Archive for August, 2011
The first Din Tai Fung opened back in 1974 as a small stall in Taipei and has since grown into an international phenomenon with 47 restaurants in 10 different countries. While I may not have travelled the world enough to call it the “worlds tastiest dumpling” like chef Ken Hom did, I would certainly agree that it’s by far the tastiest dumpling joint in Sydney, even better than the popular Shanghai Tang or Marigold.
Din Tai Fung’s unique point of difference is the scientific precision applied to all the dishes made. Every dumpling pastry is delicately hand made to measure between precisely 4.8 and 5.2 grams at conception, with an exact 6cm diameter, before being stuffed and folded 18 times to weigh between 20.6 and 21.4 grams. The result – perfection every time!
Food overall is just gorgeous.The fruit juices are freshly squeezed and delicious. The zesty and silky hot & sour soup makes a perfect starter. The steamed crab meat & crab roe dumpling is delicate, juicy and flavourful. The shrimp & pork jiao zi and pork bun are to die for. My only disappointment was when I ordered the Shanghai syle drunken chicken, which I found too poached, plain and cold for my liking…although I am not sure what else I was expecting as that’s apparently was it is!
Din Tai Fung don’t take bookings, so best try and avoid peak hours if you can. I usually like to go around 11.30am on Saturday or Sunday and never wait longer than 10 minutes. The service is impeccable and fast, so once seated the food will be on the table within 5 minutes! The ambiance isn’t on the romantic side, but definitely much more pleasant than most Yum Cha places.
Overall, I would probably give it a 9/10 Nibbles!
World Square Shopping Centre
Level 1, Shop 11.04, 644 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9264 6010
Chicken pies and pies in general are the perfect feel-good food. Rich and flavourful, it’s the perfect home-cooked meal for your friends and family. It’s also pretty quick and easy, especially when using ready-made pastry. Once you’ve tried this classic, you will find yourself try all sorts of tasty variations of your own!
1 tbsp olive oil
300g chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
2 medium clove garlic, peeled and crushed
100g shortcut bacon, finely diced
½ leek, finely chopped
6 mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk
1/3 cup thyme sprigs
Salt and pepper, to taste
20g grated cheese (optional)
1-2 sheets shortcrust pastry
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 200°C and heat the oil in a large frying pan. Place the chicken in the pan, season with salt & pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Cook in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan if necessary. Remove and set aside.
2. Add the bacon to the same pan and cook until lovely & crisp. Add the onion, garlic, leek to the pan and sauté for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown.
3. Add the flour and cook, stirring continuously for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the stock, then the milk. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened & creamy. Season to taste.
4. Grease a round baking tray and dust it with flour to make it non stick. Flip it over the puff pastry and cut around it to form the lid of the pie. Set aside. Repeat with the shortcrust pastry, but this time cut circles about 1.5cm from the edge of the tin.
5. Ease shortcrust pastry circle into pie the tin, spoon in the chicken mixture, sprinkle with a bit of grated cheese if you fancy it.
6. Top with the puff pastry. Cut a small cheminee on top to allow the steam to escape while cooking, press edges to seal, trim any excess pastry using a sharp knife and brush with the egg glaze.
7. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve with a side of salad for a summer dish or with vegetable, mash and gravy for a heartier winter meal! If you don’t have short-crust pastry, you can simply use puff pastry for the pie base as well as the lid, it’s just not as traditional!