Din Tai Fung, Valley Fair

Opening date is now spring 2016. Previously the opening date was to be winter 2015. Maybe they are trying to beat Koi Palace Milpitas’ record of delayed opening.

Nice. It will nice to see how Din Tai Fung works out. It may be a success or it may not work out.

Good news for Xiao Long Baos lovers. I’m a bit surprised that they don’t have restaurants in New York yet.

Anyone has tried Din Tai Fung in Chinese regions and those outside, do they have any difference in menu?

I hope they can withstand the hype and the built up demand. I’ve only been to one in Shanghai, and it was a memorable experience. My cousins love the one in Seattle, and I’ll try it in a few weeks. I keep meaning to, but it never seems to work out.

We remember that the menu at DTF in a Singapore Orchard Road mall differed from the original at Xinyi Road – side dishes and dessert offerings appealing to an upscale [?] market.

I have a hard time believing it won’t be a runaway success… Lots of pent-up demand for XLB in the bay area and frankly, the pickings here are pretty mediocre imo.

A lot of people are getting away with almost-dry fillings.

On a related dumpling note, the Momos at Himyalian Kitchen in MV were a pretty big hit at our house. Lots and lots of dumplings for a reasonable price, more in a thick skin northern classic “potsticker” format. They seemed just OK during the meal ( and under seasoned ), but, cold, the next day, you could really taste the indian-style filling spices. Yum.

The XLB closest to our house, that we like, are Steam in PA. There’s stuff in San Mateo and Sunnyvale I like better.

Off-topic, but I was just in Kyoto, and there was a small Din Tai Fung kiosk in the food basement of the Takeshimaya Department Store at Kawaramachi. I passed. (Though I did go to the Fauchon’s kiosk.)

I see. The two reasons I mentioned that are:

  1. Ding Tai Fung wasn’t too successful in many locations in mainland China, but that may be because there are enough competition in China.
  2. We have a lot of demand and hype for the Bonchu Korean fried chicken in Philadelphia. We finally got one and it is a disappointment for many. It was very busy from morning to night in the first month. Now, it is very quiet during lunch time.

Din Tai Fung is Taiwanese. I wonder if there is a certain anti Taiwanese resistance in China.

Has Din Tai Fung been not successful in Mainland PRC? The Shanghai spots seem to be doing well – but I can see that the price point will be a problem and a foreign population helps. I know our local staff considers it one of the best (and yes, they are somewhat taken aback by saying this, as it is a regional specialty and a Taiwanese chain does it so well).

I would say it is not successful, but what I heard is that originally they opened many Ding Ting Fung, but only a few made it.

The regional mall branches of DTF are a license to print money. The wait time a couple of Saturdays ago at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa was 3 1/2 hours! The only way I was able to eat there with only a half hour wait was to show up at 3pm on a Monday afternoon. Meanwhile the typical wait at the Americana in Glendale is about an hour, quite remarkable because there is no Chinese population anywhere in the vicinity. However at least some people are driving to Glendale from the San Gabriel Valley because it’s still faster than waiting at the Arcadia locations.

We’ve eaten lunch at the two in the Seattle area with no wait and just got there maybe 15 minutes before opening. I thought they were the best I’d ever had.

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Hmm… it seems there are 26 restaurants in Mainland China, and 8 in Shanghai alone. Did they open a bunch more? I knew they had a lot of branches, but wow —

I recall I did check once at the Bellevue restaurant and the wait was like an hour. So, not nearly as bad as the So Cal experience. This was at 2pm. I’ve heard the wait can be longer, so maybe I’ll try at the opening time.

I had a typo earlier. I don’t mean Ding Tai Fung is NOT successful in China, but rather… they are not nearly as successful as planned. On paper, they closed down 9 stores due to violation, but I wonder if they were closed down due to violation, or because some other reasons.


By the way, can we split the SF downtown out of SF Bay Area board? In fact, we should have a separate board for Lincoln Park.

With that kind of wait, and people shopping while waiting, Valley Fair should be paying DTF rent for opening up shop there.

But seriously, I found it hard to believe that there are not other good XLB places around that justify that kind of wait. And even if they are heavenly, 3.5 hours seem to be extremely excessive.

Well there aren’t a lot of Chinese options in the immediate area. And South Coast Plaza is awash in Chinese tourists who aren’t going to hop in the car for the 15 minute drive to Irvine. Also the mall Din Tai Fungs are more than just XLB. I never considered the freestanding Arcadia locations to be especially pricey. But to eat at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa or the Americana in Glendale, you’re going to spend $30 per person or more.

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Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, Yunnan
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