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!
By the way, if they end up becoming the best Korean resto in Iloilo City, I take full credit for being the first person to review their restaurant and putting them on the map with Tripadvisor and Yelp 🙂
Update: My Tripadvisor link is up but they forgot my photos. Oh well!
Heart Sushi Unit 2, 815 Britannia Road West, Mississauga, Ontario
Want to get your sushi on? If you feel the need to satisfy your appetite for Japanese food then I know the place.
In one of the west buildings in Mississauga’s Heartland area is an AYCE (All You Can Eat) restaurant named “Heart Sushi”. They share the building with a few other tenants but if you find the Heart logo you can see they are placed at the very end. Grab a parking spot as quickly as possible because spaces are very limited on the weekends.
Like most AYCE sushi places today, their pen and paper ordering system is replaced with the iPad menu. Make your choices from a range of edamame beans to red dragon rolls or Korean kalbi slices to Chinese fried rice.
What I like about this place is the sushi and sashimi are fresh. For lunchtime sushi, they don’t stuff each piece with a fistful of rice. The same can be said for all of their maki rolls. At dinner, the thickness of each sashimi is cut just right. The best part is the presentation. When your appetizers arrive one dish at a time, you can’t wait to sink your teeth into some sashimi. But when it arrives in an illuminated bowl of ice with some fancy decor, it totally makes the experience so much more enjoyable. I used think “meh, just feed me the sashimi on a plate and serve it to me as quickly as I order it” but my outlook changed when you see all your sashimi light up! And when you sink your teeth into a cold fresh piece of fish doused with soy sauce and wasabi? Whoa!!! You cannot help but order more!
Like many other asian restaurants, there are some minor downsides. Sitting down in the booth seats often leaves feeling the impact of the person moving around behind you. Some of the Chinese dishes are a little bland. Besides, why would I stuff myself with rice or noodles when I’m there to eat sushi??? For the most part your dishes come quickly, but even the iPad system might leave one or two items lagging behind.
There are a few unexpected dishes I particularly like. Available during lunch and dinner, order up the Tom Yum soup. It has a piece of simulated crab, slices of mushroom and one shrimp swimming in a slightly tangy soup base with a small garnish. No coconut milk, so it will never taste like the original in Thailand. White tuna for sushi or sashimi melts in your mouth and tastes far better than other types of fish. Available for dinner only, you must try the chopped spicy salmon sashimi on top of a Pringle chip! I ordered it thinking how crazy it was to eat but surprisingly it was really good! Just think, fish and chips right?
I’ve eaten at several sushi restaurants but this one surpasses a lot of them. Some have their own unique features, much like Heart Sushi, that makes them different from other places like their service or their decor.
So after eating here, I have a pretty good idea how to satisfy my cravings. Stay tuned for my next blog about the DO’s and DON’Ts on eating at AYCE sushi restaurants.