Now that we have a teriyaki, sushi and Thai food joint on every corner I wonder what will be the next craze to hit every corner in a city near you. I’m guessing dumplings. I say this because I just waited an hour for one.
Let me back up for a second. Din Tai Fung has come to Seattle, well actually Bellevue. It’s a suburb of Seattle -home to Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and many other software millionaires. While there is a lot of money in this town the food scene is still being cultivated. With a few exceptions most of the talent is across the bridge in Seattle.
This brings me back to the opening of Din Tai Fung. From the size of the crowds (and the wait) it seems that people have discovered something amazing; the dumpling. It must be life changing to propel someone to wait 60-75 minutes for a table. I had to check it out.
I skipped breakfast and put in my time (one hour wait) for a table. Once we sat I quickly made up my mind. We ordered the pork and shrimp dumplings and pork and crab dumplings. Each order included 10 and was $10.95. The waiter showed us how to make our own dipping sauce with a 1:3 ratio of soy sauce and vinegar that is pour over sliced ginger. It was quite good. In addition to the dumplings I also tried the spicy beef noodle and sticky rice with pork. I’m in a pork mood lately. I blame it on Anthony Bourdain.
The pork and shrimp was the best dish. The flavors melded together and the soup inside was nicely flavored. I did enjoy everything else but it didn’t really blow me away. Maybe it was the anticipation of waiting an hour for a table and seeing the packed restaurant. I was expecting to have a moment with the food gods. But that didn’t happen.
What did happen was I realized that I enjoyed the food and got to wondering if this was maybe the start of a new food craze. Some chef/entrepreneur will see the opportunity of people waiting around for dumplings and open up shop around the corner. This will be a success and spur others on until every little upscale burb on the west coast has a dumpling shop. I hope so. Because I do love a good dumpling.