May 17th, 2011

Sarah Goes To Din Tai Fung.

Before visiting I had heard more about the wait for a table than the actual dumplings themselves.  Armed with that information we headed to Din Tai Fung for lunch last Saturday.  It would only have been a foolish move if the wait had been interminably long.  Instead, fifteen minutes passed and we were whisked away to our table.  Weaving through the loud and crowded dining room we were lead away from the din to a table in a quieter corner with lots of sunlight.  

This is main stream dim sum set up to be fast, efficient, and user friendly. The menu is slick with thumbnail photos to effortlessly guide the uninitiated towards the perfect selection. Dumplings are the focus, but there are pages devoted to other dishes involving noodles, rice, and vegetables in enough combinations to satisfy the most finicky diner.

Everyone picked a dish or two and we shared.  The sizable portion of hot and sour soup came out first.  Glad we only ordered a small.  It was a tasty start to the meal.  This was followed by a cool salad of julienne bean curd, seaweed, and cellophane noodles.  The dumplings came out in quick succession.  First, the pork and vegetable wontons nestled in a spicy red sauce.  A lovely dish of contrasting colors and unctuous noodles.  Next, the pork buns appeared, the steamed orbs closed in a delicate spiral.  While the buns looked beautiful, the filling was a bit heavy and bland.   Followed by the shaomai.  I always find these dumplings entertaining.  There is the question of eating etiquette.  Do you consume the whole thing in one bite or is it ok to chomp off the top and enjoy the stock laden pork separately?  Either way my main goal is to not have any or part of the dumpling dribbling down the front of my shirt.  We ordered one noodle dish to break away from the dumpling mold.  The egg noodles with pickled mustard greens and minced pork sauce were difficult extract from their serving dish. Delicious once  you wrangled your share onto your plate. 

None of the desserts caught anyone's eye, but the milk teas being delivered to near by tables did.  We ordered one red plum with boba accurately described by our server as very good, but different.  It was the color of hibiscus tea, translucent plummy red.  The flavor was like an umbeboshi (Japanese pickled plum) with a sweet finish.  Different and very good.  After the wontons it was my favorite part of the meal.