Dumplings Worth Waiting For at a Din Tai Fung Restaurant


Annie Qiao

Each of the famed pork xiǎolóngbāo are made by hand by expert chefs. The soup dumplings are weighed and folded 18 times with lightning speed and a delicacy that comes only from hours of practice.

Annie Qiao and Priscilla Baek

Recognized as the restaurant that serves “the world’s greatest dumplings” by Forbes Magazine, Din Tai Fung has gained success in South Coast Plaza with wait-lines that can sometimes exceed three hours. We decided to discover what the hype was about surrounding this popular Taiwanese restaurant.

Cucumber Salad & Sautéed String Beans:

Both vegetable side dishes made their way to our table first. The cucumber salad mixed the refreshing crunch of cucumber with the slightly spicy and acidic notes of chili oil and white wine vinegar sauce. On the other hand, the sautéed string beans featured a heavier butter garlic sauce that expressed a well-balanced, nutty flavor.

Pork Xiǎolóngbāo (小籠包):

Our server lifted the lid of the bamboo steamer, releasing a plume of steam. After biting into one of these juicy soup dumplings, it was easy to understand the dish’s popularity. The pork retained its natural flavor and texture while still providing a grounding umami flavor. It was complemented by the savory, hot yet light broth, and each xiǎolóngbāo was wrapped with a thin, chewy dough.

Pork and Shrimp Shāomài (燒賣):

After our first serving of the pork xiǎolóngbāo, we had high expectations for the remainder of the meal and were pleasantly surprised by the pork and shrimp shāomài, which is a traditional dumpling and dim sum snack wrapped in a thin sheet and open at the top. The shrimp on top provided a distinct seafood aroma which provided a flavor contrast without overpowering the richer pork underneath.

Sticky Rice and Pork Shāomài (燒賣):

A classic dim sum dish, the sticky rice and pork shāomài had a more subtle flavor than its pork and shrimp counterpart. The stickiness of the rice paired well with the fluffiness of the dough, but we felt that it lacked the rich burst of flavor the other dishes provided.

Red Bean Bun (紅豆麵包):

Following our already filling meal, the red bean buns were served fresh, with hot steam rolling off the pillowy and shiny tops. Inside, the red bean paste was smooth and perfectly sweet. The red bean buns satisfied our sweet tooths and provided a great end to an even better meal.

A three-hour wait is not for the faint of heart, but for us, Din Tai Fung dumplings keep us coming back for more.