If you plug Xing Fu Tang (幸福堂) into Google Translate it will tell you that the first two characters – 幸福 – means happy, and the last character – 堂 – means hall. While technically correct, that’s not the full gist of “幸福”.
幸福 (Xing Fu), to my understanding, is more than just a feeling of happiness. It is a feeling of bliss, of comfort, something than just 快乐.
While a nice thought, my experience at Xing Fu Tang was not actually very 幸福. I got a honey lemon tea with additional rabbit panna cotta on top. It was strange that I didn’t realise it at the time, but the panna cotta sat on top of a plastic film, and was not direct contact with the drink. The drink itself was way too sweet, with no option to select the amount of sugar. While honey is obviously sweet, I did not expect it to be just this sweet.
I just didn’t really like it. I’m sure the drinks where you can specify your sugar load would be better, but I just don’t think I’d ever come back.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We ate at the Haymarket branch of 678 Korean BBQ on a Thursday night after my partner was jealous of me eating Korean BBQ with my colleagues from work the night before.
We thought that it was quite expensive for what you get. The side dishes are quite limited and were never refilled. I have heard that the more money you spend the greater the variety of side dishes but we spent $80 for 2 people and got barely anything.
To add insult to injury, by the time we had arrived they had already run out of many of the beef items.
Overall quite disappointing and I wouldn’t come back of my own accord.
Back when my partner worked in Concord, she would often come home with milk tea from Bengong. We always enjoyed their milk tea, imbued with a stronger tea flavour than most outfits. We were therefore suitably surprised and a little bit proud when we found that they had opened up a branch in Darling Square. The Concord Hospital boba tea shop had finally made it.
I really enjoyed this Tea Cube Milk Tea when I first had it. I was confused when they asked me to choose a flavour, and I chose lychee. I thought it was so cool that they had somehow created this drink where they put concentrated tea into jellies. I went back a couple of days later and asked for one but without fruit flavouring, and the staff member looked at me as if I were crazy but was ultimately happy to oblige. What I got was a simple milk tea with a lot of ice. I was an idiot. The tea cubes weren’t actually tea cubes, merely fruit cubes.
The Wuwu Oreo Sundae was pretty good! Just a soft serve over hot brown sugar and boba syrup, with an oreo on top. It melts quickly so be sure to eat it just as fast.
Bread is bread. This particular strawberry flavoured bread was not that good.