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the DUMPLING HOUSE

In Asian Kitchens, Business Sense, Vol. 17

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When you hear Din Tai Fung, your thought process starts from glass panes, chefs through a working glass and finally, soup spilling out at the first bite of their infamous Xiao Long Bao.

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What started as a tiny dumpling corner in a Taiwanese cooking oil shop in 1958, this contemporary yet elegant dumpling house is known to welcome guests earlier than usual. Guests do this simply to watch the infamous Xiao Long Bao come to life behind the glass paned show kitchen located right at the entrance, where you will see people walking up to take photographs of the line cooks in action. “This idea is adapted from the original Din Tai Fung in Taiwan. We recognize that nowadays, customers love to see how their foods are hygienically and meticulously prepared. To us here at Din Tai Fung, making our signature soup dumplings, or better known as the Xiao Long Bao, is more than just preparing food; it is an art in itself. Having an open kitchen is therefore a great platform for our chefs to showcase this art to the public,”expressed a Din Tai Fung representative.

The phenomenal Taiwanese dumping house has already got about 114 restaurants internationally, with seven locations in the United States alone. It is not uncommon waiting in lines to get into the restaurant. According to the Mercury News review on the newly launched Santa Clara outlet, there were two-hour waits and lines snaking through Westfield Valley Fair mall that prompted the chain to take reservations for the first time ever. When those were snapped up and resold on Craigslist, the restaurant required ID and refused to seat guests who had bought a seat at the table.

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Further international recognition came in 2010, when DinTaiFung’s Hong Kong branch was awarded one Michelin Star; which is an honour as no other Taiwanese restaurant has ever been won the coveted star ever. And, being a name in lights; the Xiao Long Bao does not come without a challenge of course. Consistency remains the biggest challenge in the kitchen with this international chain. As a restaurant, they are constantly making continuous efforts by regular training, improving the work flow and creating new ideas. “Another challenge of ours is hiring suitable personnel for the job,”the representative expressed. The restaurant is always on the lookout for candidates who have interest and passion in what they do; as they believe that ‘if you are interested in what you do, then you will enjoy the process and eventually, you will achieve self-satisfaction.’

“We strongly believe the open kitchen boosts customer’s confidence in our restaurant and our brand. Customers are attracted to dine at DinTaiFung when they see how our chefs prepare their food.”

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Careful selection of ingredients, attention to detail in food preparation, fine-tuning of the cooking process; serving food in the best possible way – Din Tai Fung takes the same painstaking care over each step in the process of bringing outstanding gourmet food to our guests, with rigorous quality assurance at ever y stage. There is a special skill required when it comes to the XLB, they roll each five gram wheat skin wrapper and fill it with exactly sixteen grams of pork filling. Then, they finish it off with 18 pleats before placing it in a bamboo steamer to cook.

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Food quality and its ‘cooking theatre-style’ very much work hand in hand in creating a world class experience when you walk into DinTaiFung. The dumpling house stressed that they have a responsibility to maintain the highest standards in the food they serve. “Everything we do is geared towards winning the consumer’s approval; ever y single detail is one of the bricks that help to build the foundations for the brand,”he added.

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“We strongly believe the open kitchen boosts customer’s confidence in our restaurant and our brand. Customers are attracted to dine at DinTaiFung when they see how our chefs prepare their food. And, they will be able to form their own impression and idea in regards to how their food is prepared by the chefs. This is definitely an advantage,”DinTaiFung’s representative concluded.

DIN TAI FUNG
www.dintaifung.com.my

Eileen Chanthe DUMPLING HOUSE