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din tai fung

18 folds to happiness

If you don’t know what Din Tai Fung is (we like to call it DTF), allow me to be your guide. Din Tai Fung is the pride and joy of Taiwan. A humble noodle and dumplings restaurant in Dongmen that has in recent years grown to be an international powerhouse in the food world, with devoted fans in Japan, Australia, California and more. Din Tai Fung is a classy dining experience, an upscale interpretation of food that traditionally isn’t really fancy (a far cry from banquet foods in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine).

DTF serves up Huaiyang dishes, a classic Chinese culinary tradition that has become adopted and embedded into Taiwanese cuisine over the past couple generations. You come here for the soup dumplings (but if you know what you’re doing, you’re staying for the steamed vegetable and pork dumplings, the starter dish and a pork chop fried rice and the chili oil). But really, the success of DTF comes from its commitment to a high standard of quality. Every soup dumpling has 18 folds. You can watch the whole process unfold (lol) through the window into the kitchen as an efficient assembly line measures out the dough, fillings and expertly and nimbly folds the delicate dough (truly, it’s mesmerizing).

These days, it caters more to tourists, visitors and international markets, but maintains a larger than life presence in Taiwan with long lines, open windows into the kitchen and human-sized XLB figures beckoning in diners. It’s a tourist destination in its own right, and probably one of the most successful exports in the food industry. It’s an easy, inoffensive menu. It’s pretty to look at, easy to explain. Anyone who isn’t gluten-intolerant can get behind a dumpling. And once you’ve had these dumplings, you’ll realize most others outside of Asia are just on a different tier. Sure, you’re paying for the doting service and name (think: designer dumplings), but compared to Western food or Japanese food, it’s a steal (which is messed up in itself, but we’ll save that rant for another day).

xlbs are best enjoyed with young ginger and black vinegar

the original location (post- glow up) by Yong Kang Street in Taipei

the famous appetizer: iykyk

And before you go, here is my definitive ranking of DTF locations in Taipei.

  1. Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Branch 1 Nanxi – this is the one people forget about, or rather, the one that is almost guaranteed to be free of tourists. There’s almost never a wait.
  2. Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A4 – this one is also pretty hidden in plain sight. While the heart of Xinyi district is now anchored more around Taipei 101, this location has slipped under the radar, meaning fewer tourists trickling in, and a short wait if at all.
  3. Sogo Fuxing – this is a popular one, particularly among locals. It can get crowded during peak dining hours but generally isn’t so bad, and is a fairly comfortable dining experience.
  4. Far East A13 – never been to this one but given the newer and (possibly) lesser known location it can’t be any worse than the rest of the list.
  5. Xin Sheng – right across the street from the original location, this newer location was probably built to accommodate the overflow from the OG location below, and therefore probably also extremely crowded.
  6. Dongmen (the OG location) – this used to be (in my lifetime) a tiny, narrow multi-floor restaurant that churned out dumplings in a no-fuss environment. These days it has taken over the whole block and almost always has bus-loads of tourists dumped out in front. Probably the most popular location for Japanese and Korean tourists. Do not recommend visiting. Unless you happen to be on one of those buses, I guess.
  7. Taipei 101 – Ok this one is an actual shit show. Situated in the corner of the food court of Taipei 101, right by the entrance into the mall from the MRT station and right across from a Starbucks Reserve, this place make me want to abort mission asap. It is probably the most international location (you’ll hear dozens of languages just in the waiting area), is probably 90% tourists (10% locals that are with said tourists), and literally is not worth it. If you hate yourself, come here on a rainy day.
  8. Tian Mu – unless you live here, it’s too damn far to consider


Also, while I’m at it, the only LA location that holds up is the one in the Arcadia mall. Glendale is mediocre at best and Century City, well, unless you’re looking to run into colleagues of past and present, would not recommend going there either. Orange County and Bay Area locations are crowded but not overly white-washed and therefore acceptable.

And finally, my go-to order for ~4 people.


  • 1-2x soup dumpling (depending on the market, they come in different amounts so aim for 2-4 per person, depending on how hungry you are)
  • 1x vegetable and pork dumpling
  • 1x sticky rice dumpling
  • 1x vegetable and pork wontons in chili oil
  • 1x pork chop fried rice (pro tip: mix in some of that sauce from the chili oil wontons)
  • 1x xiao cai
  • 1x stir fried rice cake
  • 1x hot and sour soup (spicy)

the details

AddressAll the locations
  • In Taiwan: There are several locations throughout Taipei, predominantly in department stores. There are also locations in Hsinchu, Taichung and Kaohsiung.
  • In the US: They have locations all over Southern California (LA down to SD) as well as one up in Santa Clara. There are also locations in Washington (Seattle, Bellevue), Oregon (Tigard) and Nevada (Las Vegas).
  • The rest of the world: there are more locations in China and Japan than anywhere else (seriously an insane amount), and also have locations in Singapore, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, Philippines, Australia, UAE and the UK.



Hoursvaries by location but generally open around 10:30-11:30am and close around 8-10pm
Price$ – In Taiwan, the price point is a notch or two higher than many are willing to pay (considering the options), but compared to the prices for the same dishes in the U.S., it’s significantly cheaper. You can expect to pay ~200-300 NT ($7-10) per person in Taiwan while in the U.S., it’d be closer to $15-20 per person for the same order.
Aestheticclean, minimal, warm – some fancier than others (ahem, Century City, I’m look at you)

good to know

Go here for: world famous soup dumplings (and just a reliably delicious meal that feels comfortable with great service that won’t break the bank)

Order this: see above for my typical order

Amount of time to spend: 1-2 hours, depending on the wait 

When to come: right when they open is the best bet, otherwise if there is some kind of remote waitlist, get in line about 45 min before you get there. 

Getting here (Taipei): most are located really close to an MRT station, many of which you don’t even have to go outside from the subway, ie: for Sogo Fuxing branch, take exit 2 of Zhongxiao Fuxing (blue, brown) to be connected into their food court; all of the Xinyi district locations can be accessed through sky bridges that connect all of the department store buildings. 

Parking (LA locations): they are all in large malls (RIP original Arcadia strip mall location) which means there is also ample parking in lots and structures. Note that the Century City Mall is trash and doesn’t have validated parking. 

Other things to note: 

  • Different locations may offer reservations or remote waitlists so you don’t have to depend on the walk in wait times (which can sometimes be insanely long). Check online to make sure. 
  • The locations in Taiwan also sell various DTF memorabilia (yes, including their signature chopsticks, dumpling character keychains and for some bizarre reason, DTF branded toothpicks). But the only thing you should really consider buying is their chili oil. 

Last visited: August 2020

Last updated: October 2020

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