Thursday, August 26, 2010

Din Tai Fung

There's nothing better than biting into a freshly made siu long bao and sucking out all the juices (or broth) created during steaming, before dipping it into vinegar and ginger and savoring every bite of dumpling skin and juicy pork.

When my parents came down to Irvine to help me move, our first topic of discussion is always, "Where are we going to eat?" I was ecstatic to learn that a friend of my mom's suggested she try Din Tai Fung in Arcadia, CA. This was one of those places where Matt and I went, swore we would go back because it was so delicious, but never did because it's so far from Irvine. So when my mom brought up Din Tai Fung as a place that she wanted to try, I thought to myself..."CHA CHING!"
On the backside of the chopstick wrapper, it teaches you how to properly enjoy a dumpling (more specifically, a siu long bao)

1) carefully remove a dumpling from the steaming basket and place on a porcelain spoon
2)bite a small hole at the top
3) suck out the juices that have formed from steaming
4) dip in vinegar and ginger
5) enjoy

Siu long bao
BEST DUMPLING EVER! Din Tai Fung originated in Taiwan and boy do they know how to make a fresh siu long bao. All their dumplings are made fresh on site and you can watch them wrap and steam all the dumplings by order as you wait patiently for your table.

What I learned about Din Tai Fung while I was waiting for my table: They sell steamed dumplings by bulk at the Costco in Taiwan.
Am I jealous? You bet!
Fish Dumpling
Clear Broth Beef Noodle Soup
Vegetable and Pork Dumpling
My second favorite dumpling! I love the contrast of pork and vegetables. I guess psychologically, it feels healthier too.

Dried Tofu in a Clear Broth with Vermicelli
Can you say, "Rancid tofu"? Gross. The broth was good and the fact that I love vermicelli means that you can't go wrong, but rancid tofu? Gross.
I learned my lesson: Stick to the dumplings.
Vegetable and Pork Bun
They use the same filling as the dumplings for the buns. But man do I love a good steamed bun. It's soft and fluffy and goes great with savory fillings.

Black Sesame Paste Bun
The same bun is great for sweet fillings as well!
I loved breaking one of these in half. Steam came floating out as I pull the two halves apart to reveal the thick and almost creamy black sesame paste inside. Just makes your mouth water doesn't it?

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