Din Tai Fung Dumpling House
Bellevue & Seattle (University Village)
*Photos below by Allan Kissam
Devouring an authentic Chinese styled soup dumpling is a memorable experience. One bite sets off an explosion of rich, steaming, hot soup bursting in your mouth. If you haven’t tried it, you definitely should and I have just the place for you to try it at.
The Seattle area’s Chinese food scene has been expanding from a predominantly Cantonese style found primarily in the International District to more diverse offerings that are particularly strong on the Eastside. Shanghai-style dumplings are amongst the best Chinese food Seattle has to offer. My favorite for quality, authenticity and price is Din Tai Fung Dumpling House. This Taiwanese import (it’s actually a chain) is a great place to explore a diverse menu of dumpling, noodle, and rice dishes.
Located in the University Village and in Bellevue, this is not-to-be-missed “experience.” It is a very popular place. Locals and visitors flock to it. The service is exceptional, the ambiance is casual. The check is more than reasonable. Hey – they even will give you chop-stick “training wheels” for the less dexterous among us. I am serious when I say your best bet for a first time visit is to arrive no later than 15 minutes after the restaurant opens or mid afternoon between 3-4 p.m. Otherwise the lines can be literally around the block. Yup, it is THAT good.
Everything is served family style. Order 4-5 things on your first visit. Be sure to also indulge in their specialty drinks. If you get lost in the rather extensive menu, ask your waiter for help. They know how to guide you to a successful outcome.
Before being seated, take advantage of their open kitchen concept. Watch dozens of chefs crowded into a kitchen, each one speedily turning out an alluring display of dumpling after dumpling. I can’t help myself. I love to stand at the window and take in the chain’s dedication to dumpling-making as an art, not just as a profit center.
Everything on the extensive menu is good, however here are a few of my favorites. Prices are approximate and can change without notice.
Sweet & Sour Spare Ribs ($7.75)
Pork Xiao Long Bao ($10.50 for 10)
Shrimp & Pork Dumplings ($9.50 for 10)
Shrimp and Pork Wonton Soup ($9.00)
Pork Bun ($5.50 for 2)
Vegetarian Fried Rice ($9.00)
Din Tai Fung locations (Seattle Area)
2621 NE 46th St
Open until 10:00 PM
700 Bellevue Way NE #280
Open until 10:00 PM