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.”

 

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Din Tai Fung Expanding into Portland, Oregon

To date in the United States, you could only go to a Din Tai Fung in either California or the Greater Seattle region. Now, it looks like the restaurant brand will be expanding into Portland, Oregon:

“Often lauded as the maker of the “world’s greatest dumplings,” Taiwanese dim sum restaurant Din Tai Fung seems to be planning its first Oregon location in the Washington Square mall. Over the past months several readers have emailed Eater saying that the dumpling shop intends to open an Oregon location, and Din Tai Fung has filed a business license with the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. When Eater contacted corporate HQ, a rep didn’t deny the rumors, saying: “We decline to comment at this time. Could you check back with us in a month for updates?” No one from Washington Square has responded to multiple requests for comment.

Din Tai Fung currently has 11 locations in the United States, specifically in California and Seattle. The restaurant is known for its long wait times, polished and modern decor, and its text book xiao long bao (soup dumplings) with fillings like truffle pork and pork and crab.”

I’ve only been to Portland once (a few days after the 2016 election …) and did check out their Chinatown, which I have to say, was kind of rundown … Not to say that a Chinatown’s cuisine is any indicator of Asian cuisine in general …

But from what I have heard from others who have lived in Portland, the Chinese and Taiwanese food scene there is not the greatest. So congrats to Portland on getting a Din Tai Fung sometime in the future.

To be honest, I’m kind of surprised that Din Tai Fung is expanding into Portland when they haven’t even penetrated the East Coast. Portland is a relatively small market. But maybe Din Tai Fung wants to establish their brand on the West Coast first?

Din Tai Fung Opens at Westfield Mall in Orange County, CA

The last time I went to a Din Tai Fung opening, it was also at a Westfield Mall – specifically the Valley Fair Mall in San Jose/Santa Clara, California. Well now, another one has opened in Orange County:

“There has been a great deal of anticipation, but Din Tai Fung, the dumpling and noodle chain that is known for its delicious food and four hour waits for a table in Orange County, has finally opened its doors at Westfield, Century City.

The restaurant officially opened on March 23 and now locals will be able to partake of their famous xiao long bao (soup dumplings), which are made fresh on the premises every day.”

A lot of people say that Din Tai Fung is overrated. I don’t care! It’s one of the few Taiwanese brands I think Americans recognize in the U.S. – or at least in California!

Din Tai Fung San Diego Delayed Until 2018

I first blogged about the first Din Tai Fung opening in San Diego this past February for this fall, but apparently that has been delayed:

“While most of its big name new restaurants are lined up to launch in Westfield UTC this fall, it will be a slightly longer wait for dumpling specialists Din Tai Fung. As part of the shopping center’s multi-million expansion and remodel, there will be plenty of fresh food and drink options to celebrate come October including Shake Shack, Great Maple, True Food Kitchen and more, but a rep for the Taiwanese chain confirmed that it will not be opening in Westfield UTC until 2018.”

I’ve only been to San Diego for work, so I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Westfield UTC mall, but from Google Maps, it doesn’t look too far from UC San Diego (less than 3 miles).

Din Tai Fung Opens 4th Branch in Greater Seattle – Westfield Southcenter

Back in March of this year, I had blogged about Seattle’s 3rd Din Tai Fung restaurant opening in downtown Seattle. Well, the 4th one is now open at Westfield Southcenter, as described here:

“The long-awaited arrival of Din Tai Fung’s Southcenter outpost came to an end on Friday at 6 p.m., when the ribbon was cut on the fourth Seattle-area restaurant for the international dumpling chain.

Din Tai Fung originated in Taiwan and has expanded its dumpling empire to 11 other countries including the United States. The company’s third location opened at Pacific Place last month, on level four of the shopping center. There are also restaurants in Bellevue and at University Village.

Din Tai Fung consistently draws long lines for its xiao long bao, or soup dumplings. Other popular menu items include pot stickers, wontons, fried rice, soups, and fried noodles.”

Personally, I have only been to the Din Tai Fung at Bellevue in Seattle and have yet to visit the one in the Bay Area (but that one is now no longer requiring reservations!)

Din Tai Fung Opens in Downtown Seattle

As I had blogged back in January 2016, Din Tai Fung had announced that they were opening a FOURTH restaurant in the Greater Seattle region – even before opening the first in the Bay Area  – which did eventually happen (back in May 2016).

Well, the third Seattle Din Tai Fung is now open:

“The waiting is over — except for in the giant lines about to form at Pacific Place for the latest local outlet of massively beloved dumpling chain Din Tai Fung. The ribbon will be cut at 10:45 a.m. Thursday, March 9, and whoever gets in the queue earliest will get D.T.F.’s first downtown Seattle xiao long bao — the famous soup dumplings — when the doors open at 11 a.m.

Pacific Place opens at 10 a.m. — meaning there will probably be lines to get into the mall to line up for Din Tai Fung.”

Personally, I have only been to the Bellevue one in the Greater Seattle area. Here’s a list of all three current locations in the Seattle area. The fourth Din Tai Fung Southcenter restaurant was slated for January 2017, but like it seems with all of its locations, Din Tai Fung is behind schedule.

 

 

Din Tai Fung expands dumpling footprint to downtown Seattle

Din Tai Fung recently announced that they will be opening their 3rd restaurant in the Greater Seattle area:

dintaifung105_800-by-5331-700x466“The restaurant’s legendary lines remain robust at its Lincoln Square and University Village locations, and owner David Yang Wasielewski announced plans to open his largest Seattle-area Ding Tai Fung space inside downtown Seattle’s Pacific Place shopping center this summer.

We are so thankful for the overwhelming support we’ve received since we opened our first store in Bellevue five years ago and are excited to be opening our third restaurant in the heart of the Emerald City,” he said in a prepared statement.”

I can’t believe it’s been five years since the Din Tai Fung in Bellevue has been open and there hasn’t been one opened yet in the Bay Area – but one will be opening soon …

The Fung Brothers: Din Tai Fung ft. Dannie Riel

Fung_Brothers_Din_Tai_FungAs you know, I’m a big fan of the Taiwanese restaurant chain Din Tai Fung, and most recently blogged about their new restaurant opening up later this year in San Gabriel Valley.

Well, apparently the YouTube sensation The Fung Brothers are fans of Din Tai Fung as well, at the Arcadia, California location, put together this entertaining overview of DTF with import model Dannie Riel.

 

Din Tai Fung Opening Inside Westfield Santa Anita Mall in California

So I was a bit pre-occupied at the time and did not blog when the news that Din Tai Fung was opening a new restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area at  San Jose’s Westfield Valley Fair Mall – slated for opening this October 2015. Now there is news that Din Tai Fung will be opening *another* restaurant in Southern California:

XLB_DTF“It’s quite the coup for the seriously popular dumpling house, which started in Arcadia before branching out into bigger (and in some cases glitzier) digs elsewhere. The Santa Anita location is a welcome SGV return, and will hopefully help to quell the lines at the original location by giving people the ability to head for a larger space just blocks away. That is, assuming the original Arcadia rooms remain, given the proximity to the new location (management has no official word on if they’ll stay at this time).”

I had read elsewhere that Din Tai Fung would be closing one of its two restaurants (which were apparently right next to each other) in Arcadia, California. In any case, I can’t wait to visit the San Jose restaurant in October and the SGV (San Gabriel Valley) restaurant in the future.