Today we’re going all the way to Los Angeles California for our Sunday Brunch Series to a legendary Dumpling House – Din Tai Fung. Now this isn’t just any ordinary dumpling restaurant, ranked by the New York Times as one of the top 10 restaurants in the World, owner and the son of the original founder Frank Yang shares his father’s story and why their Xiao Long Baos ranks supreme.
“Xiao Long Baos” are often referred to as soup dumplings and are traditionally steamed in small bamboo baskets (Xiao-Long). What makes these beauties especially unique are the paper thin skins that are delicate yet strong enough to hold in that rich savory broth from the filling.
The size is also very important; it mustn’t be too big and just perfect enough to nestle comfortably in a soup spoon.
Bingyi Yang, the founder of Din Tai Fung was born in 1927 in Shanxi China. During the Chinese Civil War, Yang fled the country in fear of the Kuoming Party and found solace in Taiwan, he was only 21 years old at the time. He stayed with his aunt and uncle who were owners of an oil shop and there he started work as a delivery man. However, due to an influx of grocery stores the oil shop business began to suffer.
With the suggestion from a close family friend, Yang learned to make traditional delicacies and began selling steamed dumplings and noodles as another means to make money.
The Din Tai Fung steamed dumplings gradually earned their reputation through not only the perfectly made dumplings but Yang’s kind and accommodating personality where guests weren’t just customers, but family. Soon word began spreading like wildfire through town, even celebrities and famous painters became his top customers.
Now Din Tai Fung has expanded all around the World from Japan to Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the United States. Each restaurant is adorned with the famous glass window where diners can watch the magic of all the delicacies being made – xiao long bao, shau mai, jiao zi, won ton galore.
One must be enduring when dining here as the average wait for a table is 40 minutes but rest assured, people always wait with much patience and willingness.
When I asked Frank what makes their XLBs so unique he answered “Our attention to detail. In every XLB there is 5g of dough and 16g of filling for a total of 21 g for each dumpling. This ensures the best quality every time. There are 19 folds in each dumpling and ours are a little smaller than your usual XLB. “At DingTaiFung their dedication to detail and precision has brought them the world-renown success they hold today.
Aside from dumplings they also serve several other traditional delicacies like Steamed Chicken Soup, Shanghai Rice Cake, Fried Green Beans, and a popular favorite — Sweet Red Bean Dumplings.
Joy Jangles loves a good brunch and brings you a new version each week for craveDFW. You may find more of her unique perspective and beautiful photos at Joylicious.