Din Tai Fung Was a Special Treat in Seattle

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One of the highlights of my recent trip to Seattle was dinner at the famous Din Tai Fung dumpling restaurant. I have had dinner at this world famous restaurant in Shanghai and was delighted to learn that they were also in Seattle.  With its signature xiao long bao (soup dumplings) Din Tai Fung is ranked as one of the world’s Top 10 Best Restaurants by The New York Times.  The Shanghai Soup Dumplings are wonderful.  There are 10 of these tiny dumplings in each order and they come in the traditional bamboo steamers.  We ordered several steamers and they went fast.  They are not the cheapest dumplings around but the experience is well worth the money.

Everything about Din Tai Fung is unique, which is probably why this Taiwanese-based dumpling chain is so highly praised. You cannot make a reservation but they have set up a phone-based text message notification system that makes getting in easier.  While you are waiting you can watch the showmanship of Din Tai Fung’s chefs within the open concept kitchen.  Creating these miniature dumplings is not easy but these chefs, wearing their Din Tai Fung uniforms, make them with obvious precision and skill.  It is fun to watch. I really like the way the Din Tai Fung restaurants are decorated.  It is a very modern setting decked out in earthy tones and illuminated by lighting that creates a truly enjoyable dining experience.

Photo by Sarah Ackerman – http://tinyurl.com/h9g4g67

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Richmond BC versus Flushing NY

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Last week I had my first opportunity to visit Richmond BC located on Canada’s West Coast. I was anxious to compare this famous Chinese community to that of Flushing New York, which I visit frequently.  Richmond is 20 minutes from Downtown Vancouver, and 25 minutes from the US border. As I drove into Richmond the differences between Flushing and Richmond were immediately apparent.  Both cities have a huge Chinese population, which is obvious from the Chinese characters on many buildings and businesses.  Upon entering both cities you sort of feel like you are in China.  The difference, however, is Flushing is a walking city and Richmond is not.  Where you can walk most places in Flushing in minutes, Richmond is quite spread out and most people drive from one place to another.

Richmond’s downtown and waterfront areas are quite beautiful. There is even a new monorail, Canada Line rapid transit system, which reminded me of the modern monorail in Shanghai.  One of the highlights of my trip to Richmond was my visit to Aberdeen Center.  This is a modern mall that reminded me of some of the great malls in Shanghai and Beijing.  Most of the staff in the stores in these malls spoke Chinese and much of the merchandise catered to the Asian consumer.  There are also several interesting malls in Flushing but they are much smaller.  We had lunch at Dinesty Dumpling House within Aberdeen Center, which was a real treat.  I especially liked their Xiaolongbao soup dumplings with minced pork.  They were at least as good as those in my favorite restaurant Nan Xiang Dumpling House in Flushing.

Photo by Robert Ashworth – http://tinyurl.com/zm7qst9 

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