Yesterday, I broke my promise to my wife.
But it’s not what you think. Okay?
Now let me narrate it.
These past few weeks, I’ve been going in and out of SM Megamall to address work-related concerns. Well, we’re going to have a project located here. Each time I tell my wife that I’m going to have my fieldwork here, coincidentally, she also had hers. By that, we agree to meet and go home together after running our respective errands. In some cases, before going home, we just roam around the mall; eat; or look for something to buy in order to just kill time knowing how chaotic the traffic can be.
It’s one of those “roam arounds” that we found a restaurant with such a familiar name. Well, I’ve heard of this restaurant before. This restaurant was originated in Taiwan and is famous for its Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumpling). Its name is Din Tai Fung Restaurant. It had numerous branches across Taiwan and other countries in Southeast Asia but its original store is located at Da’an District in which can be accessed through the MRT Red Line (Tamsui-Xinyi Line) going to Xinyi Station. September of last year when my wife and I had our trip in Taiwan. Having no idea on where to go, I decided to read several blogs in order to help me plan the itinerary. One of those blogs said, “You’ve never really visited Taiwan without visiting the original Din Tai Fung branch.” Maybe I’m just overreacting since some people find this restaurant overrated. But still, I decided to include it but weren’t became successful in visiting it.
During the time we visited Taiwan, we missed a lot of places from our original itinerary. Giving us that desire to return there badly. In fact, I’m searching for seat sales right now (Oh Finances! Please help us.).
From that, my wife and I made an agreement that we’ll try the original Din Tai Fung branch in Taiwan first before trying it here in the Philippines despite the fact that we’re both craving for it when we just found out about it.
But I guess that some promises are meant to be broken.
Last friday (April 6), it like my wife and I experienced one of the worst days of our lives (hoping that we don’t experience the same worst thing again). My wife and I suffered bad day at work. I did my fieldwork and left early but experienced traffic congestion. I transmitted blueprints of one project and it’s incomplete given that the other half of it were printed wrong. I picked up documents and blueprints of another project but had to go back to the clients office when I’m already near the parking lot upon finding out that they also transmitted wrong documents (and it’s not even my fault). I endured another 2 hours of horrendous traffic to attend a 3 PM meeting at SM Megamall only to find out that the one who initiated the meeting were late for almost 2 hours. You can imagine how pissed off I am that day. I decided to not provide details of my wife’s. I’ll let herself narrate it (LOL!).
Aside from that, both of us went triggered by our loss upon finding out that a couple, whose child shares the same age as our first-born Zane, were conceiving… again. I don’t want to play the “bitter” card but we can’t see ourselves being happy for them either. Thus, making it hard for us to function properly throughout the day.
I’m originally planning to pick her up at her office after my meeting. But given that my meeting were adjourned at almost 6 in the evening, we agreed that I’ll just stay and wait for her as she goes to the mall from Makati. When she arrived, we’re both hungry…
And the rest is history.
We broke our promise and decided to give in to our cravings.
Like typical restaurants, they have front desks in which we decided to inquire first as this restaurant can be crowded during peak hours. But great thing that there’s still a table for 2 when we asked knowing that it’s Friday night and I saw from the outside that almost all tables were filled up. I wasn’t able to take decent photos of it though, along with the rest of our dinner out of having a huge emotional baggage and “not being in the mood.” Although I had taken quite few of them including the cozy interiors. Having a huge space, we didn’t felt that the whole place is crowded although technically, it was.
Being amazed with interiors lately, I can say that whoever architect / interior designer that designed the restaurant’s interiors and contractor that built this did their amazing jobs.
I was also in awe by seeing the chefs prepare the food from outside the window. I would assume that they’re preparing Xiao Long Bao as it was their bestseller. On another note, I can say that they want to prove that they take quality on what they’re preparing seriously.
My wife and I also observed that they’re practicing what the usual restaurants outside the country do… as what we experienced on the restaurants in other countries that we dined in. Some were opposite of what the non-fast food restaurants in the Philippines do. From ordering up to paying… by ourselves.
Instead of a server jotting down our orders as we look on their menus, we’re given a piece of paper to order. We just place a number beside the order to indicate “how many” and shall be given to any server to place it.
