My family visited this branch in Hong Kong after our trip around HK Disney Land. I have heard about this Michelin Star restaurant and their famous Xiao Long Bao. Let me tell you, they do not disappoint.
Din Tai Fung’s menu is very easy to order from. Small photos of every dish on the menu provide you with an idea what the food will look like. Each dish is translated into four languages: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and English. There is also a legend of small icons that helps describe some dishes such as the type of meat or vegetarian recommended, whether it is spicy, or even if it contains nuts.
What we ordered and why you need to order it:
Xiao Long Bao (Steamed Pork Dumplings). Each tray had 6 pieces so we ordered 3 trays for our party of 6 hungry people. On the table is a small instruction pamphlet that shows the proper method to eat dumplings. After reading the pamphlet, I gave it a go. The broth, the pork, and the wrapping all together is like a firework of flavours exploding in your mouth. Slightly salty and great texture is just the sort of taste you expect from a pork dumpling. After finishing a few pieces I felt like it was a new experience for me because I have been eating dumplings the wrong way this whole time!
Steamed Shrimp and Pork Shao-Mai. It looks like a wrapped flower filled with shrimp. I ate it the same way as the dumpling and the seafood flavours from the shrimp really comes out. That’s because the size of each shrimp is equal to the proportion of the entire Shao-Mai. Nestled at the bottom of each Shao-Mai is a small parcel of steam pork.
Steamed Vegetable And Pork Bun. Inside this dough-filled bun is a mixture of both worlds. I love the combination of veggies and meat so when this showed on the menu I couldn’t resist. Unlike most buns that are dry, this particular dish has a moist texture after every bite.
Fried Rice With Shredded Pork. Sometimes the standard dishes are worth ordering. It’s always tasty when they add some egg to the plate for that extra bit of flavour.
Sauteed Choy Sum. Crunchy and full of good flavour. I’m not sure the type of cooking they use to stir fry but it is definitely the right kind. Most of all, it’s not swimming in oil nor is it over/under cooked.
Spicy Vegetable And Pork Wonton. So it might not look like the most delicious looking plate on the menu but don’t judge a book by it’s cover. If you enjoy a little spicy kick to your palette, give this dish a try. Like the Shao-Mai, each piece is cooked inside a thin wrapping. But the difference here is that the sauce on the outside
For dessert, clear your palette with a cold, fresh serving of Almond Pudding With Fresh Fruit or Sago Soup With Mashed Taro. Nothing is more refreshing than finishing off your meal with either one of these two delicacies. And just for the experience, we ordered up the Steamed Peach-Shaped Red Bean Bun. Not at all dry, extra chewy outside and soft red bean paste on the inside. Just a wonderful dessert overall.
What I find most impressive about Din Tai Fung is their fast-paced service. We were a party of 6 eating at peak lunch hour and the food arrived within a good amount of time. Whenever we needed service, we always looked for the floor supervisors and they instructed the servers to follow up quickly.
Just before we walked out, I couldn’t help but take a quick picture of the kitchen staff hand-pressing all the Shao-Mai and dumplings. It made me appreciate my meal even more. I love Din Tai Fung!
Visiting a Walt Disney theme park is one of the most enjoyable destinations in the world for families and friends to spend time with one another. If you want to bring back memories from when you were a child and pass them onto your kids then this is definitely the place to visit. For me, I just wanted to feel like a kid again.
When my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong Disneyland on our flight in to see my in-laws, we just couldn’t pass it up. We wanted to find out if a Walt Disney theme park outside of the USA could be a completely different experience.
I had heard about the differences between HK Disneyland and Orlando Disney World such as some Disney characters talked a little differently only because of some translation issues with a slight Chinese accent. Some are the same like the fireworks and electric parade still light up the evening skies. But what I was looking forward to was the food experience. This is Hong Kong, China so I knew that our foodie trek would be quite different.
After looking over Disney’s website, we found the Crystal Lotus restaurant inside the resort we were about to stay in. We discovered that we had to make reservations in advance to dine at the restaurant. So just to be safe, we made our booking three months prior.
We arrived a little early for our 12pm reservation so we had to wait in the front lobby for only 10 minutes until they opened their doors. We didn’t mind waiting at all so we took our time taking some pictures.
I remember telling my wife that I wanted to walk slowly into the dining area. I wanted to take as many pictures as possible so I could just take everything in. I mean the whole space was so grand that you just wanted to stand in one place and turn around 360 degrees and stare at how much effort was put into decorating the restaurant.
When we had made our reservations a few months before, there were a few choices. They offered a la carte Chinese cuisine and other gourmet food but since my wife and I are such big fans of dim sum, we chose their “Special Dim Sum” lunch menu as our Disney dining experience because we were curious to see how they would present the food. When we had called them to inquire about their portions, they explained that the set menu was good for 1 person. After looking at some online photos, we saw there were a few pieces in each dim sum box so we decided to order 3 sets to accommodate our party of 6.
