Taiwanese dumpling eatery opens first European store in London

London, Dec. 5 (CNA) Taiwanese popular restaurant chain Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), known for its steamed dumplings called xiaolongbao, launched its first European store in London Wednesday.

Located in the city’s Covent Garden, the restaurant is housed on two floors and can seat 250 people. The London site also features a cocktail bar serving Taiwanese drinks, including the popular bubble milk tea.

Din Tai Fung Chairman Warren Yang (楊紀華), who attended the store’s launch, said the London location marks the establishment’s 153rd store overseas.

Founded in 1958, Din Tai Fung opened its first international chain in Japan in 1996, followed by Singapore, which welcomed the popular chain in 2003, according to Yang.

Singapore alone now has 22 stores, Yang said, thanking his partner George Quek (郭明忠) from BreadTalk Group for bringing Din Tai Fung to the city state and for helping develop the business.

Quek is the founder and chairman of the Singaporean multinational food and beverage company.

According to Din Tai Fung, the London site is a joint venture between the Taiwanese chain and BreadTalk.

Explaining the reasons for choosing London as the chain’s first European venture, Quek said they are because the United Kingdom is the fifth-largest economy in the world and a major financial and transportation hub in Europe.

London is a densely populated city, whose residents are known for their spending power, Quek said, adding that the U.K. is an important market and has the potential to expand beyond 20 store locations in the country.

The restaurant’s launch also welcomed the presence of British comedian Stephen Fry and former Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who tried their hands at making xiaolongbao.

Outside Taiwan, Din Tai Fung currently has branches in Japan, the United States, China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines and the U.K.