Dine Out : Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung Seattle, Din Tai Fung, Din Tai Fung Review, Din Tai Fung Restaurant,, Din Tai Fung Xiao Long Bao, 鼎泰豐

Confession: almost as soon as we booked our Seattle vacation, we started a list of places we wanted to dine at and Din Tai Fung was at the top. This Taiwan based chain is known for their 小笼包 xiaolongbao (steamed soup filled dumplings).  I should mention that xiaolongbao did not originate from Taiwan but from Shanghai, China. That's neither here nor there for the purposes of this review. Just putting it out there as a statement of fact.

There are currently two, soon to be three locations of Din Tai Fung in Seattle. We visited the one in University Village which is an upscale open air shopping center located near the University of Washington campus. We heard about the crowds and the place was already buzzing with people when we arrived at 11:15. This was on a weekday just 15 minutes after they had opened. The restaurant is situated on the 2nd floor in a building just inside the entrance. It is an airy space with a sit down bar area in the front and a window through which you can watch the dumplings deftly being made right by the entrance. The decor is simple and casual with wooden tables and chairs. Bamboo steamer baskets adorn the walls. You're given a sheet to tick off the items you want. Along with dumplings, the menu has a selection of noodles, rice, soups, vegetables, Chinese style desserts and teas.

We opted for the classic juicy pork soup dumplings. At this location, they're also available in pork and crab and truffle and pork varieties. They must have these ready to go because the soup dumplings arrived at our table within minutes of our order being taken. Judging by appearance, they looked beautifully crafted with delicate pleats. We both noted that they weren't steaming hot and cooled down really quickly. After all the hype, the taste was a bit of a letdown. The skin was thick and chewy and though tasty, there was a distinct lack of soup in the dumplings. We've eaten many soup dumplings and it's a unique experience. The basic criteria is a skin that is delicate and thin as possible without breaking, filled with a savory soup that explodes in your mouth when you bite into it and a filling which carries the flavor of the dumpling that is well seasoned, juicy and toothsome. At $10 for 10, these soup dumplings should've wowed and they just didn't do that for us.

Din Tai Fung Seattle, Din Tai Fung, Din Tai Fung Review, Din Tai Fung Restaurant,, Din Tai Fung Xiao Long Bao, 鼎泰豐

They were out of the garlic sautéed string beans so we got the garlic sautéed kale instead and a plate of Shanghai fried rice cakes with chicken. I thought it was going to be Chinese kale but it turned out to be regular curly kale. That was fine as was the dish. I make kale this way at home. The fried rice cakes were okay if a little bland. And this had to be the paltriest dish of rice cakes I've ever seen. My husband and I are not big eaters and these three dishes would usually be enough for us but we were still hungry so we added on a braised beef soup noodle. The beef was tender, the noodles were chewy and the soup was nice but again it was nothing impressive. There were about four pieces of meat and a few mouthfuls of noodles per person in that bowl. We also got a milk tea and matcha green tea with our meal which were okay. They went overboard with the sugar in the milk tea but the matcha tea was perfect. The service was genial and efficient. I do give them points on the quickness in which the food comes out.

I gotta say, I don't get the hype on Din Tai Fung, especially considering the prices they charge are pretty high relative to the amount of food they give you. Our meal ended up being around $70 after tax and tip which is expensive by Chinese food standards and this was lunch. I'm not someone who needs huge portions and I probably wouldn't have minded this or the prices as much if the food was better. We ended up going to Joe's Shanghai after we got back to NYC to get our xiaolongbao fix.  I'd be curious to try one of the branches in Asia to see how it compares. One location in Hong Kong garnered a Michelin star but I don't see that happening here.

Din Tai Fung is an international brand with branches in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, the United States, Thailand and Dubai.

Have you ever had xiaolongbao? How did you like them?

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐)
2621 NE 46th Street
Seattle, WA
$ - $$

Din Tai Fung, Din Tai Fung Review, Din Tai Fung Restaurant,, Din Tai Fung Xiao Long Bao

Din Tai Fung Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Chelsey said...

I love Din Tai Fung!
I haven't tried them but I love the veggie dumplings and the dan dan sesame noodles. I reviewed the Sydney stores over on my blog :)

Beauty Unearthly said...

Lovely post dear! Have a great Friday! xx

Pooja Mittal said...

those dumpling tho !
keep in touch

Blackswan said...

Din Tai Fung in Seattle? Wow, the Asians must be flocking there. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Hungry! :-)

Lilli said...

Oh I didnt know about this brand but definitely Id be very curious to try it as well, seems very nice and the food very tasty. Happy weekend Rowena! xo


It sounds like this was not at all an amazing experience overall even though some parts tasty, sadly I am allergic to pork but I love shrimp dumplings and veggie ones my mum used to make. This restaurant for Chinese food would be a pass for me, I've had great Chinese food and it's not even my number one choice (Thai & Japanese are my favourite) so I would be disappointed as well. Yes, I bet the Asia located restaurant would be good.
Have a great start to the weekend l, Rowena!

Emmylou said...

