It is touted as THE place to have Xiao Long Baos and it was even reported in the media that you have not visited Taiwan till you've visited Din Tai Fang for their XLBs.
Back in Singapore, the queues forming outside Din Tai Fang is testament to their fame. They even have an electronic queuing system to issue Q-numbers to their waiting patrons. I have never queued for their XLBs. However I could see through their see-through kitchen, their chefs huddling in groups, frantically pleating 'exactly 18 folds' into each XLB. '18 folds', that is their 'exact standard' to be precise.
To me, a Xiao Long Bao is a Xiao Long Bao whether 'exactly 18 folds' or not. The important thing is that the soup within each bao must squish out at the first bite and that the skin must not tear when you lift each bao with a pair of chopsticks.
My baos may not look as pretty as DTF's 18 fold XLB but hey, they still flooded my mouth with fragrant soup at the first bite and the skin did not break when the bao was lifted with a pair of chopsticks (yeah yeah okay, so my bao skin is a little thicker than DTF's! Happy?). Served with julienne ginger in black vinegar, my baos actually tasted very good! Slurp.
From XLBs to radish kueh (cakes). Did you know that ready steamed yam cakes or radish cakes are now available from the supermarkets? They are vacumn packed and sold in rolls that looks like a neck roll. For S$2.30, you can fry enough to feed your family and also your neighbours to your left and right. DH bought a humongous roll yesterday and then deftly whipped up a fried dish of fragrant, slightly spicy radish cake. Besides adding chye poh, eggs, fresh juicy prawns and silver sprouts (head & tailed beansprouts), he also added ground flounder fish which gave an extra kick to the dish. We would have loved it to be more eggy but then realised too late, that there was only one egg left in the fridge.