I am a huge fan of Chinese soup dumplings, otherwise known as Xiao Long Bao (XLB). The one place that has been the most consistent is Din Tai Fung (DTF). Although, XLB is traditionally from Shanghai, DTF has perfected the modern XLB. DTF started in Taiwan and has multiple locations around the world. I have been to DTFs in Los Angeles, San Jose, Seattle, and Singapore. All locations delivered the same deliciously perfect product.
The star of the show is the classic pork XLB. XLBs consists of minced pork with broth wrapped in a thin layer of dough and steamed. DTF’s website says their “signature rendition consists of juicy meat filling wrapped in a melt-in-your-mouth skin with a minimum of 18 exquisite folds.” Their XLB skin is perfection. Every XLB will make it to your mouth with the soup intact. The skin is so thin and consistent throughout but will not break. I have been to a number of other XLB restaurants where the XLB will come to your table with no soup because they were punctured during the steam process or you will pierce it as soon as you try to pick it up with your chopsticks.
To eat XLB, you bite a small hole in it and drink the soup first. Then dip it in a mixture of black vinegar and ginger and enjoy the meat and dough with the tartness of the vinegar and the spice of the ginger.
There are plenty of other great things on the menu like rice cakes, wontons, fried rice, and sauteed vegetables. But you don’t go to DTF and not get the XLB. That is why I’m adding it to my Ultimate Menu.
After adding Din Tai Fung’s XLB, here is where the Ultimate Menu stands:
Pork Xiao Long Bao – Din Tai Fung