Din Tai Fung's quality
Wondering if anyone that has been to the Seattle Din Tai Fung has also been to an overseas location and can compare the quality? I am specifically interested in the texture of the dumpling skins, as well as taste of the fillings in the vegetarian steamed dumplings, regular juicy pork XLB, and sweet taro dumplings.
Love steamed dumplings, and the Taipei & Shanghai DTFs are my favorite dumplings ever, but years ago I went to the Los Angeles DTF and found their quality to be inferior. Heading to Seattle for first time and would definitely go by DTF if their dumplings are the same, but don't want to "waste" a meal there if the craftsmanship isn't at the same level.
re: babette feasts
There is a public bus (550) that goes from DT Seattle to Bellevue pretty much all day, every day. If you need an excuse to hit a shiny mall and get your fix of sterilized suburbia, a trip to DTF might be worth rolling in.
Otherwise, per the first poster, you can get better for less, pretty much in any city with a cluster of major research universities.
I've been to the one in LA, the original Xinyi flagship in Taiwan, as well as the Michelin-starred one in Hong Kong.
The stateside ones really do not compare favorably to the ones in Asia - though the Bellevue one has improved significantly since its opening troubles and certainly stacks up quite well against offerings in Vancouver. Overall, the Bellevue location's quality is about on par with the LA location, so you may consider it to be a "waste" of a meal. But if you eat Chinese/Asian in the Seattle area, you could do a lot worse very easily.
But even in Taiwan, one could find XLB of equal or greater value within a stone's throw from DTF for significantly less money. Except you lose the uniformed waitresses bowing at you in unison.
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Have been to locations in Singapore, China, Taiwan (including the original shop), both stores in Arcadia, all multiple times, and the Bellevue location is definitely not "inferior" to the others.
We live right across the street from the Bellevue location and go there about once a month. I'm always impressed w/ the efficiency of their operations and consistency of their food. In my opinion, any differences would be negligible.
If you think the Arcadia locations are inferior to those in Taipei and Shanghai, I'd probably skip the Bellevue location as it sounds like you'll probably be disappointed as well.
Factor in the flight time and ticket price, I'll choose the Bellevue location anyday.
Regardless, enjoy your first visit to Seattle!
Rather than start a new thread, I'm just going to give this a bump. I'll start by saying this was my first visit to ANY DTF and I thought the food was amazing! I eat XLB every chance I get and even made it once, but these were like a nother whole 'animal.' They sagged under the weight of the filling but didn't tear. They were SO hot when they first came out that we both had to eat other things for just a few minutes to let them cool down some. We got the 'regular' pork cause that's what we like. I loved the size cause they really are just one good-size bite. The filling was lovely and the broth the best I've ever had. We also a some vegetable and pork dumpling with a spicy sauce and a seaweed and bean curd with vinegar salad. We honestly thought every dish was equally good. No - GREAT :) With a large Tsgintao the cost was $31 before tax and tip.
And since they're opening a location in Seattle, we'll be regulars there when we return a couple of times a year.
ETA: you can see from the second photo how thin the wrapper was.
I've been to each one of the DTF's. The one up here definitely lags behind the others in quality control and also the most important factor - the heat by which the dumplings are at when they reach the table.
That said, they're still absolutely delicious, and I frequent there regularly.