Friday, February 24, 2012

Din Tai Fung!

DTF crazy busy Friday night

So I've been to Din Tai Fung in Korea with Chee, Emily and my parents and it was good.  Then I had Din Tai Fung in TST with Ms. Han and it was really good.  And then I had Din Tai Fung in TST with P and new friend Jared,and it was amazing!!  Visitors, whenever you come we are going to Din Tai Fung.  Not because I want to share this magical experience, but because I want an excuse to wait in the hour + line for some of THE best dumplings!

Let's back up, shall we? Yesterday P and I met up and went to the China Wine Awards in the Mira Hotel, TST.  Greg said it was pretty cool and "my cup of tea' because it was lots of wine sampling and food.  Food, not so much.  There were these super buttery (read delicious) croissants filled with hot dogs (so Asian), and a couple little chocolate mousse things, but that was the extent of it.  Alas, it was not food we were after.  We were on a quest of thirst and knowledge.  As you walk into this huge dining room, you immediately notice this huge table filled with, I'm guessing, 200 different wines.  They each have a sticker and were all opened.  From what I gather earlier in the day they were all covered and the judges (read anyone who signed up) blind tasted them.  This was an award event, so there must be winners!  And losers!   Despite the name, the wines were from around the world, and actually included some spirits.  Since we didn't know anything about how this worked, Paul and I just walked by to the vendors.  

One of the tables filled with wines to be judged
There was a small section with 10 or so wine reps.  We started with Russia.  Russia makes wines, you say.  Well, yes they do!  In fact, my first wine tasting at HOFWs we tasted a Russian wine, and I actually quite liked it.  No one else did, but I think they were being label snobs, which just left more for me!  So I started chatting with the Russian rep and gave him my card.  It's like a golden ticket!  People see I work for an importer and all of the sudden the pours get heavy and the conversation begins!  Paul thought the wine dudes were hitting on me, but I know the truth.  They're looking to sell!  We drank a sparkling white, which was totally flat because it had been opened for 3 hours, but was still enjoyable, two ice wines which I always love, and a red, cab sauv maybe??  I don't remember, but both Paul and I were pleasantly surprised by the tastiness.  And come on, if you see a Russian wine on the shelf you're going to go look at it.  Perhaps not buy it though....

Old friend, G7.   This was the ONLY drinkable wine in Korea under $10
Then we moved onto the next tables where we tried a bunch of disappointing Italian wines.  Then moved to a different Italian rep and he had equally disappointing wines.  Even his $400HKD Barolo was pretty lackluster.  But we saw our good friends Jackie and Steve from Portrait Winery and they informed us that there was a California table.  Oohhh you know how I've been loving my Cali wines recently.  Jackie and Steve run this amazing winery (I wrote about last weekend) and are always so helpful, cheerful, and lovely.  They have quite the operation going on, and I'm happy to have tried their wines!

Everyone else was setting up shop at this point (7pm) but Jared was still hanging in there, pouring out some of Cali's finest.  He and his business partner recently decided to import wines in HK (the gateway to China), and he had just moved to Hong Kong semi-permanently this week!  We started with a sparking white made in the Prosecco fashion, and man it just tasted like small vineyard!  I don't know the word for it yet, but after WSET I will be sure to let you know what I'm talking about.  But yummmm, love that taste!  Then we had the best of the evening (and is sitting in my kitchen now), a Zinfandel.  Big, bold, fruity, and balanced, this wine popped!  Paul preferred the 100% Cabernet (also on the counter), but really all the ones we tested were delicious.

My favorite from the judging tables

At this point the crowd had gotten very thin and Paul and I discover another table of yet another 100 or so wines.  Jackie said they were there for tasting, so I scoured through the labels to fine regions and grapes I liked, while Paul looked for cool labels.  We all have our own methods.  We probably tasted 10+ and were told take what we like home. Luckily for us, Paul had his backpack because he'd come right from school.  We picked 5 and were on our way when we stopped to chat with Jared again.  Turns out he was hungry too, so we all walked 5 minutes over to Din Tai Fung.

The queue

Jared and I <3 DTF

AMAZING shumai.  Look at those bulbs of juice!
For those of you who don't know, Din Tai Fung is a Michelin rated dumpling place with outposts all over Asia.  And it's wonderful.  And everyone knows it.  We get in the queue (I like to pretend I'm English sometimes) and wait.  And wait. And drink some Portrait wine.  And wait.  Sip.  Wait.  Sip.  You get it.  A little over an hour later and we're starving, but we get a round table, something the hostess seemed quite pleased about, and put in our preselected order.  Man this place does not disappoint.  We had wonton soup, spicy pork dumplings, shrimp and pork shumai, some glutinous rice thing, and a pork bun, which oddly came as a single.  Everything was wonderful, and Paul and I agreed the shrimp shumai was to die for, with the spicy dumpling coming in a close second<--Jared's favorite.  The dumplings are all about careful precision.  You cannot break the bottom, or the heavenly juice will escape and the magic dissipates.  But since we're all pros by now, we didn't have that problem.   And we made a new friend on top of it, who will hopefully join us tomorrow for a Jumbo floating restaurant bottomless Champagne brunch.   Brian, get ready because HK drinking and dining is on!

Til next time!

1 comment:

  1. OK, you got me. I'll come for a visit this year.