Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

Din Tai Fung
1108 S Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007
Dining date: 7/30/11

Din Tai Fung is the type of restaurant I hear about even when I go home to San Francisco. “Have you heard of this restaurant in Arcadia…” or “you should try this dumpling place called Din Tai Fung.” It’s no wonder why – with three locations in the US and branches all over Asia and in Australia, it’s arguably the most famous place in SoCal to get dumplings (xiao long bao in particular).

exterior2 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

Needless to say, a restaurant like this comes with pretty high expectations (and long lines). I’ve found almost everyone fits into one of two camps: love it, or find it overrated and overpriced. If you were to ask me where I fell a couple years ago it was probably the latter; however, today I would say it’s closer to the former.

Upon entering, you can see fresh dumplings being made. Love that.

dumpling making 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

House Chicken Noodle Soup (Steamed)

chicken noodle soup 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

This might be my favorite item here. The chicken broth is perfect with its well-salted, hearty chicken flavor. The noodles, made fresh, have a delectable chew. It’s really simple, but it’s something that really resonates with me.

Shanghai Rice Cake with Chicken

chicken rice cake 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

I liked the nice chew to the rice cakes, lightly coated in a sauce that I think was oyster sauce. Some onions lended a little bit of fresh crunch too. 

Juicy Pork Dumplings

xlb 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

xlb2 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

The pièce de résistance – xiao long bao. The best xiao long bao in LA is a controversial argument…mine are here. The dumplings are always filled with a rich, savory juice but it’s the skin that separates these for me. Thin, stretchy and delicate, I really liked that the dough took backseat to the meat and juice with these dumplings.

Shrimp & Pork Dumplings

shrimp pork dumpling 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

shrimp pork dumpling2 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

I liked these as well. Plump pieces of shrimp made up the bulk of the filling, as well as a little bit of the juice.

Vegetarian Dumplings

veggie dumpling 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

veggie dumpling2 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

I found these to be just okay. Relative to their meaty counterparts, I found these dumplings to be rather dry with a dense, woodsy flavor. Probably pretty healthy, though.

Sauteed String Beans with Garlic

string beans 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

Tasty garlic string beans, cooked quickly in a wok. I liked the gentle texture still left in the beans, but I don’t think these were a uniquely better example though.

Noodles with Spicy Sauce

 spicy noodle 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

Love the noodles here. They were smothered in a sweet-spicy sauce that I enjoyed.

The perfect dessert was a milk tea from the nearby Ten Ren’s Tea Time. I’m very picky about my milk teas, but this one is one of my favorites.

ten ren exterior 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

milk tea 500x335 Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA)

Din Tai Fung definitely does not present the best value in the SGV as most of their items are at the upper end of their respective price ranges. However, I think the execution is top-notch, and they serve some of my favorite noodles and dumplings in the city. And given the oft-long lines, it’s hard to say they’re charging too much for the food.


Comments

Din Tai Fung (Arcadia, CA) — 10 Comments

  1. Ditto Weez – love Din Tai Fung and those juicy pork dumplings! I also love the pork wontons in spicy sauce — perhaps even more than the pork dumplings!

  2. Order the dessert bao next time – they are stuffed with red bean paste. It’s a nice ending. The broccoli there is pretty good too, and for some reason, people love the fried rice.

    I’m a boba snob too … have you tried Half and Half?

    • Hell yes I have been to Half & Half.

      Will keep the baos in mind. I’ve heard good things about the fried rice but we didn’t get it this time. I want to try.

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