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what to order at din tai fung?

I'm going to Din Tai Fung on Saturday. I'll probably arrive around 11:30AM. What should I order? Will I arrive in time to have their famous dumplings or do I need to get there earlier?

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  1. Chicken dumplings. Shrimp and pork dumplings. More dumplings.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mc michael

      The shrimp and pork dumplings are excellent. I actually like the regular XLB better than the the "soup" dumplings which are just small XLB served with a side a soup. Like everyone else, we tried multiple times before getting there "on time" for them and it's not worth the fuss.

      1. re: Porthos

        Totally agree. Those "Soup" dumplings that they hard sell are expensive, but so tiny (think, smaller than grape tomato sized) that they lack any of that juiciness you're looking for in a xiao lung bao.

        Chicken noodle soup is good, Regular Xiao Lung Bao (Crab isn't flavorful enough), and my mom also really likes their rice cake and red bean dumplings for dessert.

      2. re: mc michael

        Mmmm those chicken dumplings are goood.

      3. On weekends you need to get there way before it opens if you want to try their soup dumplings (once I was seated 40 mins after opening and they had run out); also if you get there at 11:30 expect an extremely LONG wait.

        Besides dumplings, I really like a dish that's called simply "Appetizer" that you can find at the bottom of the menu. It's shredded vegetables, tofu, and glass noodles in a spicy soy dressing - it is a must. If they have their green beans, "vegetable" - you have to ask - those are really good as well.

        For dumplings I like the juicy pork dumplings the best.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Bon Vivant

          On to go orders, they seem to put one green bean in with the chicken dumplings. I guess this is to avoid confusion with the shrimp & pork dumplings.

        2. Hey Glutton,

          We actually like their regular xiao lung bao (juicy pork dumplings) better than the little special soup dumplings. You might also try their pork and crab dumplings.

          Get there really early, and if you end up havin' to take a number, listen up - they don't repeat it for long before they move on.


          1. Regular xiao long bia
            Shau Mai
            Their fried noodles with shrimp are pretty good

            Order a ton of xiao long bia (juicy pork dumplings). That is what they are famous for and best at. Everything else is mediocre.

            1. In addition to dumplings and noodles try the chicken soup.

              1. I've ordered all of their dumplings and shiaomai at some point, but the only ones I ever order now are the juicy pork dumplings. They're simply the best... literally, because they're simple. The crab/pork dumplings and the shrimp/pork shaiomai sound and look much better than they actually are, in my opinion. The seafood seems to clash with the pork or something, more so than in traditional dim sum... for some reason they don't work for me.

                I usually get their green beans too. If you're filling out the order form, you write "green beans" where it says "vegetables". I'd bet their pea shoots are good too, but I love the green beans.

                I alternate between the Shanghai rice cake and their "Noodles with Sesame Sauce", depending on what I'm in the mood for. The Shanghai rice cake are these fat oval noodle discs, served with sauteed pea shoots, bamboo and onion. The dish is on the heavier side and may be too greasy for some, but it's wonderful if you're a fat noodle/chow fun type.

                The sesame noodles are a little "lighter" as far as noodles go. The sesame sauce is creamy, almost peanut-butter like so it's still far from a light dish. The noodles are the ones here:


                Very delicious.

                They actually have a very nice website:


                1. the only thing that i really like at DTF is their nian gao (shanghai rice cakes).

                  1. If they still have it, order the mini-xiaolongbaos (available on weekends only) - basically miniature versions of their pork xiaolongbaos served with a bowl of chicken broth with egg slivers.

                    But if they run out (and they run out of those fast!) - go for the regular xiaolongbao (juicy pork dumplings) -- the ones with crab don't taste that much difference so isn't worth the extra $2-3.

                    Everything else there is decent, but not exceptional (actually I'd almost say the same about their xiaolongbaos, but that's their specialty there).

                    I also like the "appetizer" of shredded veggies, tofu & noodles in a spicy-sour marinade.


                    1. the juicy pork dumplings are the best... tried the crab/pork (can't taste the crab at all) and shumai (same pork dumpling with a little shrimp on top-very mediocre) were not worth it. i tried their chicken soup, it was okay. pork noodles were good.

                      1. My standard are:

                        regular juicy pork dumplings
                        fish dumplings
                        stir fried green beans (it's just under vegetables, there are usually a choice of several)

                        Rice cakes and the bean thread/tofu soup are also good.

                        Don't bother with the chicken dumplings or the sweet rice dumplings. They are pretty awful.

                        Some people like the plain steamed chicken soup, the fried rice and the pork chops. I think they are just ok.

                        Weekends they open at 10:30AM, I believe. If you are not in line by 10:15 you will not likely be able to get the 'special' dumplings. Really they tasted the same as the regular pork, but a bit easier as you can pop the whole thing into your mouth without have to take a bite to release the juice first (caution: they are extremely hot when first come out of the steamer). I am never one for pork & crab dumplings - simply too rich, but some people like them.

                        1. Definitely the juicy pork & crab dumpling, the pork chop fried rice, shanghai rice cake. Green beans are good but not as flavorful as other dishes.

                          1. Chicken soup.

                            Everything else there is very average.

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              agree with you there. i think din tai fung is only marginally better than the average dumpling establishment.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                that said, i would get the babaofan for dessert, the rice and redbean dish that has assorted other sweets mixed in. decent babaofan is very hard to find.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Should I even bother going to DFT to feed my new obsession with XLB or would I be better served sticking with JJ and MLV?

                                  1. re: wizardx

                                    You'll always ask yourself that until you try it for yourself.

                                    1. re: wizardx

                                      The XLB are DTF are pretty refined and delicate vs. the more rustic style you see at places at JJ or Giang Nan. And some people are put off by the somewhat "non-authentic" environment. So go in with open taste buds. And extra moolah.

