Eating in Suwon & Bundang · Food & Eating in Seoul

Din Tai Fung: best xiaolongbao & beef noddle soup chain 鼎泰豐

Dintaifung is possibly one of my favorite restaurants. If you know Chinese food you will know what I mean, there’s nothing in common between the strong garlic taste in some North areas, the spiciness of Sichuan, or the mild and sweet but very savory food from the South. I love this place because their xiaolongbao are just irresistible, and so are their beef noodle soup and fried rice with pork. My family came partially from Taiwan, partially from the South of China, and so our taste for Chinese food tends to sweet.

From their US website: “Having originally been founded as a cooking oil retail business in 1958, in 1972 DinTaiFung was reborn as a steamed dumpling and noodle restaurant. Today, DinTaiFung Dumpling House has branches in Japan, United States, South Korea, Signapore, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, and Thailand. While continuing to maintain its high popularity in Taiwan, DinTaiFung is now giving people throughout the world the opportunity to experience a classic “taste of Taiwan.””

I first tried dintaifung in a trip to Taiwan with my mum. At that time I was much younger, had no idea that the restaurant would become a huge chain with shops in Korea. When I found out about the Korean branches, I went to try it immediately. My first time was in Myeongdong with my aunt, who also loves Taiwanese food. We had to wait a little bit in line but got sat down and ordered. I remember feeling slightly disappointed, mainly because we got served Kimchi. The rest of the food was still good, but not as “wow” as I remembered in Taiwan. This was in summer 2013 while I was doing an internship in Seoul.

When I came to work in Korea I decided to give it a second chance, since I heard they had opened a branch in Gangnam and I was living near there. The Gangnam branch is usually busier, so we had a long wait. The food was good though. I’m not sure if it was because I hadn’t had Chinese style Chinese food for such a long time (Chinese jajjangmyeon is NOT Chinese real food!) or what, but I enjoyed it and went back some other times.

Pictures from the many times I came back to Dintaifung
Pictures from the many times I came back to Dintaifung

Now, I have been also to Jamsil branch, inside the Lotte mart (that’s usually quite empty) and in the Suwon branch. This is their newest shop, and its inside the Lotte Mall that just opened in Suwon station this year. I have gotten their membership card, which you must have if you’re a xiaolongbao lover!

Great benefits! One of the best membership cards I've had!
Great benefits! One of the best membership cards I’ve had! Just ask for it at the counter and use it right away. You will need to sign up online, but sometimes they help foreigners do it on site… good luck :p

Benefits of the membership card:

  • Mondays get 50% off any type of xiaolongbao!!! (Except holiday mondays)
  • Get a 10% discount on your meal every time
  • Accumulate points (1% of the total. So if for example you spent 69,450W you can get 694 points)
  • Use your points as cash (You need to have accumulated 3,000 points for this)
  • On your birthday, you will get an SMS with a special coupon (mine was any 1 rice/noodle dish for free, and I got my beef noodle soup for free :p)

Here are some pictures of the food. I always order the same: pork xiaolongbao 10 pieces for W9,900; fried rice with pork chop for W13,000; beef noodle soup (우육면) for W13,000 and maybe some sauteed bokchoy.

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Xiaolongbao are between Chinese buns and dumplings both in size and concept. What makes xiaolongbao special is that they have some soup inside. How do they put soup inside a xiaolongbao? I asked my dad, who’s a Chinese cook, and he said there are 2 popular methods. The first one consists on putting the soup in small pieces in the fridge, so it solidifies like a jelly, and then they add a small part of this inside each bao. Another method is using some kind of needle and injecting the soup from the small aperture on the top of the bao. Either way, xiaolongbao are so delicious, specially when steaming hot!

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To eat xiaolongbao, some technique is required if you don’t want to burn your tongue with the soup. 1. First, grab the xiaolongbao from the bamboo basket with the help of your Chinese spoon, in order to avoid poking a hole in it and letting all the soup run over the basket. 2. Then, use some of the soy sauce+ginger that dintaifung prepares for you. 3. With the bao on your spoon, poke a small hole to release the soup into the spoon (otherwise it will burn your tongue) and 4. enjoy it!

how to 1234 xiaolongbaoThe beef noodle soup is another of our favorite dishes here. In Taiwan, both Victor and I would really love to eat this dish. The one at dintaifung is really good. The beef broth is very savory, a bit oily but in the good sense. The noodles absorb the broth and the meet is soft to the mouth. I can’t describe it well enough, but it’s definitely the best we’ve tried in Korea.

The picture doesn't make justice. It's so much better than it looks!
The picture doesn’t make justice. It’s so much better than it looks!

The fried rice is well fried, super tasty, and with a big piece of pork chop on top, which makes it a good one-dish meal.

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If you like Chinese food, or even better Taiwanese food, don’t hesitate and try this place out! It might seem a bit pricier than the regular Chinese restaurant, but it’s well worth it!

INFO about Suwon Branch:

Opening hours: 10:30~22:00
Contact: 031-8066-0720
How to get there: Suwon Station (lines 1-blue, and Bundang-yellow). It is located on the 7th floor of the Lotte Dpt.Store.
Address: Gyeonggi-do, Suwon-si, Gwonseon-gu, Sehwa-ro 124, Lotte Department store 7th floor/ 경기도 수원시 권선구 세화로 124 롯데백화점 7층
Mimi’s Rating: Total 8,5/10 (Food: 10, location: 8, price: 7, service: 8)
Plus: If you like xiaolongbao, definitely get a Membership card and go on Mondays for a 50% off xiaolongbao!

INFO about Gangnam Branch:

Opening hours: 11:00~22:00
Contact: 02-569-2778
How to get there: Gangnam station exit #10
Address: Seoul-si, Seocho-gu, Seocho-daero 73, 2nd floor of the 세계building/ 서울특별시 서초구 서초대로 73길 12 세계빌딩 2층
Mimi’s Rating: Total 8,5/10 (Food: 10, location: 9, price: 7, service: 8)
Plus: If you like xiaolongbao, definitely get a Membership card and go on Mondays for a 50% off xiaolongbao!

Other branches:

Myeongdong: 서울 중구 명동 7길 13 증권빌딩 2층 / 02-3789-2778
Jamsil: 서울 송파구 올림픽로 240 롯데마트 잠실점 6층/ 02-2143-1651
Gimpo: 서울 강서구 하늘길 38 롯데몰 김포공항점 지하 2층/ 02-6116-5537
Times Square (영등포역): 서울 영등포구 영중로 15 경방타임스퀘어 4층/ 02-2638-2780

*Some of the pictures used in this post are from the original dintaifung Korea website: http://www.dintaifung.co.kr 

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