Like most good restaurants, Din Tai Fung has humble beginnings. In 1958, Bingyi Yang and his wife, workers of a former oil company decided to start their own oil business. After much hardships and trying to make their business grow, they expanded in the 1980s by selling steamed dumplings. Word got out of their delicious dumplings and gained popularity. They soon stopped selling oil and became a full fledged restaurant. Today, Din Tai Fung is an international legend. On March of 2000, they opened up their first Din Tai Fung in California. From then, they opened multiple restaurants around the world, including Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Japan, among others. To me, Din Tai Fung in Arcadia was a place to go for the best Xiao Long Bao — juicy pork dumplings. There always is a wait, unless you get there really early. My wait this time was only about 15 minutes. Score!
First and foremost, we started off with the juicy pork dumplings (XLB). The reason why DTF XLB is superior to others’ is because of the quality and taste. The soup inside is quite perfect. It has the perfect amount of saltiness and pork flavor is unmatched. Not only is the soup good, but the skin does a great job holding everything in. It doesn’t rip or break, and to me, this is the most important factor why the DTF XLB is the best. The worst is when steamed dumplings have a wet bottom due to the steaming process. I love how the ones at DTF are dry all around, yet filled with an amazing soup inside. They are perfect in every way. All other XLB does, and will get compared to the ones at DTF.
We also had to try the shui mai. Being one of my dim sum favorites, I ordered this just to see if it far superior to other shui mai. Also, the presentation with the shrimp on top was spectacular. The flavor was good, and the skin was better than most. After one though, I was already sick of it. I kept finding myself going back to the XLB.
I am an avid fan of beef noodle soup. I wanted to find something that was just as good as the XLB. Though the noodles in the beef noodle soup were good, the broth wasn’t exceptional. It was more oily than it should and the depth of flavor was just not there. My favorite place to get beef noodle soup is still Ding’s Garden in Rowland Heights.
With all this meat, we decided to get a vegetable dish. The green beans were really good, considering they were vegetables. Yuck! All kidding aside, they were snappy, crisp, and tasted really fresh. It wasn’t too oily, and the pure taste of the green beans really shined through.
After our meal, I ordered a taro bun and red bean bun to-go. I did find these quite nice. The mellow flavor of the bun and subtle sweetness of the bean was great. This would have been perfect with a honey green tea from Ten Ren. Of the two though, I think I liked the red bean the best. As a Korean, the red bean just spoke to me more.
Eating at DTF is always a good time. The XLB is a must. Honestly, I do feel at times DTF is a one trick pony. Not to say that their other food items suck, but that the XLB is that superior. Everything is made from scratch and the attention to detail is of most importance. With a rich history and a passion for good food and superior service makes DTF stand out from the rest.