Din Tai Fung
2nd floor, Shop 11A, Building 6, Xintiandi South Block
Din Tai Fung is a popular Shanghai dumpling restaurant with locations in Los Angeles, Taipei, Japan, China, Singapore, and several other countries. We dined at the location in Shanghai’s touristy Xintiandi. The Los Angeles location is in Arcadia with Yelp reviews unfortunately indicating it is a step down from the ones abroad.
This restaurant started in Taipei City and has expanded over the years based on the popularity of their Shanghai steamed dumplings. We decided not to visit the USA, Beijing, Tokyo or Hong Kong branch and eat at one in the heart of Xiao Long Bao dumpling territory, Shanghai, China. We were hoping that this would be the star location for dumplings.
Decor, Vibe – Din Tai Fung was a clean, modern, open, and airy restaurant with a large open kitchen in the rear, showcasing the making of dumplings. The restaurant was loud and busy, filled with tourists and local office workers.
Din Tai Fung’s Menu has many different types of Shanghai dumplings, appetizers, buns, and several desserts.
Signature Dishes – Shanghai steamed dumplings – Xiao Long Bao
Special steamed pork Xiao Long Bao (¥29 for 5 pieces) contain lots of hot and tasty soup, good meat flavor, and good sized dumplings. They took about 15 minutes to arrive. Far superior to ones in the US.
Steamed pork and hairy crab meat Xiao Long Bao (¥43 for 5 pieces) contain lots of hot and tasty soup with strong crab flavors. Order these if you love crab.
Steamed pork and green vegetable bun (¥25 for 2 pieces) or good sized freshly steamed buns with not much chewy pork.
Steamed red bean paste Xiao Long Bao (¥19 for 5 pieces) were very hot and had a thick interior with funny tasting sweet red paste. An acquired taste. A thin wrapper meant that the flavors were not diluted much.
Mini steamed sesame paste bun (¥30 for 3 pieces) or better than the red bean paste dumplings because the thicker dough helped balance out the sweet internals.
Chilled coconut milk with Sago and fruit (¥28) was a decent dessert with lots of mango and cantaloupe. A bit too much ice though.
Free Din Tai Fung pendant for kids.
Steamed chicken Xiao Long Bao (¥29 for 5 pieces) contain lots of hot and tasty soup too, fair meat flavor, but we preferred the pork version.
Steamed mini pork Xiao Long Bao served with soup (¥39 for 10 pieces) had tiny dumplings in a fairly bland soup.
Service – Din Tai Fung had average service where we have to hail servers. They did do plate changing and clearing without prompting.
Value – Din Tai Fung had pretty low prices in USA terms, making this place an excellent value.
Alternatives – Nearby restaurants include a ton of options including next door Shanghai Spring. Jia Jia Tang Bao is a hole in the wall dumpling only restaurant that is cheaper and better.
Verdict – Din Tai Fung is a safe bet for a meal especially if you visit this touristy location. There are better Shanghai dumpling options elsewhere in Shanghai like Jia Jia Tang Bao. Hong Kong’s Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao also had better Xiaolongbao. Also be sure to eat Pan Fried pork buns at Yang’s Dumplings. Dine at their Southern California location to get a taste of Shanghai.