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Din Tai Fung – World Square Sydney CBD NSW Restaurant Review

If there’s one theme to Din Tai Fung, Taiwanese multinational dim sum chain, is that the food is alright but expensive. This was my second time dining at Din Tai Fung, the first was with a few of my friends from high school (and now medical colleagues) in 2012.

The xiao long baos (8 for $14.90) at Din Tai Fung are pretty standard fare. Though a flagship dish of DTF, they do not stand out apart from the fact that there is nothing wrong with them. They are juicy and tasty, however at 8 for $14.90 are very overpriced. There is nothing about them that sets them apart from other XLBs (my senior intensive care colleague remarked that not everything needs to be abbreviated – but I think this is a common abbreviation), and they are no better than Taste of Shanghai‘s, which are 8 for $12.

The spicy seafood dumplings/wontons (6 for $14.90) were really quite good. They were stuffed full of seafood flavours, and the spicy soup/dipping sauce that they came in was quite nice as well. Expensive, but a recommendation from me.

The shrimp and pork dumplings (6 for $13.90), steamed, were pretty good but again expensive. I wouldn’t consider them as special as the spicy seafood dumplings, so would not recommend these if the choice is between the two.

Shao Mai (4 for $12.90)

The pork and prawn shao mai (4 for $12.90) were missable. Similar comments to the above. Don’t think I need to repeat myself.

Green beans with minced pork

The green beans with minced pork ($17.90) are standard Chinese restaurant fare. You would certainly expect a much larger serving for this price though. Get them if you like it, but green beans are not what Din Tai Fung is known for.

General Tso’s Chicken

It’s nice to eat food named after a dead Chinese guy for once. Even though General Tso may be more or less long forgotten, the chicken that has nothing else to do with him apart from bearing his name lives on. DTF’s General Tso’s Chicken ($18.90) is the second GTC I’ve ever had, the first being in Box Hill, Victoria, in 2015. Though not traditional Chinese food, I actually quite enjoyed it. I liked the spicy sweetness, and fried chicken of any sort is generally a winner. I can recommend this dish as long as you’re not someone who gets offended by the simple concept of Westernised Chinese food (how come when it’s diner food it’s not called “fusion”?).

The pork chop noodle soup ($15.90) and the fried rice chicken fillet ($17.90) could almost be described in the same breath. While the pork chop was more salt and pepper, and the chicken fillet had more of a classic Taiwanese fried chicken taste, the two were essentially the same – slabs of meat, battered deep friend, seasoned, and cut into slices. Neither were bad, however again the price comes into play – why spend $18 on fried rice and Taiwanese fried chicken when you can get a larger piece of chicken for $10.50 across the road at Hot Star on Liverpool St? The carbs in these dishes were nothing to sing praise about.

Prawn pancakes ($9.90)

I actually really enjoyed the prawn pancake ($9.90). It reminded me of the deep fried bean curd with prawn filling inside. Very nice prawn flavour, and the sweet chilli sauce was the perfect choice of accompaniment.

The Jasmine tea served in paper cups ($5 for the table), was a good buy for a party of 4, and actually much cheaper than most yum cha places. I imagine they’re only served in paper cups to minimise contact with our gross intensive care germs during COVID-19 , however that doesn’t really make sense to me as they’re handling all the other crockery and cutlery anyway.

VERDICT
While the food at Din Tai Fung tastes and looks completely adequate, it competes with alternatives that are not only completely adequate tasting but also two thirds of the price. We paid $142.10 between four for the above pictured dishes, which I think is a bit too much for a dim sum meal that wasn’t that special.

Din Tai Fung Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Chinese

JKG Shancheng Hotpot King 山城火锅王 – Haymarket NSW Hot Pot Restaurant Review

Tucked away at the back of a shopping centre in Sydney’s Chinatown is JKG Shangcheng Hotpot King. It is a relatively budget hotpot restaurant, with a wide selection of meats and seafoods but a lower emphasis on cleanliness and service.

Ordering is via a tablet-based system. Make sure to scroll down the page to view all offerings, as we were initially very confused as to why our options were so extremely limited.

Sauce attracts an extra charge, however as I’m not a big fan of sauce we were able to convince them to let us only pay for one serving. The sauce station was very dodgy and had a bug-zapper lamp next to it. I don’t know if this was the best decision, as while it would be good at killing bugs it was probably also part of why there were so many flying bugs near the sauce station.

The wontons in chili soup were yum. The filling was evidently housemade, which is preferable to store-bought.

For our soup bases we got mushroom and chicken broths. The mushroom broth was very shroomy with many assorted shrooms – perhaps superfluous as we also ordered a number of shrooms to cook ourselves. The chicken broth we felt was flavourless apart from being salty.

The serving sizes for fresh vegetables, mixed mushrooms, and mixed tofu were quite large, and good value for the price. Having full sized servings of all three was a bit too much for us as a couple however , and we wish that they would do half sized servings for half the price. Nonetheless, it would be good for a party of three or four.

A metre of beef was too much for us. The beef was a bit too fatty.

No complaints about the chicken.

Overall my partner and I spent around $120 on our meal including a beer. This is around the same price that we paid at YX Mini Hot Pot, however we got much more food (of somewhat lesser quality) for the money. I would recommend JKG Shangcheng Hotpot King to a more price-conscious market, for example students, who at the same time do not expect much service (it took a very long time and multiple visits for our hot pot soup to be topped up).

JKG Shancheng Hotpot King (山城火锅王)
Shop 8A/363 Sussex St, Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 9267 6366

JKG Shancheng Hotpot King 山城火锅王 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Categories
Chinese

Po Po 面婆婆 – Hurstville NSW Chinese Restaurant Review

Po Po is a small and authentic Northern Chinese diner in Hurstville. It’s been on my hitlist for some time now, and we finally were in the area and able to hit it up for some dumplings and noodles.

