#B1-03/06, 290 Orchard Road
#02-48/53, 435 Orchard Road
It’s time to set the record straight on xiaolongbao. Din Tai Fung (DTF) is a Taiwanese restaurant chain renowned for its xiaolongbao (“small basket dumplings”). Xiaolongbao, though, are not Taiwanese in origin, they’re Shanghainese. DTF simply happens to do a Taiwanese version of a famous Shanghainese snack. And they do it well. Even in Shanghai itself, the branch of DTF that opened in 2001 is enormously popular.
Did you know, by the way, that the hot soup inside a xiaolongbao comes from a cube of solid meat jelly that turns to liquid during the steaming process?
Aside from a basket or three of xiaolongbao, you’ll want to try DTF’s hot-and-sour soup, any of its varieties of fried rice, a plate of wok-fried greens, and perhaps the dan dan noodles, with a kick of peanut and chilli. Green tea provides the perfect palate cleanser. Expect to spend in the vicinity of $25 per person for food and drinks.
I’m perhaps not as enamoured of DTF as some diners in Singapore. But it does offer highly reliable dim-sum fare and is a mile better than most of the food in the malls lining Orchard Road. And those xiaolongbaos are pretty special – meat jelly and all.
There are two DTFs on Orchard. The Paragon branch is older, bigger and more popular. The Wisma Atria one is generally less chaotic. Queues can be long at both on weekends.