Restaurant: Din Tai Fung
Location: 1108 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia,California 91007. (626)574-7068
Date: December 8, 2011 & February 28, 2012
Cuisine: Chinese Dumpling House
Rating: Amazing Taipei spinoff
I love dimsum so much I was willing to drive 45 minutes out into the wilds of Arcadia to try this place. And it was well worth the journey. The “juicy pork dumplings” alone were worth the price of admission.
Classical Arcadia was a place of legendary beauty, filled with bucolic green hills, lazy shepherds, and nubile nymphs. Arcadia Ca features strip malls.
The chefs hard at work in their little glass tank.
Din Tai Fung is so popular we had to wait 30 minutes on a random thursday at 1pm. But they are nothing if not organized. The staff all wear secret service ear pieces and our order was taken before we even sat.
The huge menu. And it has pictures!
Some stuff appears to be take out friendly.
The setup of chopsticks, tea cup, and ginger.
Marinated cucumber in a sort of garlic ponzu type sauce. Nice and crunchy, but I was saving room.
“Hot and Sour Soup (pork).” A well implemented version of the classic.
“Seaweed and Bean Curd in Vinegar dressing.” Interesting “salad”.
Chicken and veggie bits over noodles. Looks bland enough but it tasted great.
“Juicy pork dumplings.” These are sometimes called Shanghai style “soup” dumplings. I’ve had lots of them but these were easily the best ever. These succulent little mouthfuls were superbly balanced.
“Shrimp and Pork Wonton with Spicy Sauce.” This was absolutely delicious. The dumpling could have been almost anything as the sauce made it more about texture than flavor, but they would have been good plain too.
This sticky log of rice contained bonus roast pork. Yum yum. You’ll notice the DTF food is heavy on both the carbs AND the pork.
“Noodle with mince pork sauce.” This was yummy too, although I have had better of this dish — in Xian China.
“Noode with spicy sauce.” This was actually tastier than the pork ones as the sauce had this nice spicy vinegar tang.
“Braised beef soup.” You can’t see them, but the soup is filled with more of the spaghetti-like noodles. The beef tasted like short rib.
“Vegetarian dumplings.” These were some of the better veggie dumplings I’ve had. Still, they don’t hold a candle to the meaty ones.
“Pork and Shrimp Shu-mai.” Not only did these look great, but they tasted fantastic. These were my second favorite after the straight pork ones.
“Shanghai rice cake with chicken.” This tasted fine (like soy sauce, in a good way). The rice cake has a weird chewy texture, not unlike jellyfish. It was actually kind of fun.
Unlike the typical BBQ pork buns, these just had the slightly spiced (buy yummy) pork balls inside, not the sweet red BBQ pork. Still good.
“Juicy Pork & Crab dumplings.” Like the pork ones, but with a slightly weird crab aftertaste. We all preferred the plain pork ones, but I still happily kicked back about 5 of these.
“Sautéed mustard cabbage with garlic.” Fine for what it was. Boring!
“Sauteed Bok Choy with Garlic.” You’d swear it was the same as the mustard greens, and you’d be wrong!
“Pork Chop Fried Rice.” Pretty much exactly what you’d expect.
“Fish dumplings.” I haven’t had a lot of fish dumplings, but these were superb! Almost as good as the pork. Well not quite, but they were really good.
Now the dessert buns. First the “black sesame.”
This were really good, with a sweet nutty taste. The bun itself is identical to the pork bun.
Then two other experimental types: “sweet taro” and “red bean.” All were pleasant, but the taro was like a bun stuffed with whipped sweet mash potato and the red bean — well like red bean.
Some kind of specialty “sweet rice” with bits of fruit and red bean paste.
I actually enjoyed this dessert. It’s sickly sweet with a peculiar Chinese flavor and very sticky.
Overall, Din Tai Fun was awesome. I’m so hungry just writing up this post and I want to go back right away. I don’t want to drive the better part of an hour just this second, but I want the “juicy pork dumplings.” It’s also a good deal. Four of us completely polished off the above. And yeah we pigged out. And it cost like $65!