Anyone who has tried to eat at the Din Tai Fung in Mall of the Emirates at lunch or dinnertime will know how popular the Taiwanese restaurant is. The efficient team there (who wear mics to communicate with each other surreptitiously, like bao bodyguards) will ask you how many diners you have, give you a buzzer and tell you to shop until a table clears up — the wait is often 45 minutes or more.
Top tip: the Al Ghurair Centre branch is usually a lot quieter.
The great news for fans of the restaurant — in which you can see the noodles and dim sum you eat being made fresh in front of you by an army of chefs — is that a branch in Dubai Mall is opening any day now.
The official line is that the outlet will open sometime in December, so in the next week or so. But, either way, the hoarding is up and the signboard has been erected, so even if it doesn't open before the New Year it's likely to be serving by January.
The best bit about the outlet is that it will have an al fresco area with Dubai Fountain views — so you'll be able to croon along to Andrea Bocelli while enjoying your dumplings (the new opening will also likely mean the wait time at Mall of the Emirates will shorten).
What should you order at Din Tai Fung?
The brand dates back to Taiwain in 1958, and became a fully fledged restaurant in 1972. What you choose to order is of course entirely down to personal taste, but Din Tai Fung's roots are as a soup, dumplings and noodles shop. So it is essential, your gluten tolerance willing, to order some of these when you visit.
Xiao long bao are undoubtedly the most popular dish on the menu: these steamed dumplings originate from Shanghai, and are filled with meat as well as a small amount of hot soup.
A personal favourite of ours, however, is the "house speciality chilli noodle", a warming bowl of fresh noodles served with a perfectly tangy, just-spicy-enough sauce. This is comfort food at its most warming.
The people behind Din Tai Fung now have a licensed spot in Deira
The Dubai Mall opening isn't the only Din Tai Fung-related news to get excited about. The company behind Din Tai Fung in Dubai, Chinese Palace Group, have just opened a licensed venue in the Aloft Hotel in Deira City Centre.
The menu includes curry crab roe soup dumplings (Dh18 for three pieces), steamed bao with molten chocolate lava (Dh12), duck congee (Dh58) and truffle and egg-fried rice (Dh68).
It's open from 11am to 2am Sunday to Wednesday (and until 3am from Thursday to Saturday).