Din Tai Fung
1088 S Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 921007
Boyfriend really loved the pork soup dumplings (aka Xiao Long Bao) when I took him to Din Tai Fung previously. So he was totally up for another trip for these these juicy XLB. To mix things up, we decided to dine at the newer location. Din Tai Fung technically has two locations, though they are in the same place and share the same kitchen. They are connected like an "L" shape. The newer location actually has its own parking lot, but there's no other stores or anything else that shares the parking lot.
The newer restaurant is supposed to look more formal. The setting does seem to be a bit more formal, with the nice booths, different decor on the walls, and even the staff is dressed in red uniforms. The older location is a very simple setting. Simple wooden tables, simple chairs, very crowded. You are practically sitting at the same table as the group next to you. I thought I would enjoy the new location setting more, but I didn't. The restaurant has a long narrow space. So it's kind of like dining in a hallway. Our table was literally in front of the cashier, and the rest of the restaurant was blocked from our view by the wall divider. I much prefer the view of tons of tables with the staff flitting efficiently around.
I also noticed that the formal side seemed to attract a different crowd. Whereas on my visit to the older restaurant, the crowd had been predominantly chinese, with the staff speaking to us in chinese automatically, there were a lot of non-chinese on the new restaurant side, and the staff spoke to us in English.
The food, of course, is the same. We stuck with the pork dumplings.
They were served steaming hot and each morsel was as perfect as our first visit. We also ordered the pork chop fried rice again. I forgot to take a picture of it before devouring it. Here's a picture from our previous visit.
After my first visit, I got some recommendations to try the red bean dumplings, so I ordered those. They were tasty. I was surprised at how well the dumpling skin complimented the red bean filling.
Last time we ordered a few boxes of dumplings and fried rice to go. They actually held up pretty well and still tasted great after being reheated. So this time, we ordered some more to go, allowing me to also photograph them.