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.



Charlie Rose: Danny Bowien & Mission Chinese Food and Mission Cantina

David_Bowien_Charlie_RoseIf you follow this blog, you may know I’m an avid follower of Charlie Rose and appreciate his more in-depth television interviews. I recently came across this one with Danny Bowien, chef and co-founder of the restaurants Mission Chinese Food and Mission Cantina. His new book is called “The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook.”

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was surprised to have never heard of Mission Chinese Food. What I found interesting was that Bowien is a Korean American that was raised by white parents in Oklahoma, but was interested in Chinese food. He’s just published this past fall a new cook book – The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook.

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.


Indians Who Love Steak and The Rise of Meat Consumption in Asia

Cuts Available Tonight

“I actually didn’t eat beef growing up,” he said, with a sly smile, “because of my parents.” The thought – that perhaps he believed the silly religion of his Indian parents – was brushed away like dust off his shoulder, accepted by everyone else at dinner freely. “But then I tried steak, and it was over.” The end. His past, how he was raised, be damned. He was a regular, steak-loving American.

I wondered how to respond. Six months ago, I decided to become vegetarian. However, I was never raised vegetarian, and few in my Indian family are. Unlike his family, we ate beef, albeit infrequently, as our particular version of Hinduism only prohibits meat-eating on certain days of the year. No. It was a greater decision than that.

Continue reading “Indians Who Love Steak and The Rise of Meat Consumption in Asia”

Trader Joes Cha Siu Bao vs. Authentic Cha Siu Bao

My toddler son LOVES the cha siu bao from Trader Joes. It’s his favorite thing to eat in the world. If we go to dim sum, he’ll eat the fresh bao but he doesn’t eat it with the Cha Siu Bao 2 same gusto he eats the frozen ones from TJs.

I admit it. It makes me sad. I want him to prefer the authentic stuff. This is not to say that the Trader Joe’s bao isn’t good – it’s alright in a pinch – but it’s not as good as the ones from a half-way decent Chinese bakery or restaurant.

But I got to thinking how different growing up now is compared to how life was when I was a kid. Let’s take the cha siu bao for example. I couldn’t imagine being able to buy such a thing from a non–Asian market 20 years ago. Now they are selling at a mid-sized market to mostly non-Asians.

The same can be said for sushi, ramen, dim sum, and lots of other Asian dishes.  I remember being a child and being a little embarrassed when my mom packed me a bento box for lunch. I remember wanting just a peanut butter sandwich and chips like my friends (whom it should be noted were mostly Asian/Asian American).

We’ve all heard variations of that story, but I wonder when my son goes to elementary school will it be the same? Will all the kids want to eat the same traditional American lunch? Or will having something “authentic” (aka: ethnic) be not just socially acceptable but cool?

If that’s the case, I already feel bad for my son because his lunch will probably be a sandwich. Now that I think about it, it’s a little ironic.

Squid No Go: Korean Woman’s Mouth Gets Inseminated by a Squid

According to a paper published in the Journal of Parasitology, a 63 year old Korean woman’s tongue, cheek, and gums got inseminated by the cooked squid she had just eaten.

This abstract explains further:

We present a case of stinging in the oral cavity caused by ingestion of the sperm bags of a squid. The patient experienced severe pain in her oral cavity immediately after eating raw squid. When she was examined at our hospital, we found that several small whitish spindle-shaped stings were stuck to the mucous membrane of the hard palate. A biopsy was performed, and the whitish stings were removed as well. We also performed a histological examination of the remaining part of the raw squid brought by the patient. The biopsy showed that the sperm bags of the squid had thrust into the squamous epithelium of the patient. The remaining part of the raw squid consisted of the testis and the sperm bags.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cancel my lunch reservation at Red Lobster.

“Stinging in the oral cavity caused by ingestion of the sperm bags of a squid: a case report.” via io9

[Photo used under Creative Commons License via Colin-47]

Chipotle Owners to Launch Shophouse Asian Cuisine Restaurant

Chipotle is dipping their toes into Asian cuisine via ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen, a restaurant based on Vietnamese, Thai, and Malay foods, using methodologies from what they’ve learned from their experience at Chipotle [EDITORS NOTE: Otherwise known as the only decent place in New York to get a burrito.] The first restaurant will be showing up in the DC area this summer. Would you go to the Asian version of Chipotle?

