8 new delectable Asian delights only available at this outlet, in addition to the 12 new items mentioned above.
I will be using pictures provided by DTF but rest assured the pictures are representative of what will be served. Interestingly, I found the plating of today’s dishes nicer than what is shown in the pictures anyways.
Our tasting session started off with a showcase of the 12 new items to be included in all DTF outlets. First off, the Sliced Duck in Crispy Spring Onion Pastry.
3 New Dumplings are also being introduced to DTF’s menu., the Fish Dumplings, the Chicken Xiao Long Bao and the Steamed Angled Gourd & Shrimp Dumplings. Of the 3, I was most taken by the Fish Dumplings which were stuffed with sweet Snapper flesh that I found refreshing to the palate. Having been pampered by DTF’s signature Pork XLBs for the longest time, the Chicken XLBs didn’t bring with it as much an “oomph”, as healthier and less oily chicken broth is used instead of the savoury pork broth. For an even healthier choice, the Steamed Angled Gourd & Shrimp Dumplings promises to enhance your skin complexion. Beauty comes at a price though, as its flavour comes across as slightly muted for my liking.
One of my favourite dishes in today’s tasting, the Handmade springy Noodles with Spicy Sesame Sauce. The chili oil hits the spot and the dish manages to pull its own weight despite its apparent lack of ingredients. I believe an extra order of chicken soup on the side would be the perfect accompaniment for those who can’t take the spice and wish use the soup to dilute the chili.
A play on Yong Tau Fu, DTF has also decided to introduce their version of Green Chili stuffed with Marinated Meat. With its origins in Thai cuisine, DTF specially imports the green chilies from Thailand, and it packs an extra punch compared to usual mild green chilies used in Yong Tau Fu.
Having been periodically dropping by Eu Yan Sang to purchase their Hawthorn Roselle Drink whenever I’m down with the flu, I felt that the Roselle Juice from DTF tastes somewhat similar, just slightly less tangy from the absence of hawthorn. Instead of using normal ice, DTF has come up with an ingenious idea to keep its drinks chilled while avoiding the downside of drink dilution – by adding in a frozen iceball made up entirely of whatever drink that was ordered! So when the iceball melts, the concentration of the drinks remain unchanged.
Lemongrass Juice is highly popular Thai drink. While I’m personally not a huge fan of lemongrass, many others at the tasting session felt otherwise. It does remind me a bit of Sugarcane Juice with Lemon though and I’d imagine this would make an awesome drink at East Coast while feasting on BBQ Stingrays and Satay.
Recently, my mum has been blending random vegetables and fruits and presenting it to me as a drink. With no added sugar and with much too dense a consistency, I’d immediately cringe whenever I hear the roar of the blender in operation. While DTF’s Blended Juice, made from the combination of fresh Pineapples, Celery and Carrots, tastes much better (or much less worse), I believe it’s not something most of us are used to, especially if you like your drinks and juices on the sweet side.
My favourite of the 4 new drinks happened to be the Earl Grey Lemon Tea. Somehow, it possesses a greater depth of flavour compared to the usual lemon teas.
Almond Pudding coated with Black Sesame Dressing. While I’m a fan of almond jelly, I felt that the black sesame didn’t complement the pudding well.
The Mango Pudding however is a different story. The pudding tastes delightful, with generous chunks mango cubes scattered within the jelly.
Now let me touch on the 8 new dishes made available only at the RWS DTF outlet.
The crowd favourite had to be the Nonya Curry Fish Head in Clay Pot ($26++). You know, it does say something when claypots are being drained off its contents by professional food editors. Really quite a remarkable feat that a Chinese restaurant can come up with such an authentic Nonya dish, with a rich aromatic curry rather than the watered down curries common for most fish head curries.
My family is really into fish. Like how most Cantonese families must have their soups in every meal, my family must have fish. When I was younger, Dad always told me how it’s good for eyesight, and I often shrugged it off. Fast forward a decade or so and I’m starting to believe him. My family of 5 all possess near perfect eyesight! (Disclaimer: Genetics might be the real cause). Cod isn’t cheap in Singapore, I believe it costs close to $40/kg at the wet markets, so DTF’s Hong Kong Class Steamed Cod Fillet with Superior Soy Sauce ($21.80++) is rather affordable for its portion. You can hardly ever go wrong with cod, but I found today’s one slightly overdone. Apart from that, it was alright.
Homemade Beancurd & Sea Prawns on Sizzling Hot Plate ($16.80++). DTF makes its own egg tofu from scratch from a central kitchen to ensure freshness and quality control.
Cantonese Sweet & Sour Pork ($14.80++).
I found the Beef Sirloin with Aromatic Black Pepper Sauce on Sizzling Hot Plate ($19.80++) too peppery and the beef too lean.
The Crispy Prawns in Creamy Dressing with Plump Lychees & Juicy Peaches ($14.80++) is another dish I’d recommend. The prawns are fried in a tasty light batter but do avoid smearing too much creamy dressing as it might get a bit too cloying. Well, I sense DTF’s efforts in addressing this issue by adding some lemon juice into the prawn batter, which works pretty well.
Crispy Chicken Wings Marinated in Shrimp Paste ($8.80++). Marinated for over 4 hours in DTF’s homemade shrimp paste before being deep fried for 5 minutes, the wings are kept juicy on the inside while crispy on the outside.
Szechuan Wok Fried Diced Chicken with Sun-dried Chilis and Toasted Cashews ($14.80++).
I had a wonderful time talking to Hoong An, one of the three founders of Hungrygowhere, who so happened to sit next to me for this tasting and coupled with the discovery of a few gems among DTF’s new dish offerings, I truly had a wonderful time.
Thanks to Din Tai Fung for the invitation!
Din Tai Fung (Resorts World Sentosa)
26 Sentosa Gateway, #01-217 Resort World Sentosa
Tel: +65 6686 3656