Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
Just finishing up some meals from last weekend. No trip to Los Angeles is complete without a visit to Din Tai Fung Dumpling House in Arcadia. DTF's roots trace back to Taiwan, but has since spawned into Japan and China, both in which it is experiencing immense success; its location in Arcadia, the only outlet in the States, is also having trouble meeting demand. This world famous dumpling restaurant is known for its xiao long bao, or juicy soup dumplings. These dumplings' popularity has grown quickly in recent years, as evidenced by the popularity of NYC's New Green Bo and Joe's Shanghai, both of which are absymal, I might add. The line was insanely long, but the restaurant was equally efficient. While it seemed like we would have to wait over an hour in the 95 degree heat, it only turned out to be around 35 minutes.

Steamed vegetarian dumplings

These were wonderfully light. The wrappers were thin with perfect al dente consistency. The stuffing, a stir-fried mixture of finely minced cabbage, vermicelli, and mushrooms, had a clean, subtle (white) peppery flavor. I am usually weary of vegetarian dumplings because they are so bland, but these were great.

Juicy pork/crab dumplings

Hailed as some of the best soup dumplings around, these lived up to the hype. The stuffing was quality, with a high ratio of crab meat and roe to pork. The soup, which captured the essence of the crab, was intensely flavorful. Innards aside, it all comes down to the wrapper (and the structural integrity it ensures). I marvel at how the dangerously thin and delicate wrapper amazingly held the meat and soup together. Dip the dumpling in vinegar with some ginger streds, and let the dumpling burst in your mouth. Simply divine.

Shrimp and pork wonton

These weren't as good as the soup dumplings, but they were above average. The shrimp was extremely fresh and crisp. Slightly thicker than the other wrappers, the skin was silky smooth.

Steamed beef noodle soup

This wasn't the rich, hearty Taiwanese braised beef brisket noodle soup that I expected. What came out was a bowl of steamed beef tendons served with thin noodles in a very tasteless broth. Medicine Eatstation, anyone?

Stir fried green beans

Crunchy, fresh, and garlicky; not too oily.

As you can see, making these dumplings is labor intensive.

Verdict? World famous for their dumplings, and a damn well deserved reputation.

Din Tai Fung
1108 S Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007



Blogger Diana said...

these pictures as well as the san gabriel newport seafood place has inspired me to trek 30 miles north and 30 miles south to eat chinese-vietnamese. i grew up in little saigon and now stuck plum in the middle of santa monica where i can't get this kind of food unless i journey far! well, after trying, maybe i'll try my hand at making dumplings. spectacular photos, lady.

8/21/2007 1:29 PM  
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12/13/2009 12:00 AM  

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