                                      That said, I've noticed that DTF does tend to use quite a bit of MSG, and that does help the taste of its food "pop". I've actually cut down eating there because of my reaction to the MSG. I took my visiting bro there, and he had a similar reaction, but he did love the food, though.

                                      1. re: bfez

                                        i went to dtf with my taste buds and left dissatisfied. than again, i am a big fan of thicker skin xlb's so its really comparing apples to oranges.

                                      2. re: wizardx

                                        Well said, chica :0)

                                        Definitely try both. They're both great in their own way. DTF's XLB are smaller with thinner skin, more delicate, JJ's are larger, slightly heartier pork with thicker skin, and slightly less expensive. I happen to prefer DTFs, but I can certainly see the argument for JJ being the best.

                                        Fortunately, trying both is a small investment and a five-minutes' drive apart.

                                      3. re: ipsedixit

                                        Did you just randomly pick one item off the menu to claim is above average? :) Why the chicken soup of all things? At least you didn't pick the vegetable dumplings.

                                        1. re: bfez

                                          DTF is touted for it organic chicken in its chicken soup. The manager told us they ship directly from Taiwan. You'll notice that the chicken is smaller than the usual kind you see in stores. Without the hormones or other additives, the chicken has a natural, flavorful taste. I do think they add MSG, but somehow, it just doesn't taste 'fake' or too salty, like at most other restos.

                                          Also, the chicken soup comes out so deliciously piping hot...at the table, we always have to ask the waitress to flip the chicken into the soup for us.

                                          1. re: chica

                                            My parents are both from Taiwan and they absolutely love the chicken soup. They get it every time.

                                            1. re: chica

                                              I had no idea that the chicken was made from organic chicken. I'm surprised that they wouldn't put that on the menu. However, I do question what the quality control of "organic" poultry is like in Taiwan.

                                              1. re: WHills

                                                The chinese menu names the dish as "tu ji" -- this essentially means "domestic chicken." In other words, the chicken is organically farm-raised. When we inquired about it, we were told the chicken is essentially raised without added hormones and such.

                                                If you've ever visited the outdoor markets in Taiwan and other asian countries, you might reconsider the extent of organic poultry you find...more often than not, you'll find small farming families selling chicken in cages. You see a chicken alive one second, and thirty seconds later, it's ready to be plucked and cooked. Restaurants, of course, don't buy their chicken that way, but it's just an example that poultry can be acquired quite organically there.

                                            2. re: bfez

                                              For some reason everytime I have friends from out of town, they insist on going to DTF despite my protestations. As a result, I've tried just about everything on the menu at least once.

                                              Chicken soup is very well done because you can tell they've rendered out the unnecessary gunk from the stock so you're left with a pure, unadulterated soup. No boullion is added. It takes time and effort to do this. Despite my general dislike for this place, one must give props when props are due.

                                          2. Pork dumplings, appetizer, I agree. And the special small dumplings are a waste.

                                            But also get the Shrimp Fried Rice Noodle - it's excellent! Put the crunchy hot sauce on it (which they sold me to go last time).

                                            1. I would go with the juicy pork dumplings, shanghai rice cakes, braised beef noodle soup, and noodles with sesame sauce.

                                              Enjoy your meal!

                                              1. Everytime I go to DTF I have to order the crab and pork dumplings.Yum. I like the red bean dumplings for dessert but I know not everyone does

                                                1. We stopped in at 7:45PM tonight on the way in from out of town. We heard someone saying something about sharing a table so we quickly told the hostess the 3 of us would be willing to share a table and she seated us immediately. Score! We jumped ahead of 25 people and were seated at a large round table with 2 other small parties.

                                                  I was craving Appetizer, so I was extremely disappointed that they were out of it. I love Appetizer.

                                                  The hostess suggested the port and shrimp shu mai--they were just okay, we should have ordered another steamer of Juicy Pork Dumpling. The 3 across from us had the right idea--they were being served their 5th steamer as we left.

                                                  Do not order the Shrimp Noodle Soup. The noodles and broth were flavorless. I think there was no broth, that they may have just served us the boiling water from the bland noodles. Ug.

                                                  We had the green beans with garlic. Those are always worth ordering, although there was a piece of spinach in mine and it was soooo delicious that I am going to order the spinach next time.

                                                  They seem to have forgotten to bring the Shanghai Rice Cakes and we had to ask for it twice. Since it came whn we were ready to go we didn't appreciate it as much as we might have if we were still hungry. The sliced and fryed rice cake was like a crude chow fun noodle. Brown colored sauce was flavorful and it was mixed with some greens. I'll have it for lunch tomorrow with the garlic chicken wings I got next door at Phoenix food cafe.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: coconutz

                                                    That's why I almost always order the exact same thing when I go there: juicy pork dumplings, shanghai rice cake and the green beans :0)

                                                    1. re: chowmominLA

                                                      I followed this advice when I went a couple weeks ago and it worked out wonderfully. My wife is begging to go back and she is not normally a fan of dumplings and the like. We also had the chicken soup, which was widely praised. It was a wonderful execution of chicken soup, but it was not something I'd order again because it's just not my thing. The fried rice is also very good. A great, great meal.

                                                    2. re: coconutz

                                                      Oh, and that piece of spinach might have actually been dow mew (snow pea shoots), which is one of my favorite Chinese veggie dishes. It's like spinach but better (more tender, less bitter.) I've never had it at DTF but I'm sure it's great.

                                                      1. re: chowmominLA

                                                        maybe, but the 3 veggies listed were green bean, spinach and broccoli Vary your routine next time and try the thing called Appetizer ($3). it is a cold marinated dish and I'm jonesing for it.