This well-known xiao long bao specialist touts having been named one of the world’s ten best restaurants by the New York Times. That was in 1993, and the review (which doesn’t say anything about “top ten”) was written about the original Taipei location. Details.
Din Tai Fung has two locations in HK, and many more around the world, but I’ve only been to the one in Causeway Bay. It’s neat and clean, with well-spaced tables, and all the charm of a hospital cafeteria, a theme that’s reinforced by the kitchen staff, visible behind a glass partition, who, in their face masks, look more like clinicians than cooks.
This vaguely scientific air makes it all the more surprising that the xiao long bao I’ve had here haven’t been consistent; the filling is the same (always delicious), but the thickness of the wrappers has varied. Still, that’s the thing to order. Start with a cold dish like cucumber with garlic and chili, or wild greens with tiny cubes of tofu and a sesame dressing, add a basket (or two) of xiao long bao, and you have fine lunch. I was less impressed by pork and shrimp dumplings. Though very pretty — each little purse is meticulously topped with a curlicue shrimp — these were bland and a little dry. A vegetarian offering, crimped half-moons plump with earthy mushrooms and greens, was more satisfying.
Dumplings are the specialty, but the menu is encyclopedic. Service is efficient, and I always seem to leave here buzzing from the constant refills of tea. There’s often a line, so go early. I’m not sure this one belongs on any best-of lists, but If you’re in CWB, and need to feed the xiao long bao monster, then why not?
Din Tai Fung G/F 68 Yee Woo St., Causeway Bay +852 3160 8998 Around HK$100 or so per head.