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If we named Din Tai Fung as the most popular soup-dumpling house in California, we are certain no one would disagree. With super thin skin, heavenly broth and juicy meat with 18 folded edges on each soup dumpling, Din Tai Fung’s XLB’s are certainly the cream of the crop!
Din Tai Fung, the acclaimed Taiwanese restaurant, reveals the secret behind their success and their expectations which propelled the restaurant to the top. We had a chance to speak with Mr. Frank Yang, the brain child behind Din Tai Fung’s US operations.
In the U.S, Din Tai Fung branches are managed by Mr. Frank Yang, brother of Mr. Warren Yang, owner of Din Tai Fung in Taiwan, where Din Tai Fung was originally founded. Being involved in the family business was never in his life’s plan, “My dad sent me to New York to study design and suggested not to run restaurants.” Frank says.
So what was the motivation behind getting involved? Turns out others wanted to mimic Din Tai Fung’s success and it was only a matter of time before someone borrowed the name. “There was a fake Din Tai Fung brand in the U.S. and it wasn’t doing very well so I decided to bring the original authentic taste to America.”
The first branch opened in Arcadia in 2000 and that’s how the XLB, authentic soup dumplings were brought to the United States.
In order to ensure the high quality of each soup dumpling, each chef follows a golden rule. A precise ratio of skin to stuffing which allows Din Tai Fung to produce the perfect XLB.
“5g of the dumpling skin, 16g of juicy pork stuffing and 18 folding edges,” Frank said, “The measurements of our golden rule were developed by the chefs at our Japan branch.”
“Consistency is always key at Din Tai Fung,” he added.
We wanted our shot to learn the secrets of making the perfect soup dumplings. So we asked Frank, how can we become a soup dumpling chef at Din Tai Fung?
“It takes around 3-6 months for a chef to learn how to make soup dumplings. For some, it takes longer to master the skill of making 8 dumplings per minute,” he explained.
I guess the path to being a chef in the Din Tai Fung kitchen is not for us. However, we are more than happy being loyal customers.
So how many soup dumplings are sold per day in the U.S.?
“Around 20,000 – 30,000 soup dumplings are sold every day and we make sure the taste is consistent.”
Managing a renowned restaurant is a tough task and Frank is glad to have his sons assisting him.
“Nowadays, my sons (Aaron & Albert) share the daily work and handle operations. We still have family meetings every day and visit each store every week.” Aaron & Albert both studied Hospitality Management at Cornell University and carry on the legacy of Din Tai Fung.
The family bonds of Din Tai Fung is another element that contributes to Din Tai Fung’s success as the best Dumpling House.
Despite having such a busy schedule tasting soup dumplings, what’s a restaurant you really like in Los Angeles?
“Sushi Gen in Downtown Los Angeles is my go-to sushi place.”
All soup dumplings fans are eager to know, what’s the next step for Din Tai Fung?
“We are continuing to add on additional Din Tai Fung locations including Century City and San Diego location in 2018. We want to thank everyone’s support for the past 17 years. Thanks for giving us a chance to serve you and growing with us. We hope everyone enjoy our XLBs, the tastiest soup dumplings for many years to come.”
P.S. My favorites at Din Tai Fung are not only the Xiao Long Baos but also (Frank's favorite) Beef Noodles!
@HangryDiary are the sister-sister pairing of Jocelyn and Justine. Their passion for exploring new restaurants inspired them to become food bloggers after graduating from USC and UCLA, respectively. They were raised in Hong Kong but moved to Los Angeles to study. You can often find them eating at the hottest restaurants in town and taking an obscene amount of time to shoot that perfect angle.