It’s Halloween and I should probably be writing about candy, but I’m not much of a candy eater. Chocolate, however, is a different story. My exploration of the San Gabriel Valley continues with a new dessert that I tried at Din Tai Fung, the Taiwanese dumpling franchise that now has many branches in the U.S. This dessert, which our waiter described as “mochi,” is so new it’s not even listed on the menu.
The signature dish of Din Tai Fung is their thin-skinned pork dumplings. When you walk in, you can watch the chefs in the glass-enclosed kitchen expertly rolling out the dough for the wrappers and placing dollops of pork filling in them before sealing them up. The dough wrappers are so thin they’re translucent. This, along with the freshness of the ingredients, makes for an exceptional dumpling.
The dessert dumplings are exactly the same as the pork dumplings, except that instead of meat, they’re filled with rich, gooey chocolate. They even come out piping hot in the same type of bamboo steamer. I never would’ve expected to enjoy this odd pairing of savory and sweet, but I have to say… it works. Sort of like a chocolate croissant. Pretty much any time you melt dark chocolate, you’ve got my attention.
And by the way, everything on Din Tai Fung’s menu is dairy-free and fabulous. Technically, the chocolate contains a little dairy, so if you’re allergic, you may be out of luck. But I’m lactose-intolerant and I was able to digest the chocolate just fine.
Another thing I love about Din Tai Fung: You sign in and they’ll text you when your table is ready. Meanwhile, you’re free to shop at the Nordstrom next door or anywhere else in the enormous Santa Anita mall. Retail therapy + dumplings + chocolate = bliss.
DIN TAI FUNG, Westfield Santa Anita, 400 S. Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA 91007