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din tai fung coming to vallco mall, cupertino, ca

a friend who owns a share of vallco mall in cupertino, ca mentioned that din tai fung is going open a restaurant there.

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  1. that would be wonderful. the branch in arcadia is great.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Big Larry

      Have you ever by any chance been to the Taipei original? Just curious how well they're holding up their standards. Look forward to finding out .... Any idea on when we're talking about? This year?

      1. re: gordon wing

        I've been to both.

        If the Taipei original is a 10, the one in Arcadia is about a 5. Better XLB can be found in LA/SF, but it's still good.

        I expect the new Cuptertino one to be similar to the one in Arcadia...

        1. re: gemster

          i concur. the taipei location is lightyears ahead of the arcadia branch.

    2. Awesome. Maybe now I can finally experience XLB with actual soup in it.

      1. Vallco Mall? Isn't that a dead shell? I thought they were trying to close that place down for remodeling or th like.

        13 Replies
        1. re: grinch

          That place is actually coming alive. The new AMC theaters are already open and looks pretty nice.

          If you want to experience DTF quality XLB without waiting for it to open, then head to Hu Chiang dumplings in Cupertino. They probably have the best XLB currently in the bay area.


          1. re: tanspace

            No way. How cool. I have only been to the one in Xintindi in Shanghai...

            1. re: LPCagain

              I found the service at the Xintiandi DTF overbearing and the XLB ridiculously overpriced for Shanghai. They were good, but neighborhood places like Jia Jia Tang Bao offer equally good xiaolong bao for 1/6 the price (but no legion of bowing and scraping supernumeraries).

            2. re: tanspace

              Su Hong Palo Alto had excellent XLB 4 out of 5 visits. On the first 4 visits, they were freshly steamed, with a juicy well textured filling. On my most recent visit, the restaurant was packed and the XLB suffered in quality. They looked oversteamed or resteamed and a few of them broke. But when they are on, Su Hong is just as good as Hu Chiang. Koi Palace XLB is on that same level too.

              1. re: Porthos

                Agreed that the Su Hong Eatery XLB is quite good. Didn't have XLB at Hu Chiang, but I was disappointed with the stuff that I did have there and am not inclined to go back.

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  I've only eaten at Su Hong Eatery once, but agree that XLB is superb (I must have gone on a good day). Probably the best in the Peninsula and trumping Happy Cafe or Shanghai East in San Mateo. The best thing about Su Hong Eatery is walking out without suffering from MSG symptoms (arguable they use little to zero).

                  Hu Chiang is only good for the si gua tang bao (silkie melon and minced shrimp style xlb) which is a great out of the box prep here but arguably more common in Taiwan. Their standard Hu Chiang Tang Bao (aka their xlb) is mediocre and subpar in comparison. Very very very heavy in MSG as well. The table next to us complained to management about the signature cai fan or vegetable and salted pork rice in clay pot being overly peppery and that their replacement order was the same.

                  Also recall some rumor somewhere that the HC Taiwanese dumpling chef left. I still need to go back sometime to see if the silkie melon version (loofah actually) is still good.

                  1. re: K K

                    We take Westerner/Caucasian customers to Din Tai Fun in Shanghai. Service has never been anything but just fine. And to them the cost still seems low:). Note, I also am a Westerner/Caucasian...

                    1. re: LPCagain

                      I was there on a rainy midweek midday, and business was slow. There were more people standing there in spiffy clean uniforms with their hands beind their backs trying to not look bored than at the People's No. 1 Department Store. The waiter captain/maitre de or whatever he was came by every five minutes or so to ask if everything was ok or to explain something I already knew. When I left I had to walk a gauntlet of "Thank Yous" "Goodbyes" Iand slight bows of the head. I'm Caucasian myself, so I guess I got the Caucasian treatment.

                      I agree the XLB were excellent (DTF wouldn't dare come up with anything less on XLB's home turf) and it's probably a good "safe" place to bring guailaos. Nothing with eyes is served there, I think.

                      1. re: Gary Soup

                        I don't mind the eyes as long as I don't have to eat them...

                        Actually duck necks out of a plastic bag was the only thing that I actually couldn't even look at...

                        1. re: Gary Soup

                          I think it's interesting to compare local spots to their overseas counterparts but wish you'd either continue discussion on the appropriate board or make really clear that you're discussing details of foreign dishes/service so readers don't have to try to figure out which comments apply to which side of the Pacific!


