The signature item at Din Tai Fung is Xiao Long Bao ($10.80), the semi-legendary pork soup dumplings that have carried this restaurant across continents. Let me confirm that this reputation is not unwarranted.
These are seriously good dumplings; but be warned: the unctuous soup is delicious, but perilously hot.
Similarly delightful is the Braised Beef Noodle Soup ($16.80) with its dark and well-flavoured broth and falling-apart tender beef.
The roasted chilli warmth of Shrimp and Pork Wontons with Tangy Sauce ($10.80) had me scraping around for leftover morsels. In fact, all the classic dishes seem to hit the mark.
By contrast, the seven different flavoured Dumpling Gems ($15.80) are fun to try, but include cheese, Bolognese, and golden corn—all of which I could definitely have gone without.
The perfect foil to the salt, umami and spice of the dumplings is the sweet and fresh Lychee Mint Freeze ($8.80), or the mild but firm-set Mango Pudding ($6.80).
However the Choice of Mini Buns ($6) featuring taro, black sesame, and red bean, are the best way to experience a trio of traditional Chinese dessert flavours.
My take: stick to the classics and you won’t be disappointed, but be sure to let those legendary pork soup dumplings cool a little bit first.
Din Tai Fung Central Park
Central Park, Level 2, R201 28 Broadway, Chippendale
Ph: (02) 8072 9427