HOT: Din Tai Fung, Melbourne

Are you a dumpling-loving family? We are. And our dreams have finally come true – Din Tai Fung at Emporium Melbourne has arrived.

Din Tai Fung Melbourne

This famous, and long-awaited, restaurant chain has taken up the whole of level 4 inside Emporium Melbourne. You can’t miss the entrance as there will be crowd of hungry people outside.

din tai fung melbourne

Inside the decor is a surprising combination of Scandi-chic with an Asian sensibility designed by Design Clarity. There’s lots of room for prams, an abundance of high chairs and a lively atmosphere. I noticed that there were plenty of children enjoying their dumplings, some on plastic cutlery.

You order by ticking off a paper menu with over a hundred items. Daunted, I call my (Chinese) mother to provide ordering advice (though there is a picture menu available to assist). She says ‘every visit to Din Tai Fung would not be complete without their famous xiao long bao’.

Din tai fung

These darling 18-times pleated soup dumplings (6 for $10.80) are made by an army of mask-clad chefs in the large kitchen and then carried in a sky-high tower of bamboo steamers to be distributed to expectant folk. Considering the size of the restaurant the kitchen brings food out very quickly, useful for impatient toddlers!

Din Tai Fung Melbourne

Din Tai Fung’s XLB are superb. The weight of the piping hot broth, the thin pouch of dumpling skin, the perfect balance of texture and flavour, all go towards making these some of the best xiao long bao you’ll find anywhere in the world. What’s amazing is the consistency of the product – I’ve had Din Tai Fung’s XLB in Sydney, Hong Kong and Shanghai and each time they send me into raptures.

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din tai fung melbourne

Din Tai Fung are also famous for their noodles, and my mum suggested trying the braised beef noodle soup ($16.80). It’s a steaming bowl consisting of a fat wad of handmade noodles sitting underneath four slices of beef shank in a flavoursome broth. The pliable noodles are a highlight though the beef could be more tender

Finally, I try one of their steamed buns ($3). The vegetarian bun comes so beautifully pleated I don’t want to touch it. I take a bite and discover the fluffiest of pillows with a loose mixture of shredded vegetables and mushrooms nestled inside.

Din Tai Fung may be a global restaurant chain but it’s one that’s of consistently high quality and a great place to introduce kids to Chinese, particularly Shanghaiese food. It’s an exciting addition to family-friendly dining in Melbourne and it was telling that on my visit 95% of the patrons were Asian, young and old. It’s safe to say they know a good dumpling when they eat it (and are willing to line up for it).

Click here for more child friendly cafes and restaurants in Melbourne CBD

HOT Tips:

  • pram access;
  • high chairs;
  • plastic crockery and cutlery;
  • standard menu suitable for kids;
  • change facilities within Emporium; and
  • arrive just before opening time so you are first in and don’t have to wait in line too long.

Din Tai Fung, Emporium Melbourne, Level 4, 287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne 9654 1876

MON-WED 11.30-2.30PM, 5.30-9PM

THU-FRI 11.30-2.30PM, 5-10PM

SAT 11-3PM, 5-10PM

SUN 11-3PM, 5-9PM

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About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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