Just like in Taipei, when I'm in Shanghai eating at Din Tai Fung is a personal requirement. Actually, eating there at least twice is a personal requirement.
Every location has a few different dumplings on their own menus. After touring the observation decks of the World Financial Center, my family and I had a late lunch at DTF. I knew this was going to be a great meal. What I didn't expect was to have the greatest bite of food...maybe ever, but definitely the greatest bite from this entire 2011.
Last spring, I had a fantastic meal in Benu in San Francisco. One of the tasting menu selections was Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao. It was excellent with a distinctive foie gras taste and a beautifully thin wrapper.
Months later, I encountered another foie gras xiao long bao here at the Din Tai Fung in Shanghai. Without any need for a name brand chef and without any need to spend hundreds, this foie gras xiao long bao puts all else to shame.
You know when you eat something great, you get silenced for a moment. You enjoy the taste in your mouth, maybe make an appreciative sound with your mouth closed (assuming you have proper eating manners, that is), and then comment on how spectacular it was after you swallowed the food or drink.
This totally was not like that. One tiny bite from the dumpling to get the soup...the soup hit my lips and tongue. OMG, the screaming intensity of the goose liver hits you. That overwhelming goodness doesn't leave you time to enjoy a silent moment. The taste involuntarily had my mouth and brain verbalizing the utter goodness. The juice almost trickled out of my mouth because I had yet to swallow my first little bite. Manners wiped away. Any thought other than this amazing goose liver vanished. You can't help but let out an expletive to describe the goodness. It's that amazing. Hands down, best bite this year. Hands down.
Place your cursor above "Notes" below to read the captions for each photo.
The slide show here runs on Flash. If you can't see it, check out my Flickr album: DTF SWFC