Anyone who’s tried to get a taste of those amazing soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung‘s Arcadia, Calif., location knows good things come to those who wait … and wait. But now with the famed award-winning Taiwanese restaurant open at The Americana at Brand in Glendale, Calif., you may be slurping your way to goodness in no time at all.
Din Tai Fung owners Frank and Joanne Yang, along with Rick Caruso of Caruso Affiliated, the company behind The Americana at Brand, appeared at the ribbon cutting for the restaurant’s newest location this morning. Inside the 6,800-square-foot restaurant, with its floor-to-ceiling glass and wood screen decor (an homage to the original design of the restaurant’s Xinyi location in Taiwan, which opened in 1967), Caruso talked about how he pursued the Yangs to convince them to open a Din Tai Fung at The Americana after trying their soup dumplings. “Most people west of Arcadia don’t know about Din Tai Fung,” he said.
In the signature glass kitchen, half a dozen cooks were already busy rolling, pulling, flattening and wrapping juicy soup dumplings with perfect efficiency. Meanwhile, the petite, ever-smiling Joanne Yang was running around like a mother hen, making sure everything was running smoothly, greeting guests and thanking them for coming. One could hardly guess that Din Tai Fung now has more than 80 branches around the world and is arguably the most successful Taiwanese restaurant chain ever. In fact, quality control seemed to be the buzzword at the opening, with several reporters attesting to the consistency of the flavors at the various Din Tai Fung restaurants in Arcadia, Shanghai, Taiwan and Seoul.
In addition to the usual goodies that have earned Din Tai Fung their Michelin Star in 2010 — Pork dumplings, Veggie and Shrimp and Pork Shao Mai, Noodle with Minced Pork Sauce, Shanghai Rice Cake with Chicken and Shrimp, and Pork Wonton in Spicy Sauce (ranging from $7 to $12) — The Americana location boasts an exclusive item, the Truffle Dumpling, traditionally reserved for VIPs in Taiwan, as well as a full bar of traditional and specialty cocktails. Add to that boba drinks, slushies and their paper-thin red bean dumpling for dessert, and you’ve got the makings for a pretty good night out.