Saturday, June 4, 2011

End-of-Semester Dinner: Din Tai Fung

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.


  1. love this place! a reminder i need to go back...

  2. Congrats, graduate!

    What an amazing accomplishment--I'm sure you are very relieved to be done!