There’s no doubt that the MiNDFOOD office is full of food lovers. From the never-ending conversations that centre on our latest food adventures, favourite restaurants, the spectacular meals we ate over the weekend, or the fantastic wine sampled, to the mandatory pre-midday brainstorming sessions of “What’s for lunch” – which are often followed by calls to local eateries and embarrassingly-large lunch orders.
During the colder months, the discussions surrounding food extend to second breakfasts, after lunch treats and late afternoon pick-me-ups, as we try in vain to satisfy our winter cravings.
So you can imagine our delight when, one cold winter’s morning, we were asked to sample the latest offerings at Din Tai Fung, Sydney’s world-renowned local dumpling house.
Now, the trick with dumplings, as all experienced dumpling lovers are aware, is to eat them while they’re fresh and piping-hot – meaning that they should be eaten then and there. Lucky for us, Din Tai Fung have made it even easier for Sydney city workers to get their dumpling fix with the addition of two new restaurants in the CBD – at The Star casino and Sydney Westfields – adding to their well-established World Square eatery.
So on a cold Monday at midday, MiNDFOOD’s online team set out for a winter lunchtime food adventure – it’s a hard job but someone has to do it.
The lovely staff and manager Vera helped us to navigate through the menu, pointing out the most popular dishes, the new additions and some fancy-looking mocktails – the mint and lychee frappe proved a winner!
We chose the hearty soup dumplings, snake beans stir-fried with pork mince and chilli, dumplings in a spicy sauce (our personal favourite), Taiwanese pork buns and – a wonderful new addition to the dessert menu – a sweet savoury yum-cha treat know as the Golden Lava.
Sitting in the bustling restaurant and sipping on our traditional green tea, we delighted in watching the groups of chefs huddling around the towering baskets of dumplings atop the hundreds of steamers in the super-sized kitchen. What’s great to see is the meticulous way in which each basket is checked before being served and how any dumpling not close to perfect is discarded and replaced – to ensure you get the best dumplings every time.
The best part is the wait is never long, as all dumplings are made at the exact same size and steamed within three minutes, which means the first dishes are on our table within seconds of ordering.
Armed with our chopsticks, we quickly devoured our selection of tasty treats and were so bowled over with the soup dumplings that we had to order a few more to take back to the office and share with our fellow MiNDFOODies.
Tummy’s full and heart’s warmed, we prepared ourselves for the piece de resistance; the Golden Lava (or jin sha bao). A kind of sweet and savoury dumpling, it consists of a single duck egg yolk steamed inside soft dough, with a little sugar and butter which, when exploded in the mouth, creates the texture of a creamy custard. A perfect end to our winter Taiwanese lunch-time meal.
Din Dai Fung is located at three spots around Sydney: World Square, 644 George Street, Sydney, Level G, Café Court, The Star, 80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont and Level 5, Sydney Westfields, Cnr Pitt St Mall and Market St, Sydney. Visit www.dintaifung.com.au for more information.