Wednesday, December 21, 2011

good morning, orchard road!

Recently, while I was watching my friend Hamton cure some hams, he remarked that Orchard Road wasn't so nice anymore.

I beg to disagree. Really, it's still the best street for taking a walk. There's greenery everywhere, the sidewalks are mega-wide, and there's always something interesting going on.

Who were they? Why were they half-naked? Why were they hanging out in front of Grand Park Orchard Hotel? I dunno.

Another "I dunno" moment for me.

More than 30 life-sized elephants, each painted a unique design, are being displayed on Orchard until 12 January 2012.

With buildings like this, how can anyone not love Singapore? It's Disneyland for grown-ups.

There should be a law that we must have outdoor art everywhere.

Besides all that, I like Orchard Road because it is home to not one, not two, but THREE branches of Din Tai Fung.

I prefer the Din Tai Fung in the basement of Paragon. Seems to be livelier.

Some people like the veggies and the noodles...

Pea sprouts stir-fried with lots of garlic, S$12 + 10% SC and 7% GST.

Beef noodle soup, S$10 + 10% SC and 7% GST.

But ultimately, one goes to Din Tai Fung to eat xiao long bao.

Little bundles of happiness. Perfect every time.

Black truffle xiao long bao, five pieces for $$14.80 +10% SC and 7% GST.

Crabmeat and pork xiao long bao, six pieces for S$9 + 10% SC and 7% GST.

Verdict: Remember my search for the best XLB last year? Din Tai Fung is still the one to beat. The skin was so translucent and delicate that you could see the filling through it, but strong enough that the dumpling held together even when dangling from a pair of chopsticks. The broth was bursting with superb umami flavor, and the filling? Oy, salivating all over my keyboard here. The truffle one was much better than Paradise Dynasty's, and the crabmeat-pork combo was a pleasantly delicious surprise.

The pea shoots (dou miao) were excellent-- sweet, crunchy, succulent and not overpowered by the garlic. I could eat pea shoots everyday, but I can't because they're really hard to find here. Why is that?

I suppose Ma's beef noodles were OK too, but all my attention was laser-focused on the XLB.

I can't wait to try the original DTF in Taiwan. Anybody want to go next year?

There's usually a queue at Din Tai Fung in the basement of Paragon on Orchard Road, but you must persevere! Your taste buds will thank you.

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