Din Tai Fung is a famous Taiwanese restaurant. According to information I gleaned about it, Din Tai Fung has about 250 restaurants around Asia. However, it only opened its very first restaurant in Europe, in December 2018 in London, Convent Garden. There was a lot of media fan-fare running up to the opening; that’s how I got to hear about it, and what got my attention was that this restaurant is famous for their dumplings called Xiao Long Bao. I can’t understand how this could be possible because this was a dish I dislike the most out of all the dishes you can order when you go to have dim sum. But this dish is apparently what made the restaurant so famous that a queue of up to 4-5 hours occurred when the restaurant opened in some parts of Asia. A similar wait is expected for the very first opening in London’s Convent Garden and they don’t take bookings. You just have to turn up and wait for your seat.
A few weeks after its opening I decided to go and see. When I arrived there was indeed a long queue snaking around with a 2+ hours wait. This was a cold January, winter day, and I was not prepared to wait in the cold so long for lunch so gave it a miss and went over to China town to have my usual dim sum instead.
A few months later, during the Easter holiday on 21 April 2019 I went again. Things were much better this time. I couldn’t see a queue but as it turned out, they have set up a digital queuing system where you give the attendance your name and phone number. They then text you when your table is ready so you don’t have to wait in line. And this time our table was ready in around 10 minutes. We finally made it in to try out the famous Xiao Long Bao.
Ordering was easy. You fill out your order form as below:
Below are the four dishes and two drinks we ordered:
This is the famous Xiao Long Bao. This restaurant does many different types of fillings for their bao but we decided to stick to the standard traditional pork bao and I can report it is as good as they made it out to be. The skin are thin and silky. The fillings are fresh, wholesome with tasty soups inside each bao. This was the one dish I usually avoid when I go to dim sum but here I can easily eat a few basket of it even though there are eight of them per basket. The only thing stopping me was the price. As you can see it is expensive at £10.50 for eight tiny little baozi.
In fact, all the dishes we tried were delicious. However, the portions are tiny in all of them. See the bill below for our four dishes and two drinks.
I guess the price is to be expected for its prime location in central London. And it is a big restaurant sitting up to 250 people.
Watch my video of the day below where you will get to see the restaurant and the kitchen staff in their white overall with face masks looking like some clinical researchers and the walk around Convent Garden and central London afterward.
Below are some pictures of random pages from the menu to give you an idea of other dishes and prices.