Din Tai Fung: Jockeying for Soup Dumplings [MOVED]

Chinese Restaurant Los Angeles

Lines are already legendary at Din Tai Fung in Arcadia.

Bingyi Yang was born in 1927 in Shanxi, China. He moved to Taipei in 1948, worked for many years as an oil salesman, and eventually built an international steamed dumpling empire. Din Tai Fung now has a 20 locations scattered throughout Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, and South Korea. Fortunately (for me), Frank Yang decided to open the only American outpost of his famous family’s dumpling house about 30 minutes from my apartment. On an average day, the restaurant serves 700-800 dumpling orders, and more on weekends, when the ethereal soup dumplings are in effect. Don’t be deterred by the long lines; it’s always worth the wait.

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One of the cool features of Din Tai Fung is the window into the kitchen, near the entrance. It’s mesmerizing to watch the dumpling artisans roll the dough into snake-like coils and pinch off mounds of dough, then flatten them out by hand and fill the dough with ingredients. To the top right, there’s a flat-screen monitor that lists the orders. This dumpling maker clearly wasn’t happy to see me.

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Din Tai Fung isn’t long on design. These geometric lanterns are about it.

Dumplings Los Angeles

While everything at Din Tai Fung is good to great, it’s spectacular soup dumplings that make the restaurant truly special. Doors open at 10:30 on weekends, and the limited number of soup dumplings often sell out by 11. The luscious pork dumplings come twenty to an order and are served with a bowl of egg drop soup. Each delicate soup dumpling requires one bite, and the flavorful juice rushes into your mouth with one tear of the teeth.

Dumplings Los Angeles

Crescent-shaped juicy pork and shrimp dumplings featured thin, translucent wrappers and top-grade fillings.

Dumplings Los Angeles

While not quite on soup dumplings’ level, purse-shaped juicy pork dumplings are still devastating.

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Din Tai Fung also makes expert versions of vegetable, bun, noodle, and rice dishes, including snap-fresh string beans simply prepared with garlic.

Chinese Food Los Angeles

Fluffy steamed pork buns feature juicy, clean-tasting pork patties within, none of that overly-sweet gelatinous red ooze you normally find in pork buns.

Chinese Food Los Angeles

For dessert, Din Tai Fung prepares several creations, including steamed buns filled with gritty black sesame, and this version filled with earthy red bean magma.

Note: Now located at 400 South Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91007, Level 2


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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