I love you Dumpling Man

I have been obsessing over Chinese food over this weekend, well more than usual. Mostly because I have been rather enjoying the Exploring China 4 part documentary on BBC2 which has been pretty good actually. Unlike a lot of Chinese cooking shows made for Western TV, this programme even had my dad captivated and since he’s a typical judgmental Chinese chef, that’s really saying something about it’s authenticity.

Anyway, it also reminded me about all those food pics that I’ve taken over the past few visits to HK. It’s time to dust off the cobwebs and get more food posts back on this blog. First up, was one of the first restaurants I visited when I touched down in HK back in Feb, Din Tai Fung.
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Din Tai Fung is actually a massively successful Taiwanese chain specialising in dumplings but most famously of all, the 小籠包 (Siu Long Bao/Steamed soupy pork buns originating from Shanghai). They now have countless branches world wide (but not the UK yet!) and I visited their branch in Causeway Bay which was awarded a Michelin Star.
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First up we had Jellyfish and Chinese radish (also known as Chinese turnip or Japanese daikon) salad and  Pickled cucumber with Chilli and  garlic. Both were refreshing, crunchy and really moreish.
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Above are Pork and chive dumplings in vinegar chilli sauce and just looking at them now makes me wish I could eat them all over again – perfectly juicy and the right amount of chilli kick.

The main attraction was of course the Siu Long Bao which is a common dim sum dish. Technically, they’re not dumplings because of their shape and difference in cooking methods/prep. Despite this, I’ll refer to them as dumplings for now! UK versions just don’t seem to live up to Asia where there is barely any of the famous soup inside and more often than not, over-steamed. It’s definitely an art to retain that soup inside the thin skin and the ones at Din Tai Fung had plenty of hot soup inside each little pork filled dumpling. You can just about see the bulge of the soup in each one in the picture below. Removing each one carefully (heartbreaking stuff if you accidently tear one and lose the soup!) you dip them into rice vinegar, often served with some fresh ginger before chomping into the porky-soupy goodness. So SO delicious.

SDC11706The branch in Causeway Bay also has big windows where you can watch the chefs prepare all the different types of dumplings on the menu. I watched them for a little while, until it just got a bit weird after catching eye contact a few times and I made a swift exit…

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I also freaking love their Mascot. It definitely plays into my love for the kitsch and kawaii, I mean he has a dumpling for a head AND he is carrying more dumplings! Who can beat that? I am most definitely making a return trip there the next time I go back to HK…

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