Arcadia, CAYears ago, my Shanghainese friend and her boyfriend would drive to L.A. with a COUPLE of coolers in their trunk. They loved the Asian food in San Gabriel Valley and would bring back frozen food to share or ration them in the freezer until their next trip. I asked them what is the one place I have to visit when in San Gabriel Valley. They both said "Din Tai Fung" at the same time.
Thus, my first experience at Din Tai Fung was over 5 years ago and I like to return whenever I am close to San Gabriel Valley. A few of my friends stand by mom and pop joints for xiao long bao and I do too. But what I really enjoy about DTF is their wrapper - elastic, springy and leak-proof. When entering any of the Din Tai Fung locations there are an army of cooks kneading, rolling and wrapping the dumplings all day long.
Eating a xiao long bao is like eating ice cream. My anticipation grows as I patiently wait for the xiao long bao to finish steaming. My chopsticks goes in for the kill and tries to gracefully pick up the dumpling and "POW" the dumpling wrapper breaks and all the luxurious liquid escapes the container.
How is the experience like eating ice cream? You know the moment you take an excited first lick and the ice cream scoop drops onto the floor? I have the same disappointing feeling when my xiao long bao pops.
Bellevue, WADin Tai Fung's wrapper is springy like a 18 year-old face and I am almost always guarantee not to experience the ice-cream-scoop-drop disappointment. The wrapper is also thin and translucent so I get more pork flavor.
So while I was in Seattle for vacation in August I decided to have Din Tai Fung for dinner in Bellevue after a long day shopping at the outlet. I did not realize I would be going into the Microsoft building to dine at DTF so it was a pretty cool experience to explore the building and rest of the neighborhood.
Taro Dumpling for DessertThe window seat at DTF has a beautiful view and I just found out Bellevue means beautiful view. Very fitting indeed.