Kirbie's Cravings

Din Tai Fung Costa Mesa

Din Tai Fung recently opened a new branch inside the high-end shopping mall South Coast Plaza, located in Costa Mesa.

I was initially concerned about how this new one would be because I wasn’t a fan of the Glendale one, also located in a high-end shopping plaza and catering to a more American audience. But after hearing some good reviews for this one, we stopped in to check it out.

Like the Glendale location, this one has a full bar and also makes boba tea drinks.

During the opening week, customers were reporting wait times up to 3-4 hours. We went on Saturday evening, and I was surprised when they estimated only a 1 hour wait. You give them your phone number and the computer system is set up to text you a few minutes before your table is almost ready, so you don’t have to stand around and wait. We took the time to go shopping at Uniqlo, a popular clothing store from Japan selling trendy clothes at accessible prices,  which was situated right below Din Tai Fung.

Truffle Dumplings

Like the Glendale one, the Costa Mesa one also offers the truffle dumpling. We really love the flavor of this dumpling. The meat filling is mixed with a piece of truffle, so that as it cooks, the truffle flavors drips into the filling, making this a very flavorful and aromatic bite. It’s not cheap, but it’s a nice little treat.

Pork Xiao Long Bao

The pork xlb is the dish that made Din Tai Fung so famous. Each dumpling is weighed and has exactly 18 pleats, for quality control. The dumplings have a ground pork and soup filling. It’s quite flavorful and what is really impressive about DTF is their wrappers. If you’ve eaten XLB elsewhere, the wrappers are often broken or are extremely thick. DTF ones always arrive intact and despite being extremely thin, they actually have quite a bit of elasticity so they don’t break easily.

How to eat XLB: There were some people sitting near us that weren’t familiar with the technique on how to eat these dumplings, so I thought I’d explain. When you order the dumplings, you’ll be given a plate with fresh ginger. On the table should be black vinegar. You add this to your plate of ginger and mix it a little so the ginger is incorporated in the vinegar. Then, you dip the steaming hot dumpling in the vinegar ginger mixture before putting it in your mouth. The sauce helps cool the dumpling so that you don’t burn your mouth. It also adds an extra flavor dimension to the dumplings.

One issue with our XLB on this visit was that the second order actually got a little cold. Their method is always to only open one, and keep the others covered, so that they don’t ever get cold. Perhaps because they were using wooden steamers instead of the metal ones, the second order were lukewarm by the time we got to them, even though they were covered. This is actually the first time we’ve ever had this problem at a DTF.

Pork Chop Fried Rice

We also got the pork chop with brown fried rice. This is also one of our favorites. The rice is pretty simplistic, but it has a wonderful savoriness to it that makes it particularly addicting. The fried pork chop is also well-seasoned and not too fatty.

Overall, we were pretty pleased with our visit here. They had some issues they were still working out, but I’m happy there is a location closer to San Diego and I imagine I’ll frequent this one more in the future.


Din Tai Fung (inside South Coast Plaza)
3333 Bristol St
Space 2071 Upper Level By Sears
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

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14 comments on “Din Tai Fung Costa Mesa”

  1. I need to revisit DTF since on our crawl we only tried a few of their items. The truffle dumplings sound like heaven to me! 

    • I always end up with the same few items. hehe. I’ve tried some other stuff but so far the other things I’ve tried I haven’t liked as much.

  2. Are they in the main building of the mall, or one of the smaller ones?

  3. I’ve been waiting for this one to open (I wish they’d come to SD!) for ages and I wondered if the quality would keep up. You’re the second person who commented on some lukewarm XLB, though… I’m trying to figure out how important that is to me!

    • after eating the piping hot ones, the lukewarm ones are not as enjoyable. it’s still better than anything we have in sd though. =)

  4. I was hoping you’d do a post on this DTF! Our first round of XLB was lukewarm, but the second round of XLB was piping hot. My guess is that it’s luck of the draw when the waiters get your order from the kitchen. We went about a week after they opened on a Sunday morning; it took about 1 hour to get our name on the list, then about 45 minutes for the table. I’m glad to have DTF in Costa Mesa, too.

    • Hmm, maybe my second one was already cold then when it arrived. That is a bit frustrating. I hope they work it out because we never had issues like that when eating at the Taiwan one or the dozen or so times we’ve eaten at the Arcadia ones. DTF in CM is much much closer. plus, it’s excuse to go shopping! haha

  5. Oooh, the truffle XLB! Not every Din Tai Fung location has them, so you are lucky! (I first tried them in Taiwan) I am jealous that you have a few restaurants nearby!

    • yes I realize how lucky I am! the original two in LA/Arcadia didn’t have it. When they brought in the Glendale one, that was the first to have it. and now this newest one has it too. =) Hopefully your SIL goes!

  6. Surprised to see no prices on the menu

    • The prices are on the actual ordering sheet but not on the pretty picture glossy menu. I think I have the order sheet somewhere. If i find the photos, I’ll add them to the post!

  7. I love Din Tai Fung and I wasn’t disappointed when I tried out this location! If you haven’t yet, try their boba too. I had a lychee slush one and they use real fruits so it’s not headache sweet:) My family and I were also expecting like a 2+ hour wait but they ended up calling us in about 40 min! I guess it’s all about timing.

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