Friday, June 21, 2013

FUN at Din Tai Fung in Arcadia

As a Jewish girl from Westchester it's essential I have Chinese food as often as possible. But since moving to LA, I haven't really had that many good Chinese food experiences. This fact is ridiculous considering I currently live 10 minutes from Chinatown and 15 minutes from Chinese Food Disneyland otherwise known as The San Gabriel Valley which is also otherwise known as SGV. SGV is filled with some of the best Chinese restaurants IN THE COUNTRY. I just was too busy or lazy to go there. Until the other night.
Monday night our house guest, in town from San Fran on a job, introduced me to Din Tai Fung. Or as it is written in the Torah...


Allie Hsiao, the girl who took me to The Promised Land
Let's show that picture again:

They look so innocent, so unassuming. But these pork & crab soup dumplings called xiaolongbao are some of the best and juiciest morsels of goodliness I have ever had in my life. Everything is hand-made and fresh and the broth inside is such a downright welcome explosion of hot damn that I think I was happy for like 3 days.

We ate other stuff, too.

Remarkable Braised Beef Soup (it's basically brisket, Taiwan Style) 

These kick-ass green beans. So fresh, so deelish. Oy.
These Vegetable and Pork Dumpling in Spicy Sauce. Should have gone with the Shrimp & Pork. Glad there'll be a next time!
We also kind of just liked being there.

I love typos.
Here is the cutest waiter ever.
In competition with the cutest hostess ever.
There are two Din Tai Fungs in Arcadia. I guess we were in the older one. The restaurants are basically side by side; a duplication decided upon because when there was only one the wait was too long. And even though I've seen reviews about people who still had to wait a long time, our wait was 20 minutes and once we ordered -- you order like you're ordering sushi with a pen and a little list -- our food came out within minutes.


The steamed dumplings - Xiaolongbao - were originally made as a side business just to keep Bingyi Yang and his wife Penmei Lai afloat when their oil business was going under. Sometimes the side business becomes the business business as was the case for these two. The buns were so popular they decided to create a full-out restaurant and Din Tai Fung was born. Then in the early 90's a New York Times article called Din Tai Fung "outstanding" and selected it as one of the best 10 restaurants in the world. You kind of can't get better than that.

These 2 restaurants in Arcadia are the only ones in the U.S. but they join many Din Tai Fungs around the globe: Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia*, Japan, Korea and of course Taiwan, where the original restaurant can be found. The one Allie went to in China had a special that night of pork & truffle dumplings. She said they basically melted in her mouth. I don't think you'll find anything like that here but you will get awesome food, served fast, and you will be happy.

Oh and one last thing, do what Allie said: Order more than you think you can eat because you will eat it. Not pictured were these amazing fried noodle cakes, perfect for when you're really hungry or really hungover. Or just like me. A Jewish girl from Westchester who needed to get in touch with her roots.

Let's just see them one more time...

Din Tai Fung is located at 1108 and 1088 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007. And I just called. They do Take Out. Now I'll never move back.


*you best get your tuchus there, Tiffany.

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