If you are around Los Angeles and feeling hungry you should drive by Din Tai Fung and get XiaoLongBao – or soup dumplings. They are the best.
Din Tai Fung is know in my family as ‘the dumpling place’. A simple and to the point description. Even if we also often get delicious fried green beans, noodles, marinated cucumber and occasionally a soup, Din Tai Fung will always to us, be known as ‘the dumpling place’.
Simply because that is the best dumplings we have ever had. Din Tai Fung has restaurants in several countries – the Hong Kong restaurant has been awarded with a Michelin Star several times. That is how good the food is. Din Tai Fung specialise in soup dumplings – XiaoLongBao.
If you have never had a XiaoLongBao here is an attempt of a description: the dumplings are served in a type of steampot with a lid to keep them warm while you eat. You want to order a bunch of varieties to keep your tastebuds alert and tempted. Your meals come with a dumpling dipping sauce that, if cooked by yourself may contain: soy, vinegar, ginger, chili flakes, sugar and sesame oil. The recipe at Din Tai Fung might contain other ingredients – it is very good! You are presented to a variety of drinks but they also serve hot tea and water with the meals.
The XiaoLongBao is often a pale looking package of dough (go to their website gallery here). At Din Tai Fung it is extremely consistent in looks, size and taste yet all is handmade. They are exquisite little packages of surprises really.
You grab the dumpling with your chopsticks and dip it into the dumpling sauce before putting the entire dumpling in your mouth as you would do with sushi. Do not bite it in 2 because they are soup dumplings, which means that hot soup/stock is inside them. As you bite through the dumpling you will feel the slight resistance from the dough and thereafter the soup will fill your mouth with flavors and warmth.
Here is a google image search for Din Tai Fung dumpling pictures.
The tastes will of course be according to your order and I would suggest that you try a variety like fish, pork, vegetarian to get the best experience. Also order some crispy ‘greens’ to have in between your dumplings to clear the tastebuds – like ginger in sushi – here you could order beans or cucumber. Or just ask the staff what they recommend.
Din Tai Fung in Los Angeles
We go to one of their 2 restaurants in Los Angeles and they are both very good. In particular we tend to like the smaller restaurant in Arcadia a little better than the one in Glendale. Simply because while you wait to get a table at Arcadia, you may follow the making of the dumplings through a glass wall from the reception to the kitchen. It is a spectacular sight and I can’t even begin to guess how many dumplings the guys make on an average day. They are working really fast that’s for sure. The restaurant in Glendale is also really great and both restaurants are very child-friendly.
Read Din Tai Fung reviews on Yelp
Make sure you have time
Make sure to go there in time before your hunger takes control of you. There will be a wait to get a table or even to get dumplings to go. That says a lot about the quality and the popularity of course. While you wait you are presented to a menu to make your selections of order. That way the dumplings are ready when you get your seat.
Enjoy your XiaLongBao