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17 October 2021 (closed)
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The next restaurant that we visit for our new column series about dining in Jakarta is Din Tai Fung, a Chinese restaurant with eight outlets in Jakarta. When we open the official Indonesian website of Din Tai Fung, we see that the restaurant promotes itself by pointing out several honors it has been given: it was listed among the top 10 restaurants in the world voted by both the New York Times (1993) and the Miele Guide, and its original Tapei branch as well as two Hong Kong branches were awarded a Michelin Star by the Miele Guide in 2010.
Din Tai Fung is a well-known dumpling restaurant originating from Taiwan. For over 40 years the restaurant has been developing and expanding internationally, with more than 50 branches in 11 countries.
The branch that we visited in Jakarta is located on the fifth floor of the Pacific Place Mall, an international shopping mall located in the Sudirman Central Business District (CBD) in South Jakarta. Although located conveniently in the CBD, severe traffic jams from Monday to Friday can cause serious stress to reach Pacific Place. The mall is connected to the Ritz Carlton Hotel towers and located opposite to the Indonesia Stock Exchange. The area around the mall is among the most expensive and luxurious areas in Indonesia. The mall, one of the most prestigious malls of Indonesia, opened in November 2007. Its prestige nature is detected immediately: when entering the mall, visitors are welcomed by the display of a lamborghini car that will be given away to one of the big shoppers through a draw in mid-2014.
The menu of Din Tai Fung contains a wide selection of Chinese and Indonesian dishes (including vegetarian dishes). Remarkably, even though pork is a common used ingredient in Chinese cuisine (also in Muslim-majority Indonesia), the restaurant does not serve dishes that contain pork. Obviously, being a Chinese restaurant, we selected a number of Chinese dishes: braised Szechuan sliced beef, Shanghainese smoked fish, pineapple sweet chicken, and sauteed spinach with garlic (and white rice).
After ordering it did not take long before the dishes were served on the table, even though the restaurant (containing two floors) was rather filled with guests. A glance inside the open kitchen explained this fast service: a dozen of chefs were busy cooking. Overall, the quality of the food was good, the only exception being the appetizer - braised Szechuan sliced beef - which seemed to lack taste. The pineapple sweet chicken dish was good but very similar to the sweet chicken dishes that are usually served in the better Chinese restaurants in Jakarta (thus not outstanding), while the quality of the sauteed spinach with garlic was solid. The real winner was the Shanghainese smoked fish, characterized by a rich and full taste.
The only negative aspect of the dinner in Pacific Place's Din Tai Fung was the lack of space within the restaurant. As space is convined in the restaurant, all tables were separated by a rather small amount of space, making it a bit difficult to get up and down from the chairs.
Dinner at Din Tai Fung:
Indicative price for a complete dinner at Din Tai Fung (one adult, including one drink):
• IDR 175,000 (USD $14)