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Din Tai Fung

JAB Nov 30, 2008 05:12 PM

We had the pork and the pork & crab XLBs, the fish dumpling and the shrimp fried rice. Both XLBs were fine as was the fish dumpling. I preferred the wrapper of the fish dumpling to that of the XLBs. The shrimp fried rice was lacking in seasoning but, the shrimp were fresh and plump.

Don't let the line scare you away. It moves very quickly.

DTF, for the love of G_d, please cover up the window into the prep area just behind the check in podium so that I can retain the fantasy that my XLBs and dumplings are being lovingly prepared by a Chinese Grandma instead of the harsh reality that they are in fact being prepared by a group of 20 somethings from South of the border.

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  1. e
    Echo27 RE: JAB Nov 30, 2008 05:52 PM

    Denial ain't just a river in Egypt. Covered window or not, who do you think is preparing the food in every other restaurant in LA that you eat in.

    1. b
      bulavinaka RE: JAB Nov 30, 2008 06:00 PM

      While I'm happy that you enjoyed your meal as a whole, I would beg you not to decry the demographics of the skilled help - appreciate the talent which they have learned over time. If those who are ethnically similar to what they eat can look beyond this if not embrace their cross-cultural exchange, then you can too!

      For a more light-hearted insight in to this phenomenon, check out this routine. If you're not familiar with it, I hope you get a good laugh. If you are, then shame on you... :)


      3 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka
        nosh RE: bulavinaka Nov 30, 2008 07:57 PM

        very funny routine. thanks for the link.

        1. re: nosh
          bulavinaka RE: nosh Nov 30, 2008 10:27 PM

          I couldn't find his not-for-tv version of the same routine on youtube but it's worth seeking out. I'll never order orange chicken again with a straight face...

        2. re: bulavinaka
          streetgourmetla RE: bulavinaka Dec 1, 2008 08:53 AM

          Excellent points bulavinaka and PeterL. In addition to the SGV, Mexican cooks are getting experience in Mexico in the many Chinese restaurants over there, especially in Northern Baja where there are many Chinese immigrants.Mexicali is known for its Chinese restaurants. In Baja,Sonora,and Sinaloa also are graced by a sizable Japanese population, and sushi stands have replaced taco stands in the city of Hermosillo,Son.

          It's a great relationship between Asian restaurants and Mexican cooks.

        3. Frommtron RE: JAB Nov 30, 2008 06:06 PM

          You're right. I'd rather see my 86 year old grandmother slaving away in a hot, humid kitchen while an expediter busts her hump to get out of the weeds and caught up on her orders. Because that's romantic. :)

          With that said, if you want that vibe then get yourself to Noodle House. It's more like aunties instead of grandmas but it should be close enough for you. The dumplings are WAY different but are a thing of beauty unto themselves.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Frommtron
            MaryT RE: Frommtron Nov 30, 2008 06:27 PM

            I live up the street from Egg Roll Express in Altadena, a Chinese restaurant with a diverse mostly non-Asian clientele, I know I don't know how to say Americanized Chinese in the most polite way, and some dishes here are simply not what you would expect, their lemon chicken and teriyaki are nothing expected/passable to me, but I will say, some dishes are great, and all the cooks are Chinese men. I think the entire restaurant is Chinese employees, I may be wrong.

            1. re: MaryT
              ipsedixit RE: MaryT Nov 30, 2008 08:00 PM

              You have to be *extra* skilled to make Americanized Chinese food. It is quite a task to masterful skillfully.

              1. re: ipsedixit
                dotrat RE: ipsedixit Dec 3, 2008 08:41 PM


              2. re: MaryT
                woojink RE: MaryT Dec 3, 2008 07:00 AM

                I spend a lot of time in Asia, especially China. Just this year I spent 15 weeks in China across about 7 or 8 trips... I can assure you one thing... Chinese people in China would not consider most of the stuff we call "Chinese Food" to be as such. Of course the truly authentic places like the onese you find in areas like Monterey Park and it surroundings would be an exception to this rule. Most Chinese food in the US is very Americanized... by the way, most American/Western food in China is also "China-ized". That phenomenon is not exclusive to Chinese food in the US. I think all food tends to be colored to please local palates - generally speaking.

            2. PeterL RE: JAB Dec 1, 2008 07:45 AM

              All DTF's that I've been to have open prep areas. Our brothers from south of the border have been in Chinese kitchens in Monterey Park since practically forever. The earliest I can remember was preparing BBQ ducks and pork at Sam Woo some 20 years ago.

              1. Eat_Nopal RE: JAB Dec 1, 2008 09:31 PM

                If it makes you feel any better the mastermind behind La Huasteca is of Chinese heritage.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Eat_Nopal
                  ipsedixit RE: Eat_Nopal Dec 2, 2008 07:16 AM

                  Or that the uber purveyor of that classic Amercian grub -- the hamburger -- at Father's Office is (gasp!) South Korean.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    Joe Blowe RE: ipsedixit Dec 2, 2008 07:43 AM

                    Or that the owners of Pollo a la Brasa are Japanese.

                    Pollo A La Brasa
                    16527 S Vermont Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

                    Pollo A La Brasa Western
                    764 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90005, USA

                2. j
                  justeat RE: JAB Dec 2, 2008 05:36 PM

                  does everyone really think DTF is really that great? I've been there on several occasions and find that aside from the XLB's everything else is just mediocre and lacks good seasoning. On one occasion I sat upstairs, and upon ordering my food came out in less than five minutes, luke warm.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: justeat
                    justagthing RE: justeat Dec 2, 2008 10:59 PM

                    I have tried it and I also found their XLB to be just ok, nothing to really fawn over. I've had others that were much more flavorful...well ok, maybe they use more MSG...lol. Really not sure, but have enjoyed better XLB elsewhere.

                    1. re: justagthing
                      bulavinaka RE: justagthing Dec 3, 2008 04:00 PM

                      Yeah, they're beautiful to look at, but they need to pump up the flavor. I'm unaffected by msg - so far - I'm pretty much a blunt instrument when it comes to most ingredients... :)

                      1. re: justagthing
                        dotrat RE: justagthing Dec 3, 2008 08:41 PM

                        so where is XLB better exactly? i'm a novice...

                        1. re: dotrat
                          ipsedixit RE: dotrat Dec 3, 2008 08:44 PM

                          One person's opinion: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/359048

                          1. re: dotrat
                            justagthing RE: dotrat Dec 3, 2008 09:02 PM

                            if you do a general search, you will find many a thread on this topic. I live Caanan in Cerritos/Artesia, also closer to me. There are many other places in the SGV area.

                        2. re: justeat
                          SmokeyDoke RE: justeat Dec 3, 2008 11:41 PM

                          I think DTF is okay. It's good but the hype is unbelievable. It's really pricey for what it is, and I've had just as good or better dumplings in Rowland Heights.

                          Their dumplings taste exactly like Wonton Forests and I don't have to drive 20 mins and wait in line.
                          I've had better dumplings at Happy Harbor during Dim Sum and Yunnan Garden (in SGV). At Yunnan Garden, if you ask, they chef will let you buy his dumplings by the bag, they're his specialty. I don't know if they're on the menu. They're frozen but they're excellent.

                          Only reason I go to DTF is for their crab dumplings and XLBs. Their crab dumplings are unique, I haven't seen other places that make them. And they're tasty.

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