Seattle Eats: Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung Bellevue     Din Tai Fung Bellevue1

I feel like the title should just speak for itself. If you have never tried Din Tai Fung before, you’re missing out. The restaurant chain originated in Taipei, Taiwan and features the best Xiao Long Bao {Pork Dumplings} I have ever had.  Interestingly enough, Din Tai Fung started as a cooking oil retailer.  However, due to a downturn in their business, the original owners had to think of an alternative revenue source in order to keep the business running.  The original owners transformed half of their shop into a restaurant and sold their now famous soup dumplings. 

Din Tai Fung Bellevue3These soup dumplings are juicy pieces of pork and just the right amount of soup in a thin layer of dough. Despite expanding internationally with locations in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and of course the US! – their product remains consistent. Even though I frequently go back to LA, I haven’t had Din Tai Fung for awhile.  But since I’m here in Seattle (and my other co-worker was craving it as well) we decided to head on down to Bellevue. First off – this location has a character all its own in order to reflect the local clientele. First of all, the space is huge with high ceilings and they also have large rooms towards the back of the restaurant reserved for large parties. Also – they have a bar in their restaurant where you can sit down and watch game if you want.

Other than that – the food is the same as what’s served at the other DTFs. Although there may seem like a flurry of options, it’s really a handful of dishes with slight variations. For example, the dumplings come in your standard pork variety, but it also comes in shrimp & pork, pork and crab, fish, vegetable & pork…even truffle! Same with the Fried Noodles – same base, but you can get it with pork, chicken, or vegetarian.

Din Tai Fung Juicy Pork Dumplings Din Tai Fung Rice Cake String Beans Din Tai Fung Green Milk Tea

Aside from the juicy pork dumplings, my favorite dish here is the Rice Cakes with Pork. They’re essentially cooked the same with the same ingredients, but the rice cakes are nice and chewy and are a different textural experience compared to the Noodles. For our vegetable of the night, we ordered the String Beans. The String Beans are also great because they are still nice and crunchy and perfectly flavored with garlic. And of course, we can’t forget their drinks. They offer slushies and milk tea drinks {and of course all the old drink toppings such as boba, mango popping balls, aloe vera, etc.}  I got the Milk Green Tea which was better than I expected.  It looked milky, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the drink to have a strong green tea flavor.  Definitely savored this drink.

 Din Tai Fung Steam Taro Buns Din Tai Fung Red Bean Dumplings Din Tai Fung Bellevue Red Bean Bun

For desert, we got the Steamed Taro Buns, Red Bean Dumplings, and Red Bean Rice Bun. The Steamed Taro buns are oh so comforting. They are sweet little pieces of warm carby goodness. My coworker had the Red Bean Rice Bun. The name is a little deceptive, the “bun” is really just sticky rice. Think of it as a sweet tamale made of rice and sweet red bean paste instead of pork & masa. Last but definitely not least, we had the Red Bean Dumplings. They’re made from the same dough as the savory dumplings, but they’re filled with the sweet red bean paste. Utterly delicious – we couldn’t finish them at the restaurant, so I took them home for breakfast the next day! Similar to the savory dumplings, they offer their sweet dumplings and buns in various flavors such as red bean, taro, and sesame. What I especially love about their deserts, and Chinese deserts in general, is that they’re not overly sweet. Just enough to finish your meal on a nice sweet note.

Not only was the food delish, but the service was great. I have to mention an incident in which we were given the wrong batch of dumplings. We received a batch of shrimp & pork dumplings instead of juicy pork dumplings. Which typically is no big deal, however I’m allergic to shrimp. Yikes. After taking one bite, I knew it wasn’t right and alerted our waiter. Not only did he apologize and {of course got us our original order of juicy pork dumplings} but he comped our desserts and dumpling orders. Although it was a mistake on their part, I really appreciated how the staff and the manager went out of their way to make sure I was ok as they checked up on me several times. I have been to restaurants where I found hair in the food and the staff don’t even apologize for the oversight. Fortunately, I didn’t have any reactions to the shrimp (since I basically spit it out once I had a bite}, but I appreciate the level of service and care they deliver to their clients.
Yum – another successful meal.



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