Walking into the restaurant, you’ll see two teams, dressed in white and wearing surgical masks, behind a glass wall. Instead of humans, the patients are dumplings, each team quickly filling dumpling wrappers with fillings and them pleating them shut with surgical precision. Welcome to Din Tai Fung, the Taiwanese chain famed for their xiao long bao, steamed soup dumplings.
Din Tai Fung recently opened up a new flagship location in the Westfield Santa Anita mall a few months ago. The new space is gorgeous with high ceilings and dark wood room dividers, a stunning contrast to their original location (which has now closed). Unless you show up right when they open, you’ll have to wait, but thanks to modern technology, you can go shopping until they’ll text you when your table is ready.
You will want to order the infamous xiao long bao, which Din Tai Fung has perfected. The delicate skin of the dumpling somehow manages to hold its pork filling and “soup” until you bite into it. In comparison, the pork and shrimp dumplings are merely fine, nowhere near the exceptional quality of the soup dumpling. Din Tai Fung does a nice job with their sautéed string beans, stir-fried just long enough so that the beans still retain their crunch.
Noodles dishes range from good to mediocre. My favorite was the noodles with minced pork, a more delicate version than what is offered at other restaurants.
The noodles with sesame sauce is fine, not too spicy, while the Shanghai rice cakes were very, very chewy and a little oily. The soup noodles are nothing special, and the fried rice is, well fried rice (which is admittedly, a tough dish to be exceptional).
There’s also a pork chop, coated with spices and lightly fried – not life-changing but will fulfill any pork craving you might have.
It’s no wonder that Din Tai Fung is always crowded, both in Arcadia and Glendale. They’ve elevated the Chinese dining experience to a more sophisticated level – from the stylish decor to good service to the refined dishes. Go early or be prepared to do some shopping before your meal.
Location –400 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia 91007. Additional locations in Glendale, South Coast Plaza, Santa Clara and in Washington – Seattle and Bellevue and internationally in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Australia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Dubai.
Website – http://dintaifungusa.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes