Sherman's Food Adventures: Din Tai Fung (Southcenter)

Din Tai Fung (Southcenter)

Ever since my first ever visit to Din Tai Fung in 2011 at the Bellevue location, I've been back many times.  I never felt the need to do a repost since things were basically the same.  I had a chance to check out the Hong Kong location last year but wanted to go to other spots instead (but have heard the HK one is pretty good).  Finally, it is time that I did another blog post on DTF partly because of time and mostly since they opened a new location at Southcenter in Tukwila.  Since we were staying nearby, we dropped by on a Saturday morning to find that they weren't very busy.  Score!

To start things off, we had the small bowl of  Hot & Sour Soup that was loaded with green onions.  After mixing it with the chili oil on top, the soup was flavorful in a sweet, savory and slightly spicy manner, but there was not enough tang.  Hence, it wasn't balanced.  I did like the silky tofu though as it had a pleasing mouth-feel.  Seeing how we never seem to get enough veggies in our diet, we got an order of the Stir-Fried Broccoli with garlic.  Although this was fairly simple dish, it was executed properly.  The good-sized florets were crunchy while cooked all-the-way-through.  It was mildly seasoned while the garlic did come through.

Onto the most important dish, the Pork Xiao Long Bao, these were made-to-order (similar to many other restaurants).  These featured their signature thin dumpling skin where the twirl on the top was only slightly more chewy than the rest of it.  Gotta eat these hot because the skin becomes progressively chewier as they cool.  Inside, the soup was substantial where the natural sweet pork flavor was complimented by a discernible amount of ginger and xiaoshing wine.  To change it up a bit, we also got the Shrimp Siu Mai which were essentially an XLB with a shrimp on the open top (albeit with slightly thicker skin).  This ate more robust and with the addition of the snap texture of the shrimp, there was more variation.

The kiddies really love Stir-Fried Shanghai Rice Cakes, so to prevent any whining, we got it despite the plethora of food already.  This was executed properly with chewy slices of rice cake that were also tender enough.  There was enough wok heat for caramelization of flavors and color.  Mixed in was a good amount of crunchy napa cabbage and tender spinach as well as julienned pork.   Shockingly small in size, the Minced Pork Noodles was also texturally appealing.  The ample meat sauce was sweet with a noticeable brininess from the dried shrimp.  This in itself added enough umaminess to make the dish rather tasty.  I just wished there was more of it.

Lastly, we had their Potstickers served with the crispy side on top.  It featured the appealing and desired crunchy edges/bottom from the starch.  I liked how they were not greasy despite the aggressive texture.  Inside, the filling was moist and juicy while being well-seasoned.  After it was all said and done, the amount we paid wasn't exactly cheap, so the good food came at a cost.  However, we've never had a bad experience at DTF, hence, I believe it is worth the price.  I particularly enjoyed that this location was large and not crazy busy.

The Good:
- XLBs are good with thin dumpling skin and flavourful soup
- Other dishes are generally good too
- Attentive service

The Bad:
- On the pricier side
- Smallish portions

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