Din Tai Fung 313@Somerset

I’m a big fan of Chinese food, and that includes Taiwanese grub. Anyhow, this was my first F&B invitation to this newish mall that is a complicated hybrid of Orchard Central without the glassy, funky lifts—with a dash of upmarket Tiong Bahru Plaza—and a shade of a wannabe Paragon (it’s the duplexes) to boot. Now back to DTF (my acronym for the restaurant). In honor of the opening of its seventh outlet, these folks have come up with some yummy new dishes. It was only the first dish—the appetizer called fragrant pork with crushed garlic—and already I was stuffing my face (I need to muster more control in the New Year). But this dish was just oh-so-good—with soft, tender pork, the crunch of cucumbers and a not-too-strong garlic sauce drenching the whole affair—yum. And what’s a meal at DTF without the xiao long baos? Great news for weight watchers (read: Me) is that these little bundles of joy have gotten smaller—just check out the steamed mini pork dumplings that float in a delightful, simmered-for-six-hours chicken broth. Yup, the requisite 18 folds are there—I tried to take some time to admire them before they disappeared into my gob. Equally tasty was the steamed chili and pork crab bun —the soft buns perfectly encapsulated the yumminess of chili crab without the mess (or those dodgy splotches on my shirt). The desserts also lived up to my sweet-toothed expectations. I’m not really a fan of coconut, but the fragrant peanut dumplings were well-balanced dumplings filled with chopped peanut and sesame, coated with desiccated coconut that didn’t make my throat itchy. Also equally tasty was the steamed red bean rice cake—a comforting, soft, chewy rice cake made with red beans and glutinous rice. Belinda Wan