Ding Tai Fung is located in First Markham Place, a plaza filled with many other Asian eateries. I came here one evening with a bunch of other food enthusiasts (thanks to Karen for organizing!) who had previously been here. They all had great things to say about it so I was really looking forward to a tasty dinner!Even though we were here for dinner, we still ordered a great selection of Shanghai dim sum. You can actually see the employees working on the handmade dumplings through the clear glass at the back of the restaurant.
The first thing that came was a cold dish, the Beef Tripe, which came served in sesame oil and a bit of spice. While tripe isn’t one of my favourite foods to eat, I actually enjoyed this quite a bit. Same goes for Mike, who doesn’t like tripe at all. If it was always served this way, I’m sure he would change his mind. This was a nice dish to start off the meal.
The next dish that came was the Fried Squid Tentacles. Everyone seemed to enjoy these but in my opinion, I didn’t think they were anything to write home about. They were a touch chewier than I would have preferred and overall, I thought this was just a decent dish.Onto the dumplings! The first set that came was the must-order dish at Shanghai restaurants, the Steamed Soup Dumplings – with a pork filling aka xiao long bao ($5.99 for 6).
Those familiar with these delicious soup dumplings know that they are prone to bursting and are filled with an incredibly hot soup. So for those of you who tend to wolf down your food immediately after it’s been placed in front of you, you might want to let these sit a bit before biting into them. The first time Mike had these, he learned the hard way.
Since these dumplings have such a delicate skin, you have to be careful (and quite skilled!) while picking these up. Apparently, I have yet to perfect picking these dumplings up without breaking them as I broke mine. I had to act quickly to save the soup with my spoon.So, how did they taste? Amazing. They had a nice thin skin and contained a generous amount of the minced pork filling. The broth (the little bit that I managed to save) was quite flavourful and enjoyable. These are definitely some of the best xiao long bao’s I’ve had in a while.
Another dish we ordered was the Shanghai-style Pan-Fried Pork Buns ($5.99 for 5). I don’t often order these pork buns but I usually find myself disappointed. However, the ones at Ding Tai Fung definitely changed my mind.
I hate it when you get pork buns which consist of mostly bun with a miniscule amount of pork inside. This certainly wasn’t the case here as the buns had a generous meat to bun ratio. Another qualm I have with pan-fried pork buns is that I often find them a little on the dry side. Again, I had no complaints about this here. The filling was incredibly juicy and be warned – they contain a bit of hot soup, similar to the xiao long bao’s.As if we didn’t have enough pork, we also ordered the Pan-fried Pork Dumplings ($5.99 for 5). Although you probably can’t tell from the picture, these dumplings were enormous. Like all the steamed soup dumpling and buns, the filling was incredible. This was another big hit at the table. My only complaint was that these “pan-fried” dumplings weren’t as crisp on the bottom as I would have liked.
The last set of dumplings we ordered were the Steamed Chive Dumplings. I really love chives and was excited to try these dumplings. They were plump and were filled with a generous portion of chives. Unfortunately, I felt they were missing something…probably my least favourite dumpling of the evening. Maybe because it didn’t have any pork in it!
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