From the very first time you step into a Din Tai Fung restaurant, you usually witness a long line of customers waiting for their opportunity to feast, Din Tai Fung is after all one of the top 10 restaurants in the world according to the New York Times. The typical wait time is at least 30 minutes, but for many Taiwanese in the United States, Din Tai Fung has become a go-to place for those yearning for a taste of home, and it has also been curing homesickness us who crave a classic "taste of Taiwan".
Since Din Tai Fung opened their first international branch in Shinjuku, Japan in 1996, the brand has established and expanded its presence into many countries including Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, and even here in the United States. Today, you can taste the delicious xiaolongbao (小籠包), a kind of "soup dumpling", in Seattle and Southern California.
Din Tai Fung was founded by Bing Yi Yang in 1958 as a cooking oil retail business in Taipei, Taiwan. However, in the 1980’s most people switched to pre-packaged cooking oil, so the founder and his family decided to try selling steamed dumplings. The dumplings proved so popular they stopped selling oil.
In our recent interview with Jihua Yang, the current president, and son of the founder of Din Tai Fung, proclaimed, “I hope Din Tai Fung is a symbol of delicious cuisine!”
Details, quality, and brand, are the three elements that Din Tai Fung has instilled into its food since the very beginning. From the Din Tai Fung cooking oil retail business to the international brand it has become today, their success has mainly been attributed through word of mouth.
When you open the menu during your first experience, you’ll see Din Tai Fung’s signature xiaolongbao. Alongside are many traditional Taiwanese dishes such as noodles with minced pork sauce, spicy shrimp and pork wonton, braised beef noodle soup, braised beef soup, and shrimp fried rice. Through the large glass window, customers are able to see the "dough-masters" in action, busy wrapping the thousands of xiaolongbao served each day.
When asked about the how consistency in taste was maintained across all the different Din Tai Fung restaurants worldwide, Yang replied, "the Taiwan headquarters is responsible for administering the training." In addition, Din Tai Fung strives to break through any communication barriers by focusing their recruitment process on hiring hardworking employees and especially those who speak multiple languages.
Din Tai Fung is now a proud member of the Michelin-starred restaurants, with its Hong Kong location earning a star. Yang's hope is to drive their global growth by continuing to open new branches. He is also positive towards the future of Taiwanese cuisines in general, bringing the delicious cuisine to foreign countries. “If we keep up our quality, there will be a lot of opportunities, because Taiwanese cuisine is generally delicious,” Yang remarked smiling.