                          1. re: Fine

                            DTF is a Chain, after all, (25 branches in 8 countries) so we probably shouldn't even be discussing the merits of it on this board. What someone finds at an overseas DTF might have some bearing on what to expect from a branch in the US.

                            1. re: Gary Soup

                              Tsk tsk, you started this thread in Chains and must have forgotten about it ;-)


                              Before everyone chimes in and compares locations in different countries, bear in mind that materials such as pork would taste different in each country. This is already apparent in DTF's famous clear broth chicken soup. Of course it will taste richer in Taiwan compared to the USA, because their range chickens are like skinny Lou Ferrigno's/Hulks, with tons of flavor (though the breast meat is impossible to tear off, almost rubbery). Only our local organic free range chicken farms would produce a similar flavor, but still not quite the same.

                              If DTF is opening up at Vallco, or anywhere in the Bay Area, that is good news. Competition is always a healthy thing, it helps drive innovation, creativity and helps boost quality (hopefully), plus more choices for the consumer. Ideally DTF at Vallco would open up a concept of turning the place (rumoredly now known as Cupertino Square) into Cupertino Village part 2, or Milpitas Square part 3.

                              1. re: K K

                                I haven't forgotten a thing. I said (in THIS thread) that discussions of merits and characteristics of DTF branches should by rights be in Chains, so what's to "tsk, tsk" about?

                                It also should be borne in mind that perceptions of DTF's will vary according to one's own background and biases. Someone with Taiwanese roots, for example, might find everything about the Taipei branches beyond compare even though Taiwan doesn't have Pudong chickens and Wuxi swine as raw materials...

            3. I hope it's not as crappy as the one near LA b/c that one is god awful and do not hold up the standards of the ones in asia.

              1. i have only been to the din tai fung in arcadia, so i can't comment on the ones in asia, but i have been to the one in arcadia like a dozen times over the last five years and thought it was great every time. unfortunately i don't know when din tai fung is opening in the vallco mall, but i imagine it's soon, since the amc theater just opened at the end of april 2007. also, just as someone pointed out, it's no longer called the vallco mall - the new name is cupertino square. to be honest, i don't know why din tai fung took so long to open a restaurant here, since there are more than enough patrons with tons of money to keep them in top business. it's such a lucrative market considering how wealthy the asians are in the bay area. there must be a reason... does anyone know why more top restaurants in asia don't open up branches here?

                1 Reply
                1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                  i heard that it hasn't been finalized yet and they are still in talks...so it might not be as soon as we hope

                2. DTF will NOT be in Vallco (Cupertino Square). The owner of Vallco mall made it all up in an attempt to attract tenants to the property.

                  The Bay Area location and timing of the opening of DTF has not been determined.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: hanchee

                    LOL, that sounds like the mall owner! Well former owner anyway. The owner that said that sold the mall, then the new owners didn't pay their loans and recently declared bankruptcy. The movie theater is very nice, but to keep AMC from pulling out the mall had to give them two years of no rent (they took way too long to finish the theater, and weren't helped by a crane falling onto the super-structure of the theater and bending the girders).

                    I was startled to go into Costco in Taipei (Neihu), on the weekend and find that DTF had set up a production line in the store and was selling XLB like crazy. They're only there on weekends, and the store is a madhouse (though the checkout lines are short). I don't know if they also do this at other Costcos in Taiwan. I wanted some XLBs, but the line for them was insane.

                    1. re: Robert Chou

                      Do you have to be a costco member?

                  2. I take back what I said originally about DTF in LA being pretty good and probably being comparable to the ones in Asia. I was so wrong.

                    In the last couple of years I've been to the ones in Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, and Hong Kong numerous times, and they are all substantially better than the one in LA. It really makes me sad because it's a lot easier for me to go to LA, but the food is just far superior in Asia.

                    This point totally hit home last year when I went to the DTF in LA a week after I had been to the one in Hong Kong. Everything was down a notch: the dumpling skins were thicker, the soup had more msg, the red bean dumpling filling was not as fragrant and fresh, the fried rice was much more oily, and the fried pork chop was very much breaded and fried, whereas the ones in Asia seemed more like they were also grilled.

                    9 Replies
                      1. re: kc72

                        My guess is they are not, otherwise we would have heard something in the last 2 years or so. At least there are other places for XLB locally that are perhaps not as expensive.