I really enjoyed the friendly, homely service, as well as the delicious dumplings and beef brisket noodle soup. We got all of our dumplings boiled as that is my favourite way to have them, and I feel that boiled dumplings are really the best test of the chef’s skill and expertise.

The pork and chive dumplings were good!

Pork and chive and prawn dumplings – also good

Unfortunately the xiao long bao were not very good. I wouldn’t recommend them.

The beef brisket noodle soup we found to be quite flavourful and delicious. There were big chunks of beef, and the flavour of the soup was neither too strong or too weak. I can recommend this dish.

I wish you could see how happy my girlfriend is in this photo, guys. This is why I do it.

Eating at Po Po really felt like eating in an authentic Chinese diner. There were plenty of other groups, mostly older Chinese couples, eating at the same time as us, and this is a group which seems an excellent barometer for cheap and filling food. One funny thing we saw was a Caucasian gentleman come into this obviously Chinese store and ask for pork rolls (which they did not have), and then ask for pho (which they also did not have). He ultimately, after much patience from the owner, settled on some pork buns. I hope he enjoyed them, although I guess he may be disappointed if he was looking forward to some Vietnamese food.

I can recommend this place.

PO PO Hurstville 面婆婆
238 Forest Rd, Hurstville NSW 2220
(02) 9580 6218

Po Po Hurstville Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Chinese

Shanghai Dumpling Bar – Spice Alley, Chippendale NSW Restaurant Review

Shanghai Dumpling Bar is one of many small street-food vendors tucked away in Spice Alley in Chippendale. We visited after Monkey’s Corner so that I could bring some food home for my partner who made the wise decision not to come out.

I ordered only one serving of green pork and chive boiled dumplings (6 for $8.80), although they snuck in an extra one for free. Service was quick, with a sub 5 minute wait for freshly cooked dumplings.

I thought that the filling was very tasty and genuine. I loved that they had the option of boiled or pan-fried dumplings, as most place will only offer the option of steamed or pan-fried. I’ve always felt that boiled dumplings are the most wholesome, and they’re also the kind that I grew up with. While the filling was good I did feel like the green coloured dough was a bit gimmicky, however respect that perhaps that’s what it takes to draw in a largely Caucasian customer base in the Sydney CBD. I also thought that the dough was a bit thick, however the delicious juicy filling made up for it. Of the eight dumplings I had, around half were broken, however despite this their flavour was not watered down too much.

I can recommend the green dumplings at Shanghai Dumpling Bar to a friend or colleague, however cannot speak for the other foods on offer.

Shanghai Dumpling Bar
18-20 Kensington St, Sydney NSW

Categories
Asian Fusion Vietnamese

Bang Tang – Potts Point NSW Restaurant Review

Bang Tang is a small South-East Asian fusion eatery in Potts Point, located unfortunately close to Ms G, a somewhat more famous and upscale competitor.

While it’s my understanding that there is usually lots of outdoor dining space, we ate lunch on a very rainy day in Potts Point, and internal seating was limited to only a few small tables. The small interior room really gave the place the vibe of a small diner. The service was good, and the food was served quickly. We finished our meal within 50 minutes, which was good as the nearby street parking is limited to 1 and 2 hour spots.

The cigar roll (2 for $6) is one of Bang Tang’s specialties. It is a thick, crispy chicken spring roll with a characteristic dry internal filling structure. It was quite large, fresh, a nd delicious, although I couldn’t help but feel that the skewer on which it was served was superfluous. It was much easier to eat with fingers, and chopsticks would have been fine as well.

The prawn and scallop dumpling (2 for $12) were a daily special, and quite delicious. We were disappointed when they were served, as they looked flat and unappealing, however this all changed when we tasted them. The filling had a great scallop taste, and the pastry wrapping was also delicious. Unfortunately we weren’t told the price of the dish, and in fact I did not realise they were $12 until writing this review and I took a look at the receipt. $6 for a single dumpling is far too much. But yum.

Bang Broth Noodle ($17)

The Bang Broth Noodle ($17) was basically a chicken pho but with rice noodle rolls instead of rice noodle strips. I liked it. I enjoyed the clear broth and the voluminous serving of fresh bean sprouts and herbs. My partner, who does not like chicken, did not like it as she thought that the roast chicken could’ve been any chicken that was roasted and split up. She is a chicken hater.

Duck It Up bowl ($24)

The Duck It Up bowl ($24) was a mixture of strongly marinated duck breast, rice, hoisin sauce and maple syrup, tofu, nuts, bean sprouts, herbs. My feelings about this dish were quite mixed. I thought that the fresh bites of vegetables, herbs, and bean sprouts were deliciously fresh, and that the nuts and other crunchy bits provided a great variation in texture. On the other hand, I thought that the duck and the rice and sauce components on the bottom of the bowl were too tasty and oversauced. It was basically two meals in one – one that I very much enjoyed the freshness of, and one that I thought was too bogged down in sauce. Even when mixing the bowl together I found that the entire bowl was too sauced. I particularly didn’t care for t he duck, which was too sauced, however my girlfriend enjoyed it.

Overall I quite enjoyed the food at Bang Tang. Everything ranged from good to great. I did think that the expensive prawn and scallop dumplings were a bit of a price shock, however their good taste almost made up for it. I would definitely recommend Bang Tang for a quick dinner, however I don’t know how the logistics would work for a long date or dinner with a group of friends as parking is quite limited.

4/5

Bang Tang
2/145 Victoria St, Potts Point NSW 2011
(02) 8542 0133

Bang Tang Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato