Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Din Tai Fung Restaurant Review

Ding Tai Fung Dumpling House

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.

Juicy Pork Dumplings

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.


Din Tai Fung

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!

Juicy Pork Dumplings

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.


Juicy Pork 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.

Juicy Pork Dumplings

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.

Juicy Pork 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.

Shrimp Noodle Soup

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.

House Beed Noodle Soup

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.

Pork Chop Fried Rice


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.

Baby Girl at Din Tai Fung



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

Location #1:
Address: 1108 S. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91007
Tel: 626-574-7068
Location #2:
Address: 1088 S. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91007
Tel: 626-446-8588

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.

69 comments:

  1. We love DTF too and there are there are actually 18 outlets in Singapore alone! We are so blessed! :D

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    1. Wow, 18 outlets in Singapore! I'm very impressed. :) Yes, you guys are definitely blessed. :)

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  2. Wow, quite a place with lovely selection of dishes. I am excited over the dumplings and the noodles.

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    1. Yeah, I love the wide selections of dumplings and noodles here a lot. :) All of them are so good.

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  3. I've only been to din tai fung here in S'pore & in Taipei. Like what Alvin had said, the restaurant chain is spread out all over S'pore. Lucky us!

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    1. You guys are so lucky to have so many branches. :) Really love their dumplings.

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  4. Fab, sweet pics and review, Amy! Sounds like a wonderful dining experience. T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh yeah, Tina. It's one of my family's favorite restaurant. :)

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  5. I like to eat at this restaurant too. There are a few branches in Malaysia and I have eaten at the Taipei 101 branch. They serve angled loofah dumplings which are not available in their branches in Malaysia.

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    1. Lucky you there are few branches in Malaysia. :) I tried the one in Taipei too. Really great dumplings. hm...I don't think they sell the loofah dumplings here in the States either.

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  6. I love love love soup dumplings!! Have to check out this place next time I'm in Cali!

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    1. Oh, if you love soup dumplings, you've got to check out this place. You won't be disappointed. :)

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  7. I remember when I visit DTF in Taipei, there was a long queue in the early morning. Luckily there are many outlets here in S'pore.

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    1. I know...the DTF here in the States always have long queue too. :) You're so lucky there in Singapore to have many branches.

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  8. Oh, I think your camera did a great job picturing the plump juicy dumplings! They look terrific. The shrimp noodle soup looks delicious. Wished I lived near......

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    1. Thank you, Kathy. I think the build-in cameras on cell phone are pretty decent these days. ;) Have a lovely weekend.

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  9. Hi Amy , I agree your pictures did wonders , the dumpling looks so yummy , thanks for sharing :).

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    1. Thank you, Nee. Glad you like my pictures. :) Not too bad when they're from my phone's camera, I guess. Have a great weekend.

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  10. What a delicious restaurant, thank you for sharing :D

    Cheers
    CCU

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    1. Thank you, CCU. Yes, it's one of our favorite place to dine out. ;) Have a lovely weekend.

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  11. Hey, your kids are so darling! And the dumplings are looks so good. When I'm in the area, I would love to try the restaurant. Thank you for the info.

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    1. Thank you so much. Oh yeah, gotta give this place a try if you come for a visit. Have a lovely weekend.

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  12. I've never had dumplings before but the way you describe them is making me hungry! I want to go there already! :)

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    1. Oh...definitely check it out if you're in the area. I'm sure you'll love the food there. ;) Have a wonderful weekend.

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  13. Be still my heart... :) LOVE THE FOOD IN TAIWAN :) and LOVE DUMPLINGS + HOT & SOUR SOUP :) sorry about the caps but i LOVE IT THAT MUCH :) If arcadia is where i think it is... i have an uncle out near diamond bar (near by ish?) anyhow the most fantastic chinese food in the US... bubble teas... stinky tofu, spicy beef noodle soup... ahhhh i'm so spoiled out there when i visit family. -M thanks for making me hungy :)

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    1. Oh yeah... LOVE food in Taiwan too! Yes, Diamond Bar isn't too far from Arcadia (about 20 minutes drive). Definitely try out this place when you visit. ;) hm....now you mentioned, you've got me craving for some stinky tofu!

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  15. I'm meeting a friend from England in LA in November. She's actually from there, but we are always looking for an adventure and this looks like it fills the bill. If we make it buy I'll be sure and let you know what we think.

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    1. Oh...let me know how you like the food if you get a chance to try this place. Enjoy! ;)

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  16. My crystal ball tells me there may be a trip to Arcadia soon! Oh my goodness, I so wish I could slurp some of that shrimp noodle soup and gobble up a few veggie dim sum! Thank you for your very important service message, Amy =)

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    1. oh...if you are not far from the area, this place is a great place to dine out. Enjoy and have fun!

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  17. Now you have me dreaming about that prawn noodle soup - not something I can get around here. We miss Chinese food - badly!

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    1. aw.....if you crave for some Chinese Noodle soup but don't have a restaurant around, try my easy Shrimp Won Ton Noodle Soup recipe....until you have a chance to visit. :) Have a great weekend.

      http://utry.it/2011/10/how-to-make-won-ton-noodle-soup-with.html

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  18. This look like such a wonderful place to dine at - we do not really have those kinds of fabulous restaurants around here (which is a shame) - I really enjoyed all your pictures and the dumplings look so tempting! What a great post!
    Have a wonderful day, Amy!

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    1. Thank you, Andrea. Oh..wish you can try this place some day. I know, we all can use more yummy Chinese food restaurants. Hope they'll have more branches in different locations.

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  19. I love Din Tai Fung in Malaysia too! That cute Bao Zhai cracks me up everytime I see it. :-) My favourite are the la mien bowls. Just any one. And the salted egg pumpkin. I need some now.

    <3 Jayne (www.tenacioustinkering.com)

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    1. Nice that Din Tai Fung is also popular in Malaysia. :) hehe...I know, the Bao Zhai are so cute. I love the noodles there too. So bouncy and always cooked to el dente! ;)

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  20. that is my favourite restaurant. i love the dumplings.

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    1. Oh yeah...it's my favorite too. ;) Have a wonderful weekend.

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  21. The restaurant sounds like a dumpling lovers' paradise! Since I always choose only dim-sum whenever I go to Chinese restaurants, I think I would queue happily there for hours...

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    1. hehe....if you love Chinese food, this would be a wonderful place to try out besides Dim-Sum. ;) Have a wonderful weekend.

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  22. A lovely restaurant, and those dumplings are so soft and good. I am craving dumplings now..
    Your little ones are too gorgeous and that is so sweet about your first date..

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    1. Thank you, Asha. Yeah, these are some awesome dumplings. :) Hehe...my hubby and I still talk about our first date whenever we visit this restaurant. :P

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  23. I loooooooooooooove DTF! We usually stop by whenever we're in LA...but we go there early! You are so cute saying it's a special place because of your unofficial first date there with your hubby! <3 I've been to LA and Taiwan, and hope they will come to SF one day. Then my life will be perfect. :D

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    1. You're doing the right thing, Nami for visiting DTF when you visit L.A.! ;) Hope they'll open one in SF soon. I'm sure they'll have good business with long queue too if they have a branch there. I guess you know the dwell for going there early to avoid a long wait.

      Have a lovely weekend, Nami.

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  24. I hear this is the best restaurant for xiao long bao in Taiwan. I had no idea they have locations here in the states *gasp*! I'll have to pay a visit the next time I'm in S. CA. Everything looks delicious Amy, thanks for sharing your review.

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    1. Oh yeah....definitely the best xiao long bao in Taiwan...and L.A. ;) Hope you'll stop by and try this place on your next visit.

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  25. Great dumplings! Actually everything looks so nice. Really fun post - loved the pictures. Thanks so much.

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    1. Thank you Mr. Riffs. Glad you like this post. :)

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  26. I love soup dumplings. We have a great place here but it is quite a dive. It has the best Dan Dan noodles and the best soup dumplings. It is run by a little old lady and a little old man and they do it all! I just hope they tell someone how to do it before they get too tired!

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    1. Dan Dan noodles is one of my favorite noodle to eat too. I agree with you, how the owners of your favorite restaurant would pass down the recipe to the next generation. :)

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  27. DTF seem to be everywhere! Yep, I love their dumplings the best, always find it amazing they are so hardly yet so delicate!

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    1. hehehe...yes, I guess DTF is really everywhere! Yes, I'm always amazed and impressed with their dumplings.

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  28. Awww so cute that this was the place of your first lunch date!! That definitely makes it special! Great review :)

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    1. Thank you, Ashley. Yes, a special place for us. :) Glad you like the review.

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  29. I bet one of my teenage boys could eat that tray of pork dumplings in a nano-second. Great review!

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    1. hahaha....I guess so too. These dumplings are simply divine.

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  30. Your children are so sweet they steal the attention of the delicious dumplings! If I ever visit California I will sure keep all this info in mind!

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    1. Thank you, Katerina. Oh yeah, gotta visit this place if you're in the area. :)

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  31. Yum! What gorgeous dumplings...I think I could eat a whole order myself! Your children are adorable, Amy!

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    1. hehe....yup, I can definitely finish the whole order of dumplings on my own...and then some. :P

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  32. Oh Amy, after seeing these juicy dumplings...I feel that I should have some...they sure look delicious.
    So cute your kids :D

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    1. Thank you, Juliana. oh yeah,.these dumplings are so good. :) I got hungry every time I look at these dumplings.

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  33. There is one near my house and it is one of my favorite restaurants. Your kiddies are so adorable.

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    1. Thank you so much. What, you have one near your house. Lucky you! :) I will probably visit at least once a week if I have one next to my house. :P

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  34. There is one near my house and it is one of my favorite restaurants. Your kiddies are so adorable.

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  35. One of my favorite restaurant. Some of my friends complain the place is too pricy than other dim sum place, but I think the juicy dumplings worth every penny. I love the one with crab fillings, and I order those fancy truffles ones once in a while ;)

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    1. I agree, it's a little pricey compared to other Chinese or dim-sum restaurants. But I kept going back, that shows how good their dumplings are. :) Good that you agree.

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