After a few moments of sitting at our round table our dishes started to come out. Three dishes of Scallops Salad with Pomelo arrived at our table.
After a few bites of this dish we were finished. The portion was small but it had great flavour since it was sprinkled with a light taste of a vinaigrette dressing.
Then the soup arrived and what I really liked about this soup was that it was simple. It fused both seafood and tofu together really nicely. Nothing better than chewing into pieces of crab with every bite!
What’s really cute and unique about eating at a Disney restaurant is that they shape as many pieces of food to a Disney theme as close as possible such as the next dish below. It’s absolutely crazy how the carrots are shaped like “Mickey’s head” and the zucchinis are “Mickey’s hands”.
Our next dish was the sesame chicken with lemon juice. Lightly breaded chicken with a tangy lemon syrup is probably close to a “Sweet and Sour Chicken”. This is a common dish with Chinese food and it felt close to home having this as part of my meal.
The waiter brought out a few dishes of a rice topping of abalone with a small garnish on the side. Rice perfectly shaped in a cylinder topped with a well-cooked piece of abalone. This was only my second time having abalone and luckily both were cooked very well. It’s slightly chewy but the sauce that it is cooked in brings out the seafood flavour. It might be an oversized snail but it was really good!
Then the Signature Dim Sum came out. Let me tell you how impressed I was with the amount of detail and work put into each dish. As soon as each dim sum was placed in front of us, we all couldn’t help ourselves taking photos with our smartphones.
Each dim sum dish had its own unique flavour. They were all cooked just right inside and out. None of them were undercooked/overcooked. But what I want you to see is the time and effort put into each dumpling and pancake. The choice of colours to create each character. The small shape of the pig’s nose and ears. The little antennae on top of the little green men’s heads. This sort of detail made our eyes lit up because it was so well made with such intimate detailing that it really brought out the Disney kids within us.
When Duffy the Disney Bear dim sum arrived, we were still impressed. Some of you remember the preview I showed a couple days ago. Well one serving actually came out on a single steamer tray with two small pieces of pudding. Look how absolutely cute and adorable Duffy is! Look closer at one of the puddings: One of them is shaped like Mickey’s hand!
The final dim sum tray we had to order when they offered it to us at the table. It was an additional fee on top of our set menu but we didn’t care because we wanted to see for ourselves what it was.
In one serving of a steamer basket came two dim sum pieces of Baymax. Something so simple as two hand rolled balls of white glutinous dim sum pieces looked so unique! Baymax may not have been one of the most well marketed Disney characters but to be honest with you, I absolutely love him!
I can’t tell you how much fun I had at the Crystal Lotus restaurant. From beginning to end, I couldn’t stop smiling. If you are reading this and you are considering eating at this restaurant, there are a couple of things you need to know:
Decide on whether you want the Disney Special Dim Sum Lunch Menu or the other special menus that are available.
Reservations are required and I suggest you book well in advance. Although there weren’t too many people there when we first arrived but when we were near to finished eating, the entire restaurant was completely filled.
For the Disney Special Dim Sum Lunch Menu, one order of the set menu is for only one person. My pictures, and other pictures on the internet, you might see a few dim sum pieces combined in one steam basket but really it is only one dim sum piece per order/basket. We made the mistake of ordering 3 sets for 6 people because of the online photos but I suggest that if you are going with a party of 6 adults, then order 6 sets.
The Dim Sum Lunch Menu is not cheap (I think it was about $40USD per order at the time we went). So if you are really hungry, be prepared to still buy some food after you finish your meal as the portions are rather small. This was more of a Disney-themed experience for us rather than a buffet.
The staff did their best to accommodate for our needs considering their English was very limited. But if you find one person who speaks English better than anyone else, get their attention as much as possible.
Even though it is not common to leave a tip in Hong Kong, or Disneyland for that matter, we still gave a tip. The staff worked hard for our smiles and we enjoyed the entire experience.
Hope you enjoy your Hong Kong Disneyland dim sum experience like we did!
When I was a kid, my parents used to take my family to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto. It was the “annual fair” that came to town filled with rides, games, food and entertainment. I always had fond memories of our visits to the CNE.
I remember my parents buying strings of small coupon stubs so that I could ride the merry-go-round or brave the kids swing set. It was one of those special days when we could eat whatever candy or junk food we want. My dad would have this obsession to win the big prize by shooting pellets around a red star printed on a small piece of paper hanging at the end of a long wire. He would never win but we would always be happy that he tried his very best.
They still kept some things the same such as the “midway” where all the food and games are just an arm’s length away. The all famous Food Building still has over a hundred food vendors just footsteps away from the GO Train entrance. Of course, the annual Canadian International Air Show is always ready to perform if you are lucky to find a seat.
