Tasty Presents: How [Din Tai Fung’s] Soup Dumplings Are Made

If you followed my blog posts, you know I am a fan of Din Tai Fung (DTF) and note every new opening of the restaurant in the U.S. (the latest announced restaurant will be in Portland, Oregon). Many say that DTF is “overrated,” but I don’t care. Din Tai Fung has created a Taiwanese brand that is beloved and known to those in the know for Xiaolongbao (XLB) and quality Chinese food.  So it’s not surprise that I was excited to see a Tasty video on Facebook about how Din Tai Fung makes its Xiaolongbao, or how it’s known in the West as “soup dumplings.” You get to see how DTF’s Xiaolongbao are meticulously made by hand.

What’s also interesting in the video is that the grandsons of the original founder of Din Tai Fung, Albert and Aaron Yang. I also read about the brothers recently in an industry publication (who according to the video, manage the U.S. operations of the restaurants):

“… In 1972, the store was transformed into a restaurant specializing in soup dumplings and noodles. The elegant, best-in-class dining venues have since expanded to Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Macau, mainland China, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Dubai.

[Albert] Yang and his brother Aaron, both graduates of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, run day-to-day operations in the U.S., where they have established the company’s dominance.

When Din Tai Fung opens restaurants, diners descend on each location with wait times reaching up to two hours. In the dining room, customers are treated to a show, as dumpling masters fold hundreds of the juicy wonders in an exhibition kitchen. The hand-folded, thin-skinned dough is filled with meat, often ground pork, and gelatinized stock. The stock liquefies upon steaming, creating a juicy burst with every bite.”

 

Having gone to Cornell, it’s no surprise that the brothers were accepted and decided to attend the Hotel School at Cornell, which is definitely considered the best (and is the oldest) hotel school in the United States, if not the world.

One of my best friends from Cornell is a Hotelie and we hope to one day open a Din Tai Fung. Hopefully my blogging will come across Albert and Aaron will come across this blog post one day and reach out to me via the Cornell alumni directory or this website.

Recently, I visited Taiwan this past May and had a chance to drop by the original Din Tai Fung restaurant (and wound up eating at two others on two different occasions):

Xinyi Branch – original Din Tai Fung
No. 194, Sec. 2, Xinyi Rd., Taipei City (MRT Dongmen Station Exit 5)

Me at the Tienmu Branch
B1, No. 77, Sec. 6, Zhongshan N. Rd., Taipei City (Tienmu SOGO Department Store)

Fuxing Branch
B2, No. 300, Sec. 3, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Taipei City (Fuxing SOGO Department Store)

I also dropped by the Taipei 101 restaurant on a Sunday evening, and it was crazy packed. I’d avoid that DTF at all costs (unless you get there when the restaurant first opens) – since that location probably has the most tourists.

Taipei 101 Branch
B1, No. 45, Shifu Rd., Taipei City (Taipei 101 Mall)

In total, I’ve eaten at a few Din Tai Fung’s in Taiwan (only in Taipei – not in Taichung or Kaohsiung), China (Shanghai & Beijing), California & Seattle. One day, maybe when I’m retired, I’ll visit every Din Tai Fung in the world!

 

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Author: John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)