In the case of paying, instead of asking for the waiter for our bill, we pay them at the cashier area on the exit part of the restaurant. It’s like paying on a fast food chain but he difference is, we pay after we eat.
I can say that they’re doing this practices to accommodate people in much more efficient manner. That the foot traffic may enter, order, receive order, dine, pay, and exit in a much quicker time. The entrance and exit are also different to avoid overcrowding. But the only downside that I can find about their system could be the longer queue that we encountered when we’re about to pay our bill.
Still in overall, we’ve had our incredible dining experience here.
Also, our really bad day were somehow compensated with this sumptous dinner. In fact, we almost forgot that we had a really bad day until we’re on our way home. But that’s another story.
Now, for the food that we ate.
My wife and I decided to order our usual favorites whenever we go to Chinese / Singaporean / Taiwanese restaurants. Being forgetful as we usually are, we forgot to order their bestseller which is the xiaolongbao. I know that it’s a little absurd to visit Din Tai Fung without trying it.
But anyway, here are those that we tried during that day:
- Vegetarian Mushroom Wonton Soup (lower left): My wife ordered this. It consists of mushrooms and vegetable dumplings. I loved that their noodles aren’t thin unlike the other Chinese noodles that I previously tried. The serving is large that we should’ve ordered one bowl for the both of us and they aren’t stingy with their dumplings either. I also personally tasted it and for a vegetarian food, it’s not that bad after all.
- Price: PHP 265.00 (approx. USD 5.00)
- Rating: 7/10
- Pork and Roasted Garlic Bun (upper left): We ordered this out of remembering the bun dumpling that we ordered at a restaurant back in Singapore. For Filipinos especially to those who loved Chinese food, it’s like a “siopao.” But its difference from the usual siopao that we usually eat and the one we tried in Singapore was the sweetness of “asado” being removed from it. Although it’s not the usual siopao that I tasted, we still find it delicious. My wife loved it more though.
- Price: PHP 140.00 for 3 pcs (approx. USD 2.70)
- Rating: 9/10
- All-meat Braised Beef Noodle Soup (upper right): I personally ordered this and I loved it. I think this is my favorite of all the braised beef noodle that I’ve tasted so far. I really can’t construct the right words for it but the soup is well-spiced and well-salted. I loved that their noodles aren’t thin unlike the other Chinese noodles that I previously tried. The serving is large that we should’ve ordered one bowl for the both of us and they aren’t stingy with the chunks of beef either. My wife said that it’s better that the soup that she ordered.
- Price: PHP 325.00 (approx. USD 6.25)
- Rating: 10/10
- Steamed Shrimp and Pork Shao Mai (not on the photo): Again, for Filipinos like us, we call this dumpling “siomai.” But of course, this is the real one. It’s different from the taste that we’re used to. There’s shrimp on top, which my wife also loved. As someone whom aren’t fan of shrimps, the taste wasn’t that bad. Although I’m searching for the taste of pork in it since I tasted veggies on the bottom part of it. Similar to the dumplings on the vegetarian soup that we ordered. It’s best paired with soy sauce like the usual siomai that we eat.
- Price: PHP 200.00 for 5 pcs (approx. USD 3.84)
- Rating: 9/10
To answer the question “Shall we return here?”
Definitely! We’ll return here. We’re also honestly recommending it despite other people finding this restaurant overrated. Let the Michelin star and other food award-giving bodies speak for themselves.
We failed to try their bestselling xiaolongbao which we’ll try on our next visit. Also, it gave us urge to try the real thing in Taiwan; especially my wife who kept on telling me that she really want us to return here (LOL!). If we did return here or tried the real thing, I’ll let all of you know. Maybe I’ll update this blog or even create another post for it.
- Store Name: DIN TAI FUNG (PHILIPPINES)
- Branch: SM Megamall and 2 other branches.
- Website: http://dintaifungph.com/
This post wasn’t in any way, sponsored by or affiliated to DIN TAI FUNG PHILIPPINES. Also, this post wasn’t intended in any way to offend or spread hate to the said company. However, all thoughts and words are my own and were based only on our actual experiences.
Dex Bautista on ZOMATO: