February 22, 2016 / 2 Comments
For those of you who are new to DTF – let me tell you, it’s an obsession. From your first bamboo steamer of Xiao Long Bao, (or XLB) – you’ll be hooked. These delicate parcels of meat and soup broth are like manna from heaven. Add the requisite ginger, soy and vinegar dipping mix and they are truly one of life’s pleasures.
If this is your first journey to DTF, you’re in for a treat. There are quite a few branches in Shanghai so there’s sure to be one that will be convenient to your sightseeing route. We sampled the branch on the 3F at World Financial Centre – super handy as it’s the same floor where you disembark after ascending to the 100th floor to view Shanghai’s spectacular scenery from the glass observation deck. No queues when we went either (usually a standard wait for DTF is around 30 mins!). Start with the pork Xiao Long Bao. I live in a country where pork is a bit of a no-no, and we make do with DTF’s chicken XLB – still delish mind you, but just not the same as the rich fatty goodness of the pork version. Order one batch when you sit down, and another when they arrive – they are best eaten hot, and I’m sure you’re going to want more after the first steamer full!
There is a technique to eating these yummy dumplings, but it mostly applies to when they just arrive and are very very hot! The method is to place the XLB into your spoon, pierce the skin of the dumpling to let some of the heat and broth out, and down them (of course you need to dunk them in your ginger/vinegar/soy combination firs t – they recommend about a 3 to 1 vinegar to soy ratio, but I’m more a 2 soy to one vinegar kinda girl). I’m a nibbler so I say to hell with that, I just take little bites as I go, but be sure to keep it on your spoon as to not lose any of the precious broth! The rest of the menu varies from city to city, country to country, which is one of the joys of DTF even though it’s a chain restaurant. I’ve visited DTF in eight countries, and so have tasted many of their menus. I’ll say Shanghai’s menu is probably one of the more traditional/out there menus of the chain. Jellyfish anyone?? You can’t go wrong however with the house special salad – seaweed, vermicelli, lots of yumminess. A great slightly sour counterpart to the other rich dishes. I’ll give you my must-orders for the Dubai branch in another post. Oh, always ask for a pot of chili oil if there is none on your table – it’s great to spice things up! They’ll bring you extra ginger if you ask too – and a special handbag holder hamper!
Don’t forget to take a peek into the glass room where they prepare the XLB – you’ll see them weighing out the wrapper and filling to exact weights – that’s what makes DTF XLB consistently great across the globe.
The menu is adventurous and definitely designed to local tastes – but jump in and see what you can handle! It’s all very reasonably priced so don’t be scared to try something new.
Price for 5 XLB (it’s served in portions of 6 in Dubai which are a little easier to split in a group!) =