I think that anyone who enjoys Xiao Long Bao (soup dumpling) will already have known about Din Tai Fung. It is one of the most famous place in Los Angeles where one can get a good varieties of soup and steamed dumplings.
It must have been quite a few years since I was there last. I have often thought about going many times, but being that the location is a bit far from my home, I have procrastinated.
I got there early on a Thursday morning, before noon. I was seated right away as the place was filling up quickly. What I like about this place is the fact that not only does the inside feels very comfortable and clean, the chopsticks, the plates, the teapot, cups were all chosen with care which enhanced the overall experience. I especially appreciated the fact that each person gets his/her small dish of julienned ginger to put the vinegar and soy sauce.
I was rather hungry, so I might have ordered a bit too much this time around. On the order sheet, I checked the Pork Xiao Long Bao, Vegetable Dumpling, Sauteed Bok Choy, Vegetable and Pork Wonton Soup, Sticky Rice Wrap w/Pork, Sauced Noodles w/Pickles Mustard Greens and Shredded Pork, and the Eight-Treasure Sticky Rice.
I thought the pork XLB was excellent, better than what I remembered from before. The last time I was there, the skin on the XLB hardened rather quickly, to the point where it became like a thin cardboard by the time I put it into my mouth. The skin stayed soft and delicate this time, with the hot soup squirting out as I bit into it. I must say that this XLB was probably the best I had for quite a while.
The flavor of the noodle was very light and refined. My friend and I both thought it was superb.
The sauteed bok choy was done perfectly, still a little crunchy but not hard. The wonton was fine, but not special in any way. The steamed veg/pork dumpling was my least favorite of the day, lacking in flavor, and with the filling being a bit hard.
My friend is not into sticky rice too much, so I was able to blissfully enjoy the whole sticky rice with pork all by myself. Even though it was not too big, but by the time I was finished with it, I was feeling really full. However, as full as I was, I still managed to finished one of my favorite dessert all by myself – the Eight Treasure Sticky Rice. The dessert came out steaming hot, with treasures such as dried plum, raisins, lotus seed, etc. on top of the very soft sticky rice. It was a totally satisfying and sweet treat.
Though I was beyond stuffed for the whole day, and did not even have dinner that evening, I was still reminiscing about the wonderful XLB, and thinking about when to go back for more.
DIn Tai Fung – 1108 S. Baldwin Ave. Arcadia, CA 91007 Tel: 626-574-7068