                        I haven't been back to Arcadia's DTF in a while, but I would imagine that with a 2nd location added to aid with the overflow, consistency, the quality of ingredients (not a bad quality issue, but more so Taiwanese pork and American pork from bones to trotters taste very different) are going to vary. I've more or less accepted the fact that it's very very difficult, if not impossible, to replicate 100%.

                        1. re: K K

                          I agree that DTF is probably not coming to the bay area soon, but (and this might be slightly off topic) I think the DTF in LA could be substantially improved. I just don't think it's going to happen anytime soon because the business is already so good.

                          In places like Hong Kong and Taipei, there are plenty of places that make great xiao long baos so even if you think DTF is the best, you have plenty of alternatives. In LA and arguably the rest of the country, DTF is by far the best you can find so they have a monopoly on the business the way that Koi Palace has a monopoly on the Cantonese food in the bay area.

                          This is not to say that DTF in Taipei is not filled to capacity 24/7 (I was at the original Ximending location a month ago and still had to wait 30 mins for a table even though it was 3pm), but I think that's because DTF takes on a very special status in Taipei and draws a lot of tourists who want to visit "the original" even if half of them are from other parts of Asia that already have amazing xiao long baos. In other places like Shanghai and Hong Kong, the DTF is only full during prime lunch and dinner hours. Again, this is not to say they are not good (in fact, the one in Hong Kong is extremely popular and has one of the highest ratings on openrice.com, their version of our yelp.com) but the competition is so fierce that it's really not "the one and only".

                          When it first opened, the DTF in LA was very good but they had also flown in talent from Taipei and had them work there a few months to train the local staff. Now that the talent has gone back to Taipei the quality has gone downhill - which makes sense, since it's a lot easier to do quality control when yours restaurants are 1-2 hours away (in the case of Hong Kong and Tokyo) versus 12-14 hours away (in the case of LA).

                          So I do think ingredients have something to do with it but at the end of the day it's a secondary reason. The primary reason that the food is nowhere near what you find in Asia is that DTF in LA has no competition and therefore has no need to improve. As long as it is much better than the next best thing in LA, it will do just fine.

                          1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                            I went to DTF in Arcadia and Shanghai Dumpling King in San Francisco on back to back weeks about a year ago. No question in my mind that SDK were far superior. Su Hong in Palo Alto was below DTF, imo.

                            Too bad about DTF not opening in Vallco. It would still be a nice addition.

                            1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                              As far as I know, there are three locations of DTF in Taipei, Xinyi, Zhongxiao, and Fu-Shing. The original location I believe is I want to say Xinyi but I could be wrong, but if the nearest cross street is Yong Kang street, then that's the original one. You can find some pseudo DTF clones around the corner (on Yong Kang street) that also do XLB, but of course they have no lines.

                              Xiemending? The only two most well known shops I can think of that started there are Ay Chung Mien Sien (www.ay-chung.com) and Lao Tien Lu Shanghainese style marinated simmered snacks (http://www.laotienlu.com.tw/) where they are usually flooded with HK tourists.

                              In any case we were in that area of DTF original location a few weeks back, and yes as busy as ever. Mostly Japanese and Hong Kong tourists, who seem to respect the culture of wait, order, eat, then leave, unlike Arcadia DTF where I surmise most families gather around and stick around.

                              In any case, there's half decent to very decent XLB to be found in the SF Bay Area, even if not DTF standard. And yes, even ugly looking not so bad $5 XLB!

                              1. re: K K

                                Ahh yes, sorry - I meant the one in Xinyi right at the intersection with Yong Kang street.

                                1. re: hong_kong_foodie

                                  I visited the Fu-XIng location last year and thought the food was quite good. There was about a 30-minute wait for a table. Based solely on what I heard, the customers were all speaking Mandarin so there didn't appear to be any HK or Japanese people here. Service was good for such a busy environment, although this location does have a sterile mall feeling since it's located at the bottom of an escalator in the SOGO Mall. However, they do have the window where you can see the team of guys folding the dumplings.

                                  1. re: baron45

                                    Yea I heard about the DTF at that location but didn't try it because (1) I like all the other tourists wanted to try the original hehe and (2) the fact that it's in the basement of SOGO seemed less appealing to me. But now that I think about it, I can see how the one in Fu-Xing could draw a more local crowd since it *is* in a mall and tourists probably flock to the stand-alone restaurants. I have to say though that at the Xinyi location there were lots of tourists from Japan and Hong Kong.

                          2. re: kc72

                            DTF is not coming to Vallco. That mall is dead. Why would anyone in their right mind want to set up any business there?