[Shanghai] Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐
鼎泰豐 Din Tai Fung | Dianping
Address: 南京西路1376号上海商城1楼A104号(近西康路) – A104/1F/Shanghai Centre (next to The Portman Ritz-Carlton), 1376 West Nanjing Road near Xikang Rd (静安区 Jing’an District) (other locations available)
Date visited: 2013.04
Total bill: ~RMB¥500 (including mandatory 10% service fee) for three people
Verdict: Overpriced but you are paying for clean food, good atmosphere, and courteous service. Xiaolongbao here is indeed very good.
Will return: Definitely
What to get: 小笼包 xiaolongbao
Din Tai Fung (traditional: 鼎泰豐, simplified: 鼎泰丰) needs no introduction so let’s get right to it. There are several Din Tai Fungs in Shanghai and they are all located in very upscale shopping and financial districts frequented by tourists, people who make a lot of money in the surrounding office buildings, and the real housewives of Shanghai. The menu is in Chinese, English, Japanese, and Korean with accompanying photos. This place was made for expats and foreigners. While other places may serve food that is just as good, if not better, the difference between going to Din Tai Fung and local eateries is like going to a country club versus a public bathroom.
Not all Din Tai Fungs are created equal. I previously visited the 正大广场 Super Brand Mall location in Pudong and everything tasted like sorrow. I should have used my tears to make the food less bland. However, I couldn’t turn down an invitation to revisit Din Tai Fung by my relative, who swears by and eats at this West Nanjing Road location every weekend. I was not disappointed this time around. If you want Din Tai Fung, I highly recommend the Shanghai Centre location.
香干马兰头 Chopped Wild Vegetable and Beancurd (RMB¥22)
We literally get this dish during every single dinner in Shanghai and this is the best I have had so far. It tasted very fresh. The tomatoes were useless though.
什锦豆干丝 Shredded Beancurd with Seaweed and Bean Sprout (RMB¥23)
I wouldn’t have thought to get this but it was surprisingly good.
凉拌黑木耳 Black Fungus in Vinegar Sauce (RMB¥30)
I really liked this combination of fungi in tangy vinegar. I like softer fungi and this was boiled just right for me. Most fungi I have had are not boiled as long and are more crisp. It’s just a personal preference.
清炒豆苗 Sauteed Bean Shoot (RMB¥48)
Recommend: Only if you don’t know how to sauté oil, garlic, and vegetables in a pan.
This was good but it is also really easy to make this at home.
酸辣汤 Hot and Sour Soup with Pork and Beancurd (RMB¥35)
Not bad but not special either. It was spicy yet lacked the kick hot and sour soup is supposed to have.
荠菜鱼羹 Fish and Vegetable Broth (RMB¥42)
I expected this to be more flavorful. No umami here.
菜肉馄饨 Pork and Green Vegetable Wonton Soup (RMB¥45/8 pieces)
Recommend: Definitely not
I have had much better wontons for half the price. For wontons, I recommend 沈大成 Shen Da Cheng.
赤豆松糕 Steamed Rice Cake Stuffed with Red Bean Paste (RMB¥28/2 pieces)
I didn’t eat this because I don’t like this kind of stuff but my mom said it tasted better than similar cakes from other places.
虾肉烧卖 Steamed Pork and Shrimp Shaomai (RMB¥44/5 pieces)
This recipe was definitely created by someone who has never tasted a shaomai before. Nothing was right about this except that it was cooked.
特色蟹粉小笼包 Steamed Pork and Hairy Crab Meat Xiaolongbao (RMB¥88/10 pieces)
Recommend: Must get
Din Tai Fung is most famous for its xiaolongbao. There are many types of xiaolongbao on the menu (prices vary):
- Pork xiaolongbao
- Chicken xiaolongbao (bird flu, no thanks)
- Pork and hairy crab meat xiaolongbao*
- Pork with shark’s fin and hairy crab meat xiaolongbao*
- Sponge gourd and shrimp
- Pork with seafood xiaolongbao (seafood = a shrimp)
- Black truffle and pork xiaolongbao*
- Black truffle and chicken xiaolongbao
- Goose liver and chicken xiaolongbao
- Assorted mushroom xiaolongbao
* = worth a try
If it were up to me, I would just get a few different types of xiaolongbao and call it a meal. While some of the other dishes were good, I can live without them. Definitely get the pork with hairy crab meat because that’s the flavor xiaolongbao was meant to be in.
The skin was so thin and the filling tasted high quality; there was so much soup inside. I’ll come back for you, xiaolongbao.
Din Tai Fung kitchen minions making xiaolongbao. Each xiaolongbao is weighed (on the small black scale) to ensure minimum filling requirement is satisfied.