Bok Choy Apparel: T-Shirts, Artists & Community

What better way to show off your love for food and heritage with the t-shirt designs from Bok Choy Apparel. The clothing company celebrates Asian American culture with their unique and quirky shirts for everyone who loves tofu, ramen and (of course), bok choy.

We typically focus on designs that capture Asian food because food is such a central anchor across all our cultural experiences.  Some of our most popular designs feature such nostalgic throw backs as White Rabbit Candy, which was banned due to a melamine scare and now re-branded as Golden Rabbit Creamy Candy.  This design has an obvious nostalgic pull for many of us.

Bok Choy Apparel is more than just a t-shirt company; they’re making a strong effort in fostering and promoting the talent of Asian American artists. They work closely with local artists and screen-print their design with a local nonprofit company on locally grown apparel. Purchasing one of their designs means that you’ll not only be displaying your love for your favorite food and supporting an independent company but also helping artists in our community. If only other things in life were as easy as that!

Goodbye to Dale Talde on Top Chef: All-Stars

It’s been a full week since Dale Talde, most amazing chef in the world, was eliminated from Top Chef: All-Stars. It’s also been about an hour since I fully recovered from this tragic loss to one of the country’s greatest reality competition show. Am I exaggerating a little? Maybe but it really did take me that long to come to terms with the fact that my favorite contestant–and undeniably one of the strongest chefs on the season–wasn’t going to grace my television screen every Wednesday night.

Continue reading “Goodbye to Dale Talde on Top Chef: All-Stars”

No Justice in the World: Din Tai Fung Coming to Seattle

I’ve blogged about the Taiwanese dumplings restaurant chain Din Tai Fung in the past, and just saw this article posted on Facebook from a friend – Din Tai Fung is coming to Seattle. The restaurant will open in a suburb called Bellevue, Washington (which coincidentally happens to be the headquarters of HTC America). Here are some more details:

[T]he opening date is slated for early fall, when a 7000-square-foot, 220-seat den of dumplingfied deliciousness will be unveiled on the second-level at Lincoln Square, next to the skybridge connecting to Bellevue Place.”

Now I know quite a few people think that Din Tai Fung is overrated (but read the Yelp reviews!) but I don’t care! As I have mentioned before, I’ve been to a Din Tai Fung in Taipei, Shanghai and Beijing, as well as in Arcadia, California. In fact, I took some colleagues there back this January when we were in Southern California for a trade show and they loved it!

I am annoyed that Seattle is getting a Din Tai Fung instead of San Francisco Bay. I have literally emailed Din Tai Fung’s U.S. site every six to twelve months asking them to open a restaurant up in the Bay Area. That place would clean up big time. I mean, Cupertino is sort of like the Little Taipei of Northern California – Din Tai Fung in Cupertino Village would be a natural fit.

I don’t know what franchisee David Wasielewski (who was born-and-raised in Taiwan until middle school) did to convince Din Tai Fung to give him a franchise since he’s never owned and operated a restaurant before in his life. I need to contact some hotel and restaurant friends of mine, since I think opening one up in the Bay Area is a no-brainer and would be a goldmine!

Top Chef’s Pretty Padma: Fashionista & Foodie

I love food. I am not terribly fashionable, although some people have said they “like my style.” I’m not sure what that means; maybe I would label my style as casual hippy-urban, because I basically wear flowy tanktops and shorts with black Kangaroo kicks, or graphic tees and jeans with Chacos whenever I can get away with it. Anyways, whatever.

So of course, I’m insanely admiring (i.e. jealous) of both Top Chef Masters host Kelly Choi and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, two beautiful APA women who are successful and not only experts on food–they get to eat incredible food for a regular living! And talk about it! And judge people and make shrewd, interesting comments about it!

When I got sucked into Top Chef, the food drama was a big factor, but I was definitely enamored with Padma, the gorgeous Indian-born host of the show. She has an easy, effortless way about her in the way she talks and gracefully carries herself, her fashion sense and obviously discerning palate. She really and truly exhibits the “Easy Exotic.” The new season is based in Washington, DC and airs Wednesday nights on Bravo. Can’t wait to watch my lady-crush all season!

Sushi Popper Push-up Pop

I am all for various food items placed on sticks, but I am having mixed feelings about the Sushi Popper. At first, I thought this was a failed Saturday Night Live skit, but this is an actual item for purchase. Once I got over the frenzied/dizzying video clip, disturbing “push-and-eat” imagery of raw food items and the potential stomach malfunctions this may cause, I am intrigued enough to try it. Who’s with me on this?!