A few years ago, whenever I told anyone I was going down to Seattle, they would tell me to visit Din Tai Fung. Now, this was before Richmond exploded with a billion amazing Chinese restaurants, and Shanghai River/Dinesty didn’t exist. Nowadays, I hear a lot of people say Din Tai Fung (who is known for their Shanghainese/Taiwanese cuisine) is highly overrated. Many people even discourage me from going when I say I want to visit!
I recently went to Seattle with a couple of friends who are Taiwanese and luckily they suggested we try it out! We did and boy, even though the hype of Din Tai Fung has died down, the line ups certainly haven’t. At any given time, the lineups are about 30 min- 1.5 hr long.
Employees hard at work near the front window wrapping Xiao Long Baos (Shanghai Soup Buns). Since you’re waiting for an hour waiting to get into the restaurant, you might as well enjoy the show right?
On my three day trip to Seattle, we came here TWICE. Dinner, and then for lunch immediately the day after. This post is comprised of both visits so the lighting will look a bit off.
Just like Dinesty, I appreciated the photo filled menu, which I think is the reason why the clientele is so multicultural. If you don’t know what some of the items are, at least you have a photo for reference!
This may look like an ordinary bowl of cabbage, but this Sauteed Taiwanese Cabbage ($10) dish was amazingly light and delicious! The Taiwanese cabbage was dressed in a very light dressing of sesame oil and some most likely soy or mirin..etc. If you need some veggies in your diet, you can’t go wrong with this.
This Pork Chop Noodle in Soup ($11.25) looked exactly like the image in the menu (always a fan of that) and it was a deeper richer broth with a pan fried pork chop.
My friends are absolutely in LOVE with this Noodles with Spicy Sauce ($7.50) and they get it every single time they come here. In fact, they don’t even share it, they order a bowl each so they get one to themselves. 😀
This dish is quite small so I actually ate a whole one to myself. And even though I’m not a big fan of super spicy food, I really enjoyed the sesame/spicy sauce since it was similar to the hot chili oil at Vietnamese restaurants.
This Tofu Puff and Glass Noodle in Soup ($8.50) was also delightfully light. It comprises of tofu puffs, beancurd wrapped in meat, and glass noodles. The broth is lighter than the pork chop noodle soup so if you enjoy clear chicken broth type soups, this one’ll be for you.
We ordered this on a whim but it was actually a very good appy! It’s called Soy Noodle Salad ($5.75) and the noodles are made of soy (duh). Yum!
I was really looking forward to the Black Sesame Bun ($5.50) but was disappointed at the lack of oozyness. It was more of a thick paste and while the taste was there, I still wasn’t a fan.
These are the Vegetarian and Pork Dumplings in Spicy Sauce ($10.00). Seeing as how we loved the spicy sauce from the noodle dish, its no wonder we loved this one too. 😛
One of the must get items here is the Shrimp and Pork Potstickers ($9.50)!!! They make it so there’s a crisp skirt on the bottom and it’s mighty crunchy and tastes like a cracker.
Cucumber Salad ($5.75). Nothing to write home about but great presentation.
Now for those people who think Din Tai Fung is highly overrated and sub par compared to Shanghainese restaurants in Vancouver, I think it’s because they only ordered the soup and regular dumplings. And let me tell you friends, those are NOT the items you should be getting here (even though they promote it like they’re signature items). They are very average, like this Shrimp and Pork Shao Mai ($14.50) here, and they’re very pricey for what they are. Instead, you should be ordering their noodle in soup, vegetable items, and soupy or pan fried dumplings.
These ‘signature’ Soup Dumplings aka Xiao Long Baos ($12.25) again were very average and definitely not better than the ones in Vancouver. Definitely skip them. Don’t even try it if you know you’ve had better.
We got the Honey Green Milk Tea with Pearls ($4.75) and the taste was alright. It was slightly to sweet for our liking.
Overall, Din Tai Fung is a friggin amazing restaurant if you know what to order. Skip the “Steamed Dumplings” and “Soup Dumplings” section of the menu and order from everything else. TRUST ME. My personal favourite sections (where you really can’t go wrong with any of the items) are the “Noodles & Wontons” and “Noodle Soups”. Stick with those tips and you are golden.
Service Rating: 4.5/5
Food Rating: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5