Arts & Leisure

Michelin starred dumpling restaurant opens 1st PHL branch

Posted on December 10, 2015

THE MOMENT Group of Restaurants, the local franchise holder for 8 Cuts Burger Blends and Bank Bar, opened the first branch of Taiwan’s Din Tai Fung (DTF) in the Philippines on Monday.

THE FACADE of Din Tai Fung’s SM Megamall branch shows the restaurant’s open kitchen so customers can watch how the dumplings are made.
“This is the 120th Din Tai Fung branch and The Moment Group’s 26th restaurant,” The Moment group Founding Manager and Partner Eliza R. Antonio said during the opening ceremony at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

Ms. Antonio said she and 19 other staff members underwent training for culinary technique and customer service in Taiwan for six months to secure one of the world’s “most difficult franchises to acquire.”

“We have so much respect for DTF and how they uphold their brand and craft: half a century of drawing lines (before lines were a thing), unparalleled consistency in both food quality and service, a Michelin-star five times in a row... the list goes on,” Abba Napa, one of the group’s founding partners, said in a statement.

Din Tai Fung is known for its soup dumplings or xiao long bao, for which customers wait in line for hours.

“Each piece is meticulously crafted, from the number of folds to the weight of each one,” the group said.

Just like in DTF’s restaurants worldwide, the local branch allows customers to watch chefs during the rolling, cutting, weighing, filling, wrapping, pleating, and steaming of each dumpling.

Five types of xiao long bao are currently available to Filipinos: pork, crab roe and pork, chicken, green squash and shrimp, and truffle.

To cater to local consumers’ taste, the branch also offers dishes paired with rice such as Sweet & Sour Pork, Hot Prawn Salad, Crispy Beef Strips, and Fried Chicken Cutlets. It will also serve desserts like Salted Egg Yolk Bun.

The DTF headquarters receives and rejects as many as 20 letters a week from prospective franchisees “in places as unlikely as Mongolia and Russia,” according to the statement, citing 2011 Forbes data. Din Tai Fung is now present in 14 countries, including the US, Australia, Japan, and Dubai. -- Daphne J. Magturo