Friday, July 30, 2010

Steamed Pork Dumplings at Ding Tai Fung

Ding Tai Fung is a Shanghai dim sum restaurant at First Markham Place, a busy Chinese plaza located in Markham (3255 Highway 7 East to be exact). My boyfriend and I frequently go there because he literally lives 2 minutes away from the mall - we go there for food as well as movies (they have a Cineplex there). If you're looking for good Asian eats of different variety, First Markham Place is the place to be - they have Vietnamese food, Japanese, Korean, as well as Hong Kong style cafes, and of course your Chinese restaurants, which can be broken down to noodle and congee places, dim sum places, and Cantonese style restaurants. I probably haven't covered everything since these are just from the top of my head, but if that still doesn't entice you enough to take a drive to the suburbs, they also have a cheap food court inside the mall hahaha =D

For those who think this Ding Tai Fung is from the same Din Tai Fung chain (which was originated in Taipei and now has many locations throughout Asia), then I'm sorry, this is not it. That Din Tai Fung does not have Toronto listed as one of their locations on their official site - you would have  to travel to Arcadia, California to find their only branch in North America.

I'm guessing the name Ding Tai Fung is taken from the Cantonese phonetic pronunciation. They may also have copied a similar menu to the legendary Din Tai Fung from Taiwan, have an identical Chinese name (down to the characters) and similar phonetically, but really, don't be fooled! 

Since the real Din Tai Fung doesn't have a chain in Canada, this is as good as it gets right? In all honestly, I really don't care whether they try to copy the real thing or not. This Ding Tai Fung, in my opinion, is still one of the most decent Shanghainese restaurant in Toronto. I do not care what name you have, as long as you have good food, I'm there! =D

The menu below is all in Chinese, but do not panic, they have an English menu as well.

We had four people for lunch that day so we ordered a bunch dim sum to share. The more people the merrier, just like going for tapas.

There's no question I would start with the Steamed Pork Dumplings. This is my favourite Shanghai dim sum. They are served super hot so be careful! Once you get passed that and take the first bite into it, delicious broth full of flavour will immediately pour into your savour it! I suggest putting the whole dumpling in your mouth to prevent wasting any of the precious broth =)

Next up are the Pan Fried Pork Dumplings. They are basically the same as the dumplings above just that instead of steaming them, they are cooked on the skillet. They also have a denser pork filling. I'm not too crazy about these, I much prefer the steamed ones any day.

Green Onion Pancake - this is probably my second favourite Shanghai dim sum. I used to think Ding Tai Fung's green onion pancakes were too thick and doughy, but this time, I was genuinely surprised to find that they were much thinner and less dense with more green onions too - I LIKE.

Taiwanese Stewed Pork Rice - this is my first time having this. This dish is one of my friend's favourite dish at this restaurant (he used to live in Taiwan for a bit and had this all the time). It consists of pork belly cubes and veggies. It is simple, yet very tasty. He said what he had in Taiwan was better though.

Twice Cooked Pork with Vegetables in Spicy Sauce - the pork is sliced super thin and served with green and red peppers and dried tofu slices, all stir fried together. The pork is "twice cooked" because it is boiled then deep fried.

Noodles with Shredded Pork and Mixed Vegetables - I like to order this noodle soup to balance out the strong flavours. This noodle soup is very soothing to the palette.

We were all pretty stuffed after this. The thing with dim sum is that when you see that menu, with so many choices, you just want to try and eat many many things! And four out of five times you usually order way too much. No complaints though, it was all good food and left completely satisfied. We packed some of the food home too =D

Ding Tai Fong - Shanghai Dim Sum on Urbanspoon