Din Tai Fung Restaurant History
Whenever the name Din Tai Fung Restaurant is mentioned, the first thing that people think of is small, delicate steamed dumplings. It’s only natural to associate the two, after all. But where did the famous Din Tai Fung Restaurant name come from? What were its origins? This is the story of how the Din Tai Fung Restaurant legend came to be.
The founder of Din Tai Fung Restaurant was Bingyi Yang, born 1927 in China’s Shanxi Province. In the summer of 1948, Bingyi Yang decided at the age of 21 to leave the KMT-CCP Civil War in China behind. He boarded the ferry “Hualien” and decided to seek his fortune in Taiwan with an uncle there. With the help of his uncle’s wife, Yang found his first job in Taiwan – as a deliveryman with “HengTaiFung”. Being honest and hard working, after two years the owner put him in charge of the accounts and the store’s inventory. At the age of 28 Yang married Penmei Lai who also worked at “HengTaiFung”. He continued working at the cooking oils store for another 3 to 4 years until the owner’s other investments failed. Weighed down by the other losses, “HengTaiFung” was eventually forced to close its doors. Bingyi Yang was now 31 years old. Left unemployed by the closing of the oil store, Yang and his wife decided to start up their own business. They weren’t sure what they should call it though. After thinking about the matter for some time, Yang decided that since he bought his oils wholesale from “DinMei Oils” and got his start with “HengTaiFung”, he would name it “Din Tai Fung Restaurant“. This would also show how grateful he was for the kindness of HengTaiFung’s owner and his wife. Thus “Din Tai Fung Restaurant” was born. It was