DYING TO FEAST, that is! It’s true. DK and I are super slutty for Din Tai Fung. But before you bemoan our luck in eating something so delicious and you being not near such a magical place — we aren’t such special unicorns feasting in a dumpling castle in Fattyland. There are dozens of Din Tai Fungs in the world so get yourself to a place where there is one (3 in the US!) and go eat here already. Many friends let us know that duh, muffins, it’s famous and stuff so get over yourselves already. The internet exploded about Din Tai Fung in like 2008, so we’re just super late to the dumpling party but we just don’t care. It was so super good. We were in a mall in Kuala Lumpur. You could easily be in a shopping center in LA, or a department store in Kyoto. After ingesting all this sweet gluten (carbs), delicate mixture of soy sauce, vinegar and ginger (sodium bloat) and delicious sweets (fried) the logical conclusion is to go try on tiny clothes. LA and Asia are the two places you might imagine make a girl feel self-conscious about herself so why not just blame the shumai for why the 3XXLFATTYPANTS don’t fit but one of your thighs?
You’ll note two things about our meal here.
1.) THERE IS PORK. The sweet baby Jesus gave us pork and we ate pork in one of the best combinations possible: in an unholy union with shrimp. Not Halal AND Treif? This combination thumbs its nose at not one but two major religions which means I’ll probably suffer for this later and probably in another life too but I. DON’T. CARE.
2.) THERE WERE NO VEGETABLES. Surely, normal people go here and order some lovely spinach concoction or perhaps a sauteed leafy green but not us. No way. This may also be why there were no pictures of us taken the day after — we were a bit puffy.
Our story beings, just 20 minutes before the initial puff-onset. We headed to the Pavilion — the largest mall in KL by monorail. We figured we’d have to wait a bit and we did.
We actually only waited like 15 minutes or so. They are smart and hand you your menu/receipt with pictures of everything for us Western dumb dumbs before you sit down so you can make your choices while you give happy diners the evil eye as you stare them down to get their asses out of those seats. We chose an embarrassingly large array of items. This is probably why it is someone’s job to be the “western wrangler” who will come over in perfect cheery English and look over your order and raise their eyebrows at the staggering amount of food you’ve selected. Upon the look of shock on her face, I meekly asked if we had ordered too much to which she giggled… and then said YES and encouraged us to knock off 2 -3 things on our list. We did and then it was time to take our seats, my cheeks burning with shame already having been judged by a grown woman who probably weighed less than 100lbs and DK smiling brightly (like a little prince!) who was just told that he was incorrigible.
Since we had pre-ordered, we waited just a few minutes for the food to arrive. We were probably in and out in about 28 minutes which was something else to be embarrassed about but perhaps for another blog entry.
Up first, dan dan noodles. I don’t think I’d ever had these before and will definitely seek them out again. The noodles were perfectly chewy with a bit of bite and the sauce was rich, peanuty and spicy.
Next was won ton soup. Remember how I already had wonton soup that ruined wonton soup for me forever? JK! This wonton soup ruined the other wonton soup which ruined wonton soup. Pork and shrimp wontons which were silky on the outside and had good heft inside. Heaven.
Then the dumplings came out. You can watch the dumplings being made in the font by young chefs who are meticulously folding them as neatly as can be all the while covered head to toe like they were working in a factory. It was very serious business. I did see them move stacks of bamboo steamers so a little girl could watch them and that made my ovaries twinge. Just a little! if babies like dumplings than maybe that doesn’t sound so bad, right? Slippery slope I suppose. ANYWAY I DIGRESS SINCE I AM PINING AWAY FOR VODKA…..
We had delicious, beautiful pork and shrimp dumplings which were filled inside with a tiny bit of broth. When we bit into these we sort of perked up a bit about what a monumental meal this was. Before everything was just super delicious. Things really took a step up here.
Next we tried the house specialty, xiaolongbao. We had pork, naturally. These were amazing. Like, nearly molecular gastronomy. When you put one in your moth, the broth which was perfectly warm but not hot flooded your mouth and then you bit into the delicious porky insides and then we’d lean back into our chairs and have very serious and inappropriate conversations with our eyes as we chewed this amazing thing. It was incredible. By this point we were discussing the meal as pivotal! Life-changing! INTENSE!
By now we were pretty stuffed and we probs shouldn’t have ordered these but I think we were just overcome with the pork shakes that we needed more. These were delicious and perfect but not as special as the other things we got.
By now we were ready to go lay down and pop a Tums but oops– we had ordered dessert. On a whim we got mini sesame balls because when isn’t sesame just the right thing? These were perhaps the most incredible thing we ate. I was immediately enamored with the xiaolongbao but these are what I wish I could taste again. Think about black sesame seeds inside a delicious soft bao-wrapping. Now think about an oreo. These tasted like high-class oreos and i wish to eat these again. Very soon. For a split-second I was irrationally mad at Dave that we’d have to share the 3rd one. I cut it down the middle with a bit of spite but promptly swallowed it with the final bit of sesame bun.
Twenty-something minutes later we were back out into the mall avoiding people dive bombing us (seriously, Asia, why with the walking like kamikaze pilots? We’re right here — two big Western people walking in a straight line– you can’t miss us. Why aim directly for us? UGH.)
Worth it to be elbowed by a 90-lb mom of 3 on her way to Din Tai Fun herself to have eaten there. I get it sister — you’re jonesing for a fix. This meal, by the way, was the most expensive one we’ve eaten to date. Grand total? $28USD.