I'm not sure if I can take any credit, but Din Tai Fung has finally opened in London on Wednesday 5th December. Just a mere 2,490 days after I set up this blog as a petition to bring this superior Taiwanese restaurant to these shores. Now you'd think I'd be excited. I was, but at the same time I was more than a bit apprehensive. What if it didn't meet expectations? Or worse, what if it was downright crap? After all, I didn't enjoy my visit to Din Tai Fung in Sydney.
I needn't have worried. Their signature xiao long bao were excellent as were other dumplings such as shao mai and jiaozi. In particular, the chilli crab xiao long bao is a must order. Of their other famous dishes the pork chop with fried rice and chicken soup were spot on. The only wee criticism is the noodles aren't quite as good as they could be, but despite my nom de blog of Mr Noodles this isn't the end of the world.
There will be dementors out there who will bang on about the queues and the prices. I queued, voluntarily, for an hour from 10am this morning. I was that sad arse who ended up as being first in the queue, a good 10 minutes before anyone else joined it. I reckon anyone who joined the queue 15 minutes before opening made the first sitting at 11am. That said, the queues were pretty horrendous by the time we left at around 1pm. The queues will probably die down in time, and do remember it's a free country. No one is forcing you to queue for food you don't want to eat.
And yes, Din Tai Fung's prices are more expensive than in Asia, but you know what? A lot of things are more expensive in London compared to Asia. I haven't really got time to teach simpletons why factors such as 20% VAT, the weak pound, central London rents and the cost of importing Asian ingredients might, just might, make Din Tai Fung more expensive in London. And then are those who quite happily spend an arm and a leg on cucina povera as a treat at a nice Italian, but will baulk at paying the same for quality Chinese food. To be polite let's put this down to cognitive dissonance.
We paid roughly £33 per head, which isn't cheap but nor is it expensive. You pay for what you get, and that's excellent food in nice surroundings with good service. It may have taken nearly 7 years since this blog started, but I'm so overjoyed that Din Tai Fung has made it to London. You should be too.