Category Archives: xiaolongbao

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 – Seattle

I haven’t been down to Bellevue since Din Tai Fung opened a few years ago.  As a die-hard DTF fan,  this is totally unacceptable so I finally made the 3 hr trip down to Bellevue!

I encountered a bit of a culture-shock at this American outlet.  Instead of the minimalist decor of the Asian branches, this branch has a bar, with ESPN showing on the plasma tvs.  The servers wore black outfits (mini skirts too!) instead of the traditional Chinese outfits in white.  Not being racist but just observant, the majority of the servers and chefs (who wrap the xiaolongbao) are Hispanic.  When I was ordering, I started saying xiaolongbao.. but then realized that my waiter didn’t understand Mandarin and had to think for a split second what xiaolongbao is in English!

IMG_7690we ordered the normal xiaolongbao and the crab roe one

Compared to the xiaolongbao in Asia, the ones here had the same thin dumpling skin, same amount of soup but the meat didn’t taste as good.  Also, for some reason, my chopsticks kept on sticking to the dumpling skin.

IMG_7695as you can see.. the crab roe xiao long bao was extremely dry and only a dash of roe…

IMG_7694The pork chop noodles were disappointing… the pork chop wasn’t  fried to golden perfection and it wasn’t served separately…

IMG_7699the fried rice tasted like in Asia!

IMG_7698the dan dan noodles tasted like in Asia!

IMG_7702I’ve never seen sesame dumplings on the menu at DTF, only sesame bun.  There was a lot of sesame filling, but unfortunately, this was tooooooooo sweet and the dumpling skin was dried up.

The quality of this DTF branch isn’t up to par to the Asian branches but when compared to other Shanghainese restaurants I’ve tried in America, DTF Bellevue is probably the best.  Pricewise, it’s the same as in Asia.

FAIM? oui oui??

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐

700 Bellevue Way Northeast  Bellevue, WA 98004, United States
+1 425-698-1095


Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 – Shanghai

As usual, Mom had to have her Din Tai Fung fix in Shanghai.  We waited for a 5 person table for over half an hour….. I brought it up and they were nice enough to give us a 10 person table in a private room (provided that we finish eating in an hour)!

drunken chicken.. the best marinated drunken chicken.. so rich and flavourful!


smoked fish… very flavourful and sweet..but not too dry!

crab roe xiaolongbao… not as good as Jia Jia’s pure crab meat & roe dumpling!  We also ordered the regular meat xiaolongbao..

plain egg fried rice….

pork and vegetable bun

mini sesame buns


Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐

2F, Unit 11A, South Block, Xintiandi Mall

Jia Jia Tang Bao 佳家汤包 – Shanghai

I purposely withheld myself from eating crazy at Canton so that I could feast on the pure crab meat and roe soup dumpling at Jia Jia Tang Bao.  The last and only time we tried Jia Jia, we didn’t order the pure crab soup dumpling as it costed 88 RMB, a far cry from the 19.5 RMB crab roe xiaolongbao. We weren’t gonna splurge that kind of money on street food.. but boy were we wrong! Apparently, foodies come to Jia Jia mostly for their pure crab soup dumpling.  This time, I made sure to try it… I’ve been regretting it for the past 2 years!

no line up!!! last time we lined up for half an hour!

so famous! CNNGO and tripadvisor winner!

seaweed and tofu strips soup

xiaolongbao… the skin is thin (but not as thin as Din Tai Fung), has a lot of soup but the meat has a “not-too-fresh” taste…

pure crab meat and roe soup dumplings… should have ate it 2 years ago.. now it costs 99RMB!   We saw them wrap this.. they scooped a lot of  crab meat and roe!  It’s larger that the xiaolongbaos so  they steam it in 2 bamboo steamers.

This is pure heaven!!!!! only crab meat and roe in the dumpling… and it tasted very fresh!   soooo sooooooo sooooo good!!!!!!! OMG!