We always like to see what’s new and upcoming at the CNE. Since we’re a lot older now, they added a lot more entertainment. Today, there are rock bands entertaining the beer thirsty and pork-hungry Ribfesters, a casino open to the experienced and amateur poker player, a large shopping building full of international goods available for sale, and several updated shows and current events to entertain people of all ages. Two of those shows we wanted to see was the ice skating and SuperDogs show.
The ice skating shows always try to feature a Canadian celebrity skater. In the past they have had Olympians Elvis Stojko and skating duo, Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue.
This year we had the pleasure of watching Joannie Rochette, Canadian Bronze Medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Canada Winter Olympics.
After the ice skating show, we decided to take our time doing a lot of shopping inside the Enercare Building. Items for sale ranged from clothes to food, and everything in between. My sister was generous to buy us 1kg of unpasteurized honey. We didn’t realize how heavy it was to carry it around while shopping, we felt like dragging our bag on the ground!
At one time, we were very thirsty so I decided to buy something a little different than the usual bottle of water. It wasn’t a lot but it helped hydrate ourselves from carrying around the honey and other free samples we picked up along the way.
The biggest highlight of our day was the long line of food trucks near the Princes’ Gates entrance. One of my favourites is a truck called Fidel Gastro’s. They own a restaurant on Queen Street, Toronto but has extended their express service to a food truck. We ordered the Porknado sandwich with the owner, Matt. Within minutes, out came this huge sandwich filled with Korean pulled pork topped with two crispy pork dumplings, green onions, and crema. The flavours are unreal compared to any sandwich I have ever tasted. With each bite, the pulled pork melted in my mouth and the dumplings added another flavor of pork. The fusion of Asian and Latin spices gave that extra kick while the crema just tied everything in.
Matt was very generous to come back out and give us a free sample of their CNE Specialty called the Cubano. What a treat! This was a deep fried sandwich filled with pork brisket, onions cheese and pickles. Oh boy, the calories! Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. Cheese and pickles are my favourite toppings so I could not hold back on having that extra bite. This sandwich did not disappoint and it was an instant hit in my books.
We were so impressed with Fidel Gastro’s that I wanted to take my picture with him. I even asked him to promote his food truck for me to post on my blog.
Some time later, we had to treat ourselves to something sweet. It just so happens there was a food truck that sold Churros. Nothing better than eating a sweet, deep fried pastry sprinkled with sugar and injected with caramel syrup.
At the end of the day, we were exhausted from all the shopping and pigging out on food. If you can make the trip to Toronto while the CNE is opened, you must try the experience of walking throughout the entire grounds. Make a second day trip if you can’t finish it all. Even as I get a little older, it makes me feel like a little kid all over again.
Dynasty BBQ Restaurant
1550 S Gateway Road
Dixie Park Mall is a building full of Asian (mainly Chinese) office tenants just 1 block north of Dixie Road and Eastgate Parkway in Mississauga. Tucked away in the corner of the main floor is a food court lined with asian food vendors who serve Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese food.
One of those food vendors is a place I usually order from called Dynasty BBQ Restaurant. They sell mainly Chinese food but have recently added on a couple of items on their menu to attract the Filipino market. Like many of the other food vendors, their menu consists of either a list of food with prices on a large poster board or pictures with a small description and price that is hung or taped all around the face of the unit. Many stores like these are the style in Toronto Chinatown or even back in mainland China and Hong Kong.
I have tried other food vendors in this food court but my wife and I always gravitate towards Dynasty. They are the only restaurant that sells BBQ, displaying several pieces roasted duck and pork on meat hooks in a huge showcase. Their specialty is the BBQ but they also sell the usual rice or noodle topping dishes with a variety of veggies, meats and seafood served on a cast iron grill.
While waiting in line, make your order and make it quick or else you will upset the people behind you. If you have ever ordered a pizza in Manhattan but haven’t figured out which one you want by the time they ask for your order then you know what I mean. The owner, a very short Chinese lady, is very fun to talk to but keep in mind of the queue and the orders she needs to fill.
I always get the roasted pork and soya chicken on rice while my wife orders up the roasted duck and soya chicken on rice (sorry no picture yet for this!). Get a drink combo 2 for $1.50 and the total bill comes out to just over $15.50. Can you believe that? $15.50 for two people!!! In most shopping mall food courts in Canada, you are looking to pay way over $20.00 for two.
These combinations come with a side serving of veggies, soup, and a teaspoon of ginger and scallion mixture. Before the veggies used to be a couple of large pieces of bok choy but recently it’s been switched to broccoli. It’s a large portion of food for great value. The taste is probably as good as you can get close to real Cantonese style bbq food.
Sometimes we get our food fast depending on the line up but more often now the service is slower only because we can’t get there before the crowd. But you will not be disappointed with their selection. Parking can get just as crazy but they do have enough spaces for the lunch crowd. It all depends how far you want to walk to satisfy your hunger. By the way, Dynasty BBQ is closed on Tuesdays. They need a day off too!