One of my husband’s absolute favourite dim sum restaurants in Hong Kong is Din Tai Fung, which until now has meant that we have had to go all the way to TST (how small distances in Hong Kong can start to feel very far!). When we heard that they were opening a new branch in Causeway Bay, it became the mission of the weekend to go and try it out to see how it compared to the TST branch and to get our fill of the tasty Xiao Long Bao (the steamed pork dumplings that are filled with a gulp of broth inside and enjoyed with vinegar and ginger). Din Tai Fung originated in Taiwan, and now has branches all over Asia and some in the US. Known (apart from their Xiao Long Bao) for their impeccable service, despite what can be a long wait to be seated, you will be quickly served, especially if you comply with viewing the menu and filling in your order form before you are shown to your table.
The queues outside the new Causeway Bay restaurant were bigger than I have ever seen for a restaurant in Hong Kong – it looked as though there were around 80 people waiting, and we took a ticket without much hope of less than a 30 minute wait. The numbers ticked down on the screen overhead quickly enough though and the wait was helped by being able to watch the chefs work making the dumplings at high speed through the glass window. You can really see that everything is made fresh and that the restaurant has pride in displaying the workmanship that goes into their product. Apart from the famous Xiao Long Bao, we ordered some sauteed pea shoots, spicy wontons, egg-fried rice with deep-fried pork chop, shrimp and pork steamed dumplings, and a firm favourite, freshwater shrimp, which are incredibly sweet-tasting. Many of the staff appear to have been brought over from Taiwan for the launch, presumably to handle the crowds until Hong Kong staff can be trained up. As you enter and leave the restaurant the staff will say hello, bow and thank you, which feels like a nice traditional touch – even the toilet attendant will give you a huge smile. In HK magazine’s recent review by Amy Ma you can read about just how important the service is to Din Tai Fung’s core values when multimillionaire boss of the whole chain, Warren Yang poured her tea for her.
The new outpost of Din Tai Fung is definitely just as good as the one in TST, and at triple the size, I’m sure it will be a real go-to Lunch destination in Causeway Bay. For reasonable prices, delicious and consistent food and friendly service, you really can’t do better if you’re craving a dumpling hit!
Din Tai Fun, Shop 3-9, G/F, 68 Yee Wo Street, Causeway Bay (3160 8998)