My husband really loves this dish, and TBH, he'd probably feel the same as you. I do like mine to be super steaming hot, so if it's not, that would be a letdown for me too. Thanks for the honest review on this place, Rowena. Man! $70 for two...that is quite expensive!

PS Thanks for the Jeju Volcanic mask rec! I've been wanting to try that coz I've heard great things and am quite liking Innisfree now. Imma gonna give it a go, and also will probably try the Green Tea Seed Serum
PPS Just saw the first episode of City Hall! Oh my gosh! I wish I have the time to binge-watch that now! I've forgotten how amazing Kim Sun Ah is, and Cha Seung Won...well, you know how I feel about him:D I should've watch this first before that dang Blood. Aaaaaaaah! Thanks for recommending this one (as always):D

Have a great weekend, chingu!

Shireen L. Platt said...

Finally a restaurant that I am familiar with! I used to dine in this restaurant back in Kuala Lumpur, I think they have two branches there. They were decent back in Malaysia but as you said, it's nothing outstanding as there were plenty other restaurants that served better food but some of my friends absolutely love them. I guess it's down to individual preferences....I find the restaurant to be just okay but they are always pack to the gills so maybe it's just me not knowing how to appreciate it. Haha!

Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

Marcela Gmd said...

Wow delicious!!!!
Have a wonderful weekend, dear Rowena!!!!

Besos, desde España, Marcela♥

Paola Lauretano said...

Din Tai Fung? Wow, that's really interesting!
Kisses, Paola.


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ALLIE NYC said...

Wow $70 that is a lot, though your photos make it look amazing, think I am going to have to have something like this for lunch now. But I must say, Seattle has great food, it really does. I feel like you could eat out for Breakfast,Lunch and Dinner for an entire year and not to the same place twice it would all be good.

I use to live near UV, and have fond memories.

Allie of

Beauty said...

Din Tai Fung is such a huge chain if it has so many franchise(s) all over like that; so bad that the one you visited was not that satisfactory. I love Asian Cuisine and these pictures make my mouth water.

tr3ndygirl influencer e fashion blogger said...

very delicious
I posted a NEW REVIEW, I'd love to know your opinion
would you like to pass from my blog?
fashion blogger

Kasztanowy Domek said...

Great food! Happy weekend!:))


tr3ndygirl influencer e fashion blogger said...

excellent food and very beautiful place
I posted a new review, I'd love to know your opinion
happy day, kiss
<<< tr3ndygirl fashion blogger >>>

Rebeca Muñoz López said...

Hi Rowena! How sad that the experience was not very good in this restaurant, it feels unpleasant when you pay for something that has not met expectations.Have a nice weekend dear.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that this restaurant didn't meet your expectations. The food looks nice though.


Gabrielle said...

Sorry to hear the soup-filled dumplings didn't blow you away, though I must say I'm super curious about how they must taste in general - definitely something I'd like to try some time!

Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

Margaret Dallospedale said...

Ohh I'd like to visit this palse Rowena. So cool.
Maggie Dallospedale Fashion diary - Fashion blog

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing - I want to visit Seattle too!

x Caroline

Valerie said...

I'm sorry to hear the restaurant was not very good, but looking at your beautiful photos definitely makes me crave soup dumplings! Thanks for sharing!


Midnight Cowgirl said...

That sounds disappointing. Bummer.

Fashionably Idu said...

The dumplings sure look beautifully crafted. Sad that you were't wowed by their taste and feel. I might have been :). Sounds yummy though and now I can't wait to try soup dumplings. Great that your local location got a good rating. Everything looks great regardless.


Edyta said...


Ivana Split said...

I tried pork dumplings a few times in an Asian restaurant in my neighborhood and they were always delicious. I was back a few times and I always reordered them. I have never tried soup steam dumplings, that sounds yummy....I think I only had regular steamed ones:). Sorry to hear these ones weren't as delicious as they seemed- too bad for they really look lovely. Well, at least the soup, the kale and the beef was alright. You're right, 70 dollars is a bit pricey for a regular medium sized lunch. Sometimes places get hyped for no particular reason, just a bit of luck, I guess....you say that the service is really good, so maybe that is a part of the reason. Food that arrives quickly is a big plus in restaurant business.

Today I went to a new restaurant called Pause and it was really nice...I actually liked the fact that is was almost empty- sometimes a bit of peace and quiet is welcome. I will probably be back there. Plus, one of my old students is working there, so I know I can count on polite service:).

Lenya said...

Too bad that it wasn't the best experience, tho. Happy Sunday, Rowena.

Imogen said...

Interesting because we have them over here but I have never been.

A Very Sweet Blog said...

Oh Rowena, that's ashame! I hate when people hype up a restaurant and it turns out to not be what was expected. I wonder if the other locations are better? It sounds like a lot is pre-prepared which can be tricky. But it also sounds like some of the recipes are off. Glad some things worked out, but sorry you had to go through all of this. $70 for lunch is not cheap.

Jo said...

I think we went to the same location Rowena, but this was a few years ago when my son just started going to the states for his tournament. I agree with you, it's not cheap and the portion is not big at all. I guess that's why I only went once and never thought about going back.

xo Jo