When Matt and I visited Beijing earlier this year, we visited the famed Din Tai Fung in Beijing. After I returned to Dubai, I realised there was one at Mall of the Emirates! Before heading to the movies, some friends and I decided to give it a go for lunch.
The first thing we noticed was how busy it was! In the middle of summer, on a Monday. That’s a good sign. The restaurants on either side were empty – but Din Tai Fung was buzzing. We just managed to grab a seat, and took a look at the menu. It’s very extensive – so many things to try. You note your food choices on a little slip which the wait staff take away . This is great for Dubai… nothing gets lost in translation. While it took a while to flag down our waitress – they were very busy – once she took our order, the food started arriving as it was prepared.
We sampled so many dishes. Amongst other things, we ordered chicken xiaolongbao, dumpling soup, chicken and vegetable dumplings, beef dumplings, chow mein, braised beef soup and chicken egg fried rice. Tash was kind enough to give me some of her chicken xiaolongbao. These are chicken soup dumplings – and they tasted just as good as the ones we tried in Beijing. If you do order these, note that they come out HOT! Follow the instructions on the little plastic sheet on the table. This will instruct you to place the dumpling in soy sauce and ginger, and poke a hole in the dumpling to release the steaming contents.
I loved my chicken egg fried rice – so much nicer than the greasier versions I have had here in Dubai. The chow mein and braised beef soup also got our vote of approval. The only items that were a bit disappointing were the chicken and vegetable dumplings. They still tasted nice, but they didn’t really taste much of chicken.
You can see the staff in the very busy open kitchen, constantly preparing more and more dishes. The turnover is pretty incredible. Once the dishes started arrived, they kept coming. We forgot how much we had ordered… the table was too small! In the end, it cost about 70AED per person including soft drinks and water. For that price, we had more than enough. We probably could have ordered slightly less, but where is the fun in that?
I imagine it gets VERY busy at night – and probably during the peak season – so now is a great time to sample the offerings at Din Tai Fung. This review states that there is often a one hour wait! While it’s not quite the experience you get in China – the lack of pork being the obvious change from the Chinese menu – it is still a delicious and cost-effective eating establishment.
And if, by any chance, you are heading to Hong Kong and want to dine at one of the world’s cheapest Michelin starred restaurants, the Causeway Bay branch was awarded one Michelin star in 2010, and again in 2014. While it doesn’t currently hold a star, it does hold the Michelin ‘bib’, which recognizes ‘simple yet skilful cooking for under £28 or €40.’ I imagine you can get a lot of dumplings for £28.
Where: Level two, Mall of the Emirates
Opening hours: 11AM to 10PM Sunday – Wednesday, 11AM – 11PM Thursday and Saturday
Cost: Approximately 150AED for two.
Platinum discount? No.