Din Tai Fung: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011

Xiao long bao, Shanghai-style soup dumplings, are primary objects of desire in the San Gabriel Valley, hermetically sealed orbs filled with minced pork and potentially lethal doses of scalding juice. Sometimes the soup dumplings are enriched with homeopathically tiny doses of fresh crabmeat; usually they are served with slivers of fresh ginger; sometimes they are served with Chinese black vinegar of a quality that will make you curl your lip at the thought of mere Modenese balsamic. Most connoisseurs will point you toward the precision-engineered product of Din Tai Fung, the local branch of a Taipei restaurant renowned for its XLB, and it is true: You could examine a hundred of the thin-walled, elastic dumplings, served 10 at a go in bullet-shaped aluminum steamers, without encountering a single instance of leakage — they're better designed than the Android in your pocket. It surprised no one when Din Tai Fung's solution to overcrowding was to build, around the corner, a second restaurant with an identical menu. 1108 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia. (626) 574-7068, dintai fungusa.com. Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. & 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.-9 p.m. No alcohol. Lot parking. Takeout. MC, V. Chinese. Also at 1088 S. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia.

99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:

Jonathan Gold's Introduction
Anne Fishbein's Photos
The Google Map

The List:

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