Seattle, being just a 2 hour drive from Vancouver, was my first stop on my quest for the perfect XLB. From the state’s capital to the Cascades, I did my research and the restaurant that left me feeling most satisfied was definitely Bellevue’s Din Tai Fung. A successful Taiwanese chain of restaurants (Michelin honors in its Hong Kong locations, 2009/2010), with humble roots from northern China, the Xiao Lung Bung here are considered top notch for the area.
The broth from the dumplings were extremely light, yet fragrant, and they were easy to handle as eating juicy dumplings can be a messy business at times. To see what goes into making XLB you can actually get a glimpse of their dumpling make process through the glass walls of the kitchen as you enter the establishment.
The surprise for me here was the dan dan noodles, a more typical Szechuan dish. Fresh hand made noodles mixed with sesame paste drenched in chilli oil. This dish here was superbly executed. I would come back again just to order the noodles if that was all I could have. And, yes bubble tea is also on the menu here.
Another plus for this restaurant is the capacity and its service. The hosts know their stuff and are on top of getting you through the lineup as efficiently and comfortably as possible. With an automated notification system and plenty of seating areas, it’s not a terribly bad wait for good food.