Din Tai Fung — I could always count on getting a great meal there.
We did not go often because it was quite expensive to get full.
I went to Din Tai Fung for 5 specific items on their menu that I craved:
1) organic chicken soup
2) spicy vegetables and pork wonton
3) noodle with sesame sauce
4) pork soup dumplings
5) sweet and sour spare ribs
The cold cucumbers and taro dumplings were also exceptional.
The organic chicken soup was the most pure concentrated chicken soup one could ever had.
It was simply stewed with chicken pieces, ginger and green onion.
Delicate, intense and rich chicken flavor, one could taste its fat and last ounce of juice; and at the same time, simple, clear and unassuming — I just loved it.
The very first time I had the chicken soup in Taiwan Din Tai Fung, I drank 3 or 4 bowls of it.
I only stopped because I realized the bill was stacking up with one single item quickly; certainly not because I did not want more!
The vegetables and pork wonton with spicy sauce was my next favorite.
The wonton wrapping was decent with nice, soft yet crunchy fillings from the tender pork and fresh vegetables.
The star was the spicy sauce — it was garlicky and addictive.
The hot sauce was so good that they actually sold the hot sauce by the bottle as well.
The sesame noodle’s sauce was smooth, delicious and with hint of roasted peanuts; the noodle was tender and cooked just right.
I loved mixing the spicy sauce from the wonton to zest up the sesame noodle.
Of course, the meal was not complete without having their famous soup dumplings.
Granted, the Din Tai Fung in Bellevue was not Taiwan Din Tai Fung, it did serve the best soup dumpling in our area.
Thin and elastic wrapping, the small dumpling packed a great amount of soup which more often than not, burnt my palate and my tongue because I just could not resist the piping fresh, off the steamer dumplings.
The pork filling was always juicy and well-flavored with ginger.
I love the black vinegar ginger dipping sauce for the dumplings as the tartness of the vinegar accentuated the delicate soup of the dumplings.
I usually skipped the soy sauce as I felt that the dumplings were perfectly salted and the soy sauce would mask their excellent flavors.
I was obsessed with the cold sweet and sour spare ribs.
The bite-size spare ribs were coated with the fantastic sauce that was exactly tangy enough and sweet enough to be coveted at maximum.
I would be very happy to eat a whole bowl of rice just with the rib sauce!
Finally for dessert — taro dumpling.
We usually get one steamer with 2 flavors: taro and red bean, since DH liked red bean.
Personally I found the quiet and subtle taro flavor soothing and delicious; the occasional small chunks of taro gave a bite and a surprise to the filling which was thoroughly enjoyable.
We had taken to go to Din Tai Fung at odd times to avoid waiting in line; sitting at the bar was also a great option for us.