Monday, October 17, 2011

Din Tai Fung (Seattle)

Portland is a nice place to live.  The people are nice.  There's not much traffic.  Most everything you want is here sans tax (there's a Target and/or Trader Joe's every which way you turn!).  The very obvious thing it is lacking is great Asian food, especially good dumplings.  Lucky for us, the world famous Din Tai Fung has opened up a new outpost! Seattle. 

Now we don't have to fly to get our dumpling fix!  We need only drive 2.5 hours one way, so that we can wait another 1 hour for a table, and then fight the food coma back to Portland another 2.5 hours, while maintaining a keen watch out for cops trying to stick you with a speeding ticket for going over 65mph.  No joke.  Who would attempt such a ridiculous trip?  On a whim no less?  Well, that would be Dumpling Man and his trusty sidekick, moi. 

The restaurant is located in Bellevue, which seems to be a pretty posh area of Seattle.  Din Tai Fung is in the top level of a new, modern, non-Asian, non-ethnic, All-American shopping complex with a Nordstroms, Crate & Barrel, and PF Chang's.  It's on the same floor as Lucky Strike.  Yes folks, you can bowl and get your dumpling on at the same time!

It seems like they've spared no expense at this outpost of DTF.  It's a striking contrast to the cramped quarters of DTF in Taiwan.  This one is sprawling with high ceilings and modern finishings.  It's easily double the size of the 2nd Arcadia location and even has a private room with an all glass wall and door.

The stand out feature of this location is the full stock bar where you can wait for your table or even eat.

And of course, the droves of hispanics industriously working the dumpling line.

Green Milk Tea
Some versions give me hope and keep me trucking along to find any version similar to Tea Station's.  This however was not one of those inspiring takes.

Black Milk Tea
It's almost always safer to stick with the original.

Sauteed Brocolli
Nobody seems to believe Dumpling Man or me when we say they broccoli at DTF is special here.  Triple T and Smooth Obturator just think it tastes like broccoli.  We think it tastes like brocolli that has been touched by God.  They're perfectly crunchy, with the perfect amount of garlic.  I can't figure out how it's seasoned because it's not just salt.  I feel like they use a little bit of broth and varying amounts of cooking wine.  Anyways, if you LOVE broccoli, be sure to check these out.

Xiao Long Bao juicy pork and crab dumplings
Nom nom nom. 

The XLB is definitely good with very clean flavors.  Not heavily oily, crabby, porky, oniony, etc.  I can see why it appeals to the many non-Asians that line up for this place.  It's quite an accomplishment to be popular and deemed authentic to the target ethnic audience, and yet equally delicious to the American tastebuds.

Shanghai Rice Cakes
We love the rice cakes here.  Ribbons of pork and cabbage make for some variation in between each mouthful of rice cakes.

Vegetarian Dumplings
Strangely enough, I actually like the vegetarian dumplings here.  I rarely like things without meat, but these little guys pack a lot of flavor with just veggies, mushroom, tofu, and glass noodles.

Pork & Shrimp Dumpling

Similar in flavor to the XLB, these have a nice helping of shrimp hidden underneath the fresh dumpling skins.  Another favorite of mine.

Despite some of the negative reviews on Yelp, I would say the Seattle outpost of Din Tai Fung tastes almost similar to the ones in Arcadia.  People whine about the prices, and yes it's pricier than your mom and pop dumpling shop, but the restaurant is also much nicer and the quality of ingredients are probably better.  So if you like Din Tai Fung and find yourself in the same situation as Dumpling Man and me, than you can consider your problem solved.  Just hop in your car and drive drive drive!

Din Tai Fung
700 Bellevue Way NE Ste 280
Bellevue, WA 98004-4154

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JN at October 17, 2011 at 3:28 PM said...

Is it more expensive than DTF in Arcadia?

Lynn at October 20, 2011 at 3:11 PM said...

no i dont think so. i just think the seattle peeps dont understand DTF and how its not your mom and pop dumpling house.

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