An affordable Michelin star rated restaurant that’s local and affordable(Yay), located inside The South Coast Plaza Mall. Din Tai Fung is a chain famed restaurant known for its soup dumplings. Yes I said it, soup inside of a dumpling that’s absolutely delicious. If you shop at South Coast Plaza, then you’ve most definitely seen their infamous lines or people loitering around to dine. They offer all sorts of appetizers, freshly made dumplings, noodles, soups, and rice dishes. Make sure to line up and have them place your number on a list, from there they will immediately send you a text and you respond, then from there once your table is almost ready they will send you another text in which you return to the restaurant to a separate host across from the bar. At that point you wait once again to be seated from your host to your table. They get extremely busy here so make sure to go on the weekdays. Best times I’ve seen have been between 2:00-5:30pm. You can shop around just make sure you have reception as they will be sending you a text message. As you walk inside of the restaurant they have an open window where you’re able to see the dumpling masters pleat the dumplings together perfectly. My personal favorite dishes and go to always are the seaweed salad, shrimp & pork dumpling in spicy sauce, pork soup dumplings, and their rice cakes with pork. Anything they offer in their spicy sauce is a must order, in the terms of crack sauce I kid you not. Don’t be alarmed as the sauce is not spicy at all, rather more sweet & savory. I would steer away from the truffle dumpling as to me it’s not worth it, go for the pork, better flavor, cheaper, and not gimmicky. They offer little dipping bowls with freshly sliced ginger, make sure to add vinegar & soy, with it being a 3:1 ratio of vinegar to soy, if you like a little more flavor add their chili oil, it’s more of an aroma than it is spice so don’t be frightened.
Juicy Pork Soup Dumpling – 10 little dumpling pouches filled with a savory hot soup, and pork in their special seasoning. I would advise this to be eaten placed on a spoon, take a little bit at the top to let the steam out and wait at least a minute before dunking this into your vinegar/soy/ginger sauce. I made the mistake my first time of just eating it and boy my mouth was literally burned, not my brightest moment. But make sure to add a little ginger to your spoon as this compliments the dumpling very well. I eat probably 2 trays of this myself, no judgement please. Shrimp & Pork Wontons in Spicy Sauce is a definite must order, once again this is their crack sauce, sweet, savory, with green onions, and the aroma of the chili oil, just a perfect pair. The wontons are poached and then placed inside the sauce, topped with green onions. Juicy dumplings with the right amount of pork and shrimp that go very well together. This is without a doubt my favorite dish here. Because I love the spicy sauce I also order the noodles in spicy sauce as well. The noodles are cooked al dente, and coated in the sauce. Pork Chop with Fried Rice, this is a very simple dish, the rice is stir fried with egg, onions, and green onions in a very light soy sauce, then topped with juicy pieces of pork chops. A simple yet delicious dish, perfect to eat over your dumplings with because all of your leftover juices fall right into the rice giving it more flavor. Shanghai rice cakes with pork, I personally love the texture of this, it’s chewy with a nice soy glaze to it. Cooked with cabbage, spinach, and your choice of protein which I’m a pork girl so that’s easy, but they give the option of chicken, shrimp, and vegetarian as well. They didn’t have their cold seaweed salad available as they had run out but trust me, this is refreshing, simple, but great. If you have a sweets tooth I would suggest going for their steamed minis buns, not the dumpling desserts. The Buns are offered in taro, red bean, and black sesame. The flavors in order are from lightest to the most depth. They also offer vegetarian options for dumplings and other dishes so don’t steer away. Service is always great, and the food is consistently great as always. Let me know what you think, I hope you all enjoy!
Restaurant – Din Tai Fung
Location – South Coast Plaza
Address – 3333 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 – Located upstairs by Sears & Starbucks
Contact – 714.549.3388
Cuisine – Taiwanese