Din Tai Fung
A dumpling feast with some of the best xiao long bao in Bangkok.
A must-visit for Bangkok’s lovers of soup dumplings, this Taiwanese import is one of the most popular restaurants in CentralWorld. Queue up with friends and order a set of xiao long bao (soup-filled steamed dumplings), and a range of dishes to accompany them. Despite the large menu, the xiao long bao are the main event and arrive to your table in the same Chinese wooden basket used to steam them, still billowing smoke.
Other branches: Central Embassy, 02-160-5917; and Central Plaza Ladprao, 02-541-1622.
Being the first branch of this global franchise in Thailand, and specializing in everyone’s favorite comfort food, xiao long bao [meat and broth filled dumplings], it’s very easy to go gaga over Din Tai Fung. Perhaps because of its location on the top floor of CentralWorld, even months after it opened, this massive family-style restaurant has swarms of people waiting outside, placing their orders in advance on a handy checklist, watching armies of dumpling-makers through the glass pane. And the excitement and anticipation continues when a giant steamer of perfectly formed, thin-skinned Shanghai-style dumplings appear on your table. But after eating here a couple of times, it’s hard not to have the realization that the offerings at Din Tai Fung are little more than above average. Don’t get us wrong: that’s still saying a great deal. They’re obviously working with very good ingredients, from the lean and aromatic duck in the spring onion pastry (B160) to the plump and fresh filling in the shrimp and pork wontons served in a well-seasoned chicken broth (B160). But do they make our eyes roll back in our heads? Not really. Overall, the flavors are quite mild, like blank slates each diner can doctor with their own little saucer of vinegar, soy sauce and chili paste—which is fine, but we prefer restaurants with strong visions over those that try to please the masses. And the prices are hardly cheap either. B315 for ten crab and pork xiao long bao that are each half the size of a coaster? B160 for a plate of stir-fried spinach with garlic? Sure, almost all of it is prepared by hand onsite, but in terms of the service model, Din Tai Fung is nothing fancy. Still, the service is very efficient: upon being seated, a staff member will confirm the order you placed on your checklist, and the appetizers do arrive before the mains, a rare occurence. And if you don’t want to fight your way through a crowded shophouse or pay through your nose at a hotel Chinese restaurant, Din Tai Fung offers a rare middle-ground for a dumpling feast.
|Address:||Din Tai Fung, 7/F, CentralWorld, Ratchadamri Rd., Bangkok, Thailand|
|Price Range:||BB - BBB|
|Opening hours:||daily 11am-9:30pm|
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