On the last day, my dad surprised me with my special breakfast.. the crab meat/roe dumplings!

look at the gigantic piece of roe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Apparently, you can call a day earlier and they’ll freeze the dumplings for you to bring back to your home country.  We didn’t know or else I would have asked them to freeze a few dozens for me!


Jia Jia Tang Bao 佳家汤包

90 Huanghe road., Shanghai

Tel: 63276878

Shanghai Fraternity Association 上海總會 – Hong Kong

It was my friend’s birthday and she organized a dinner at the member’s only restaurant, Shanghai Fraternity Association.

smoked egg.. one of my favourite appetizers! Unfortunately, this time the eggs didn’t taste smokey enough…. but the yoke was runny!

honey-glazed fried eels… so crispy!

ma lan tou

braised fish lips… this was my first time eating fish lips and surprisingly, this was delicious! It tastes and looks likes fish maw.

jelly fish

braised vegetables

xiao long bao… lot of soup but the skin is a tad thick

vegetable dumplings

Shanghainese pancake with date filling…. I usually have the one with red-bean filling but this was just as good! It was warm, crispy and not too sweet.

Glutinous rice dumplings in sweet rice wine..not too sweet and I could taste the osmanthus! yumm!


Shanghai Fraternity Association 上海總會
1-3/F, South China Building, 1 Wyndham Street, Central
tEL: 2524 9246

Bo Innovation – Hong Kong

Hong Kong had its first ever Restaurant Week this year from July 11- 17.  There were 2 restaurants I really wanted to go to: Bo Innovation and Fofo by El Willy.  My parents and family friends were in town so Bo Innovation should be a good choice to introduce them to Hong Kong’s culinary scene.   I don’t have an American Express card, so I wasn’t able to have priority booking.  I only managed to snag a reservation at Bo Innovation (1 Michelin starred) and Azure.

3-course menus were offered at 158 HKD (lunch) and 298 (dinner) and an additional $50 for lunch and $100 for dinner per Michelin star.  This is different than Dine Out Vancouver where 3-course menus are offered at $18, $28 and $38.

Bo Innovation is famous for its molecular reinvention of tradition Chinese cuisine.  This was my first time experiencing molecular gastronomy and I embarked on a whole different foodie journey!

Since Bo’s also a fusion restaurant, egg waffles were served instead of bread..well, not the regular 雞蛋仔 cause these were filled with Iberico ham!  A gastro-twist on the street-vendor snack I love!

century egg  pickled ginger…. Instead of serving the actual century egg with ginger (picture below), Bo opted to serve this dish by mixing liquid with dry ice! You’re supposed to eat the bubbles and it tasted exactly like the tradition century egg with ginger!

foie gras  “mui choy”.. this was foie gras paired with mui choy (pickled vegetable) ice-cream.  The foie gras was nicely seared so it had the “melt-in-your-mouth” texture.  The ice-cream actually tasted like mui choy.. including its saltiness! It’s best to have a bit of ice-cream and foie gras in the same bite!

molecular xiao long bao…  xiao long bao is one of my favourite food and I was amazed with this molecular version.  I took a bite of this jelly ball, which is topped with a single thin slice of red ginger, and it exploded in my mouth…The effect and the taste were just like the traditional xiao long bao but there’s no meat to be chewed!

har mi lo mein, chili, sage…   This dish is a twist of one of my favourite Chinese noodles, the shrimp roe noodles (蝦籽麵).  The lo mein was tossed with chilli, sage and dry shrimp oil  and you have an option of sprinkling the noodles with shrimp powder.  The shrimp oil and powder made the noodles extremely flavourful.  Unlike the regular menu, this dining week menu dish is served without the prawn.

Next came the main courses, which you can pick either the cod, suckling pig, scallop (additional $100) or beef (additional $450).

scallop crispy woba, pea, sichuan jello … this was tasty but nothing spectacular.

suckling pig chinese vinegar, egg.. the meat was tender and the sauce was flavourful.. but again, nothing too spectacular/molecular…

cod saffron, miso, sauterernes, seaweed.. This was a tiny main course! Nothing special.. well, the fried seaweed tasted pretty interesting.

