The end of the school year is pretty much here. I'm graduating this Sunday (tomorrow!), and this marks the true end of my life as a graduate student.
While there are many things that I love/am looking forward to about school ending, as I've alluded before, there is a dark side to all of this. In addition to all the "what now?" feelings, I am also going to miss fighting this fight with my classmates. The first two years of school, our 20-plus-member cohort was in class together a lot, and we got to know each other pretty well, for better or worse. As the years went on, the masters' students graduated, and classes became a less and less frequent event. I often missed being in regular contact with these interesting people.
Anyway, just before our last class, a couple of the girls and I got together for dinner at Din Tai Fung in Arcadia, CA. Din Tai Fung is actually an international joint, and they are best known for their soup-filled pork dumplings. I love dumplings, so of course, I wanted to try theirs.
We started off with this sort of bean curd slaw, which had a nice sesame oil flavor to it.
Next up with veggie fried rice. Thanks to the group for ordering veggie stuff without even a second thought... This rice was light and fluffy.
One of the recommended dishes was this rice cakes dish. I had never had these before... they are essentially discs of rice flour that have been stir-fried. The texture and flavor were great! So great that one of the girls re-created a similar dish at home (she recently started a food blog, too!).
Here was the famous xiao long bao (soup dumpling) I was talking about. They give generous ginger and soy sauce to dip these guys in... I realize I should have taken a picture of the inside, but since I wasn't eating these, use your imagination. It was soupy with a ball of pork inside, warm and tender.
Veggie dumplings for me...
And I actually got the cross-section shot this time.
Overall, I can see why this place is so immensely popular, and I definitely would come back. They have good variety, though I actually prefer other places over this one. This place is non-Chinese friendly (unlike other places) with translated menus and fast, friendly, and English-speaking services.