A cursory inspection of the menu will indicate they clearly understand their clientele. They have a separate vegetarian menu, which is essential if you want to be a successful restaurant in London and it's something you don't often find at Taiwanese restaurants. The likes of their noodles with spicy sauce and cabbage garlic deliver on the taste front along with being super-healthy. They've recently launched a beef xiao long bao, which is a particular positive for those who can't eat pork.
Talking of their signature dish, how they produce such a thin wrapper yet holding a significant amount of umami-rich supreme broth is the kind of creation that defies the laws of physics. The ones we particularly enjoyed included the crab and pork variety which has a pleasing variation in texture. Even the beef version tastes refined on the palate when you might have expected a rougher texture.
They execute the traditional dishes with authenticity and aplomb. Take their iconic steamed chicken soup, the chicken is corn-fed and simmered gradually over 6 hours to enhance the flavours. The hot and sour has just the right consistency, it's thick without being overly gloopy.
What did come as a surprise was to find their signature fried pork shop under the side and snacks section. If that's what the Taiwanese enjoy for an afternoon bite, I would love to know what is on their typical menu for main courses. The pork chop was suitably thin, so it had just the right meat-to-breadcrumb ratio. Think of a more refined version of the heavier Wiener schnitzel.
Taiwanese desserts are not well-known in the UK or Europe but their molten custard bao with salted egg yolk is a masterpiece that deserves to have a food stall of its own, much like the pastel de nata shops that are currently popping up all over London. Pillowy soft on the outside with an explosion of creamy sweetness on the inside, this is just the kind of dish you promise to share but renege on after you've tried one.
The roaring success of Din Tai Fung shows no signs of abating. If you are passionate about dumplings, make sure you feed your addiction by visiting their branches soon.
Din Tai Fung Selfridges
Address: 400 Oxford St, London W1A 1AB
Phone: 020 7318 3818