Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Still remember my Little Boy with the Din Tai Fung statue picture above? Yes, as I promised, here goes my Din Tai Fung restaurant review. The very first time I dined at Din Tai Fung was back in my college days, when I travelled to Taiwan with a few good friends and my Brother. My friend’s Aunt who lived in Taiwan at the time took us around for sight seeing, shopping, and food tasting (I’m forever grateful for the hospitality!) The day before we visited Din Tai Fung for lunch, we were “warned” about the long lines and be sure to get there early, otherwise some items would be sold out way before noon. I didn’t know what the fuzz was all about until I tried my very first Juicy Pork Dumpling (小籠包)! My world was never the same again! No exaggeration, by the way.
The picture above shows the famous Juicy Pork Dumpling from Din Tai Fung. I know, they might not look like much, nor anything spectacular from the picture. (Sorry, the pictures from this post were taken from my Android Phone, not my regular camera. So the picture didn’t do justice for these Juicy Pork Dumplings at all!) But I assure you, go try them when you get a chance. They are truly an art in every little package and I’m going to tell you why in just a minute. And yes, there’s always a line at this restaurant, and the wait could be long if you don’t arrive early. But then, these Juicy Pork Dumplings are totally worth the wait.
Before we get into the details of these dumplings, here’s picture that shows you the people waiting for seats outside of Din Tai Fung. Yup, a pretty nice outdoor waiting area and it’s always packed too. There are two locations in Arcadia, California and they are right across the street from each other. After discovering the new location, I’ve always go to the newer one for easier parking. Click here for the address and hours. The new location closes from 3 pm to 5 pm for a break between lunch and dinner. I always make sure to arrive before 5:30pm to avoid a long wait. Yes, the seats do get filled up that fast!
Now back to the dumplings! Each dumpling has a thin and tender dough wrapping the juicy minced pork filling inside. There’s a small dish of fresh ginger, julienned, for each person. You simply pour the black vinegar over the ginger and that’s your dipping sauce. A very simple sauce, yet it compliments perfectly with these rich and juicy dumplings.
See how thin the dough/skin is (look at the picture below). And if you look closer, you’ll also see the “soup” inside. Yes, that’s how juicy these dumplings are. And it’s not easy to make the dough so thin and tender, yet the soup stay intact even when you pick the dumplings up with a pair of chopsticks. This is why I said earlier that each dumpling is really a work of art! When you bite into these dumplings, the soup inside will burst inside your mouth. So, be careful not to eat them when they’re still piping hot. These Juicy Pork Dumplings are really succulent treats.
I must be too busy eating and didn’t take a picture when I pick up my dumplings with the chopsticks. But look at this picture below, it’s a picture from the brochure/menu of the restaurant. So now, you’ve got the idea. And yes, I did pick up each dumplings with my chopsticks and transfer them onto my spoon/bowl. And you guessed it right, they didn’t break at all during the transfer! We always place two orders for these dumplings along with other dishes as my Baby Girl can finish 5 of these juicy dumplings on her own, plus noodles, and other things we order. These dumplings are 'must-try' when you visit. Din Tai Fung also offers a varieties of dumplings besides the pork ones; such as Juicy Pork & Crab Dumplings (another one of my favorite), Shrimp & Pork Dumplings, Fish Dumplings, Chicken Dumplings, and Vegetarian Dumplings.
The one item that got sold out all the time is the Small Dumplings with Soup. It’s only served on weekends for limited quantities. I’ve only tasted them back in Taiwan but not in the L.A. branches. You know I’m not a morning person, right?
Besides dumplings, we also ordered Shrimp Noodle Soup, see picture below. That’s my Little Boy’s favorite and he would asks for this every time when we visit.
The picture below shows the House Beef Noodle Soup. This is the first time we tried this one and it’s pretty good, especially if you want something lighter in taste and not as heavy. We usually order A Braised Beef Noodle Soup that is in a deep brown flavorful soup base that is slightly spicy. So, this clear soup version was a nice change. The beef is very tender and the soup is very soothing.
This one below is the Pork Chop Fried Rice. We’ve ordered this one many times and it’s one of our favorites as well. We’ve also tried the Shrimp Fried Rice before but didn’t order that this time because we already have the Shrimp Noodle Soup. But all their fried rice are nicely done. Besides a variety of dumplings, soup, noodle soup, and fried rice, Din Tai Fung also offers Noodles with sauces, fried noodles, a varieties of sautéed vegetables, vegetarian dishes, and desserts. The only thing that is considered somewhat negative is their portion, they tend to be smaller compared to most Chinese restaurants. The good news is, you can try a varieties of dishes this way. You would want to try everything when you’re there. And so far, I haven’t tasted anything that I don’t like with all my visits.
Hope you’ll give Din Tai Fung a try if you’re in the area or plan to visit soon. Below is their contact information and link to their website for your reference.
P.S.: My first "unofficial" lunch date with my Hubby was at Din Tai Fung, back in 2002. Talk about life changing dumplings! Maybe that's why, these little Juicy Dumplings are always so special to me.
Click here to Din Tai Fung’s Website
Address: 1108 S. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91007
Address: 1088 S. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91007
Restaurant Review Disclaimer: uTry.it restaurant reviews are solely based on our experience at each restaurant we visit. They were just our opinions. uTry.it and its owner were not compensated in any way to dine at these restaurants nor to write reviews.