Din Tai Funky

Del Amo restaurant Din Tai Fun is inauthentic to Asian cuisine

In a sea of popular teenage fashion boutiques and sneakerhead hotspots lies Din Tai Fung, a branch of a growing dim sum-like restaurant chain expanding in the United States. With five locations in Southern California, many of Din Tai Fung’s eaters have been brainwashed by the opinions of misguided friends, family, and media well before consumption.

Not long ago after their extreme revamp, the Del Amo Mall became home to a brand new Din Tai Fung. News of the Hong Kong branch’s Michelin Star, a signifier of quality dining, led most to believe their quality was the standard at all of Din Tai Fung’s restaurants. Immediately the new restaurant was packed with customers hoping to taste the best “authentic” Chinese food the South Bay has to offer. However, it is anything but.

Traditionally, dim sum involves waiters pushing carts of steamers filled with an exotic array of bite-sized foods. Although Din Tai Fung remains faithful to the steamer basket method, they chose not to offend the stomachs of customers, filling their menus with frustratingly basic flavors. Unfortunately, this has had a negative effect on eaters, dulling their taste buds with every bite.

Din Tai Fung’s dishes could not be more flavorless, hardly what a Michelin Star receiver could be described as. The pork bun shames in an abundance of dry white nothingness which crowds the mouth before the tongue can even touch the little meat it houses. Frankly, Din Tai Fung’s pork buns pale in comparison to buns sold at Sam’s Club.

Additionally, the xiao long bao, or steam dumplings, intimidate eaters with the boiling hot broth they hold. Even after patiently waiting for them to cool the dumplings do not excite, tasting similar to that of watered down wonton soup.

Yet there is a dish that does impress. After an abundance of plain food, the sweet and sour pork baby back ribs offer a taste that is satisfyingly baffling. Coated in what may or may not be honey, they will have you addicted as you attempt to decipher the flavors. However, these ribs will make you question if they could be classified as traditional Chinese cuisine.

But the real culprits of Din Tai Fung are their outrageous prices. Dishes can range from $7 to $12, piling up fast in a restaurant style which thrives off serving small portions of finger foods as entire meals.

There is no real reason to eat at Din Tai Fung, other than to experience the epitome of an overrated establishment. Overpriced and bland, there are several alternatives in a diverse state like California that are both cheap and delectable.