Pineapple bun, white chocolate latté… For dessert, it was a deconstructed version of my favourite pineapple bun! There’s the pineapple bun crust (crunchy!), butter-flavoured ice-cream and a slice of a real pineapple (which is missing from the traditional version!  pineapple bun is such a misnomer! )

This meal was a good introduction to molecular gastronomy and I was amazed at how inventive the dishes were.  The Restaurant Week menu price is a real deal compared with the regular price but as a dining week lunch, $300 is a bit too much.  One thing I noted was only 3 tables out of the restaurant were designated for Dining Week and had only 1 seating for lunch.. which is probably why Bo was fully booked nearly right away.  The next Hong Kong Restaurant week is Feb 20-26 and hopefully, I’ll be able to get a reservation for Bo Innovation for dinner and Fofo!


Bo Innovation

Shop 13, 2/F J Residence, 60 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 – Shanghai

just came back to HK from Shanghai! the purpose of our trip was to see EXPO but the trip turned out to be an eating trip…. AGAIN!

we got off the plane, put our stuff down @ the hotel and hurried over to the new DTF outlet @ the Portman Ritz wanted to go our usual xintiandi outlet but they could no longer take reservations (nor could they help us “get a ticket before hand”.. unlike in october) BOO HOO

anyways.. the Portman DTF is on Nanjin Rd West.. so it’s even closer and within walking distance!

I opened the menu and freaked out! they have a greater variety of xiaolongbaos like:

black truffle and pork xiaolongbao!!!  (78RMB for 5)      this was extremely expensive… but worth the try! it’s simply amazing with the fresh taste and sweet aroma….


goose liver and chicken xiaolongbao!!!!! (78RMB for 5)   again.. quite expensive! but i like this more than the truffle xlb because of its strong goose liver taste! the xlb soup is goose liver essence.. enough said!

we also had the usual…

xie fen xiao long bao (meat with crab roe & meat)!!  i can say that the xiaolongbaos in Shanghai has the biggest pouch of soup (compared with taipei,singapore and hong kong) and the xie fen xlb is the freshest in Shanghai…. another reason for me to pig out!!

regular xiaolongbaos! look at how big the xlb is!!! it looks like it’s sagging!

prawn dumplings aka. siu mai… don’t really like it.. the skin is really thick and the only unique thing is that this siu mai has a pocket of soup!

drunken chicken! i love how the meat is so bouncy compared with the chicken in Vancouver.. and how well the chicken is marinated and soaked in the wine!

dan-dan mian…..  bouncy noodles… peanuty sauce…. yumm!

mini sesame paste buns! love love love! unlike the buns from bbq pork buns, this bun is light and bouncy (like cake)! and the sesame paste oozes out!

we also had the taro paste xiaolongbao but unfortunately.. it was way too sweet!

we also went back to the DTF in xintiandi.. and this is still our favourite outlet in Shanghai cause there’s better service.


Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐

104A, Shanghai Center, 1376 Nanjing Road West

Nanxiang Mantou Dian 南翔馒头店 – Shanghai

i finally tried Nanxiang xiaolongbao on my 5th trip to shanghai… i knew Nanxiang cannot compare with ding tai fung (DTF)..but as a foodie. i must try the famous nanxiang xiaolongbao at yu garden.. (btw..there’s a new DTF outlet in Yu garden!)

the lineup at the ground level was really long that we decided to pay more to eat upstairs… when we got to the 3rd floor.. they’re like… sorry..we’re doing hygiene maintanence(cleaning) we ended up lining up on the ground floor..

we ordered the normal xiaolongbaos…

it wasn’t good…and worse than i imagined.. the skin was so thick..didn’t have enough soup..well..the meat was ok..we couldn’t even finish it.. i think trying once is enough…

FAIM? OUI OUI!! (peut-être non non)

Nanxiang Mantou Dian 南翔馒头店

Yu Garden, Shanghai