Iron Chef Ming Tsai's Absolute Favorite Dim Sum Restaurant In The US - Exclusive

Iron Chef Ming Tsai has built a longstanding reputation based on his East-meets-West culinary approach, fusing traditional Asian flavors and ingredients with comforting Western staples. More recently, Tsai has channeled that approach into one of the most playful, creative, and accessible forms of Asian cuisine, Chinese dim sum. His own version is a plant-based take on this traditional meal of small, often handheld dishes with his line of MingsBings — vegan, gluten-free pockets filled with Western-inspired flavors.

Of course, when Chef Tsai isn't whipping up and enjoying his own bings, he still loves to indulge in an authentic dim sum restaurant experience. And with him being an Iron Chef, we expect he's got a pretty high standard for it, especially outside of China. So when Tasting Table got the chance to catch up exclusively with Ming Tsai, we asked him what his go-to spot here in the States is.

One might assume Tsai would name some obscure, little-known eatery, where often the best authentic dining experiences can be had. "I'm not usually promoting chains," the chef himself admitted. But he makes an exception when it comes to his all-time favorite dim sum in the U.S. — Din Tai Fung. The brand was founded in Taiwan and has spread all over the world, with more than 170 locations in 13 countries. "To me, they're such a great role model, and they should be for so many restaurateurs because they do one thing so well and they are consistent," Tsai said. And that one thing is unbeatable dim sum, made with the utmost precision and care.

Ming Tsai says there's no place as consistently delicious as Din Tai Fung

Chef Ming Tsai knows what it takes to deliver excellent restaurant service, so he naturally has a great appreciation for consistent quality. It's not enough to make a great plate of food; you have to be able to replicate that taste and presentation over and over, and this is especially true for restaurants with multiple locations. That's where Din Tai Fung's success lies, according to Tsai. "I've been to probably 10 Din Tai Fungs around the world, including the original one in Taipei, Beijing, Singapore, Shanghai, Seattle, LA," he told Tasting Table. "Every soup dumpling I've had," he explained, "... they're always exactly the same. It's remarkable."

The art of Din Tai Fung's quality food actually comes down to science, said Tsai. Take their famous xiao long bao dumplings, for example. "They [have] the exact temperature of water to the 10th decimal point in centigrade, the exact grams of flour, exactly 3 minutes and 22 seconds to mix," Tsai explained. The cooking process is just as calculated. "[The chef takes] like five steamers stacked up ... and he [will] push a button and high-pressure steam [will] shoot through all five of those of the steamer baskets," he continued. "In exactly six minutes and 22 seconds, perfect soup dumplings."

Tsai said his favorite item on the menu is the truffle and kurobuta pork xiao long bao, but you can't go wrong across its menu. Other highlights include its assortment of steamed dumplings, siu mai, and stuffed buns; spicy wontons; traditional fried rice and stir-fried noodle dishes; and an array of flavorful veggie side dishes. Don't forget to finish the meal with the famous chocolate xiao long bao.

Learn more about MingsBings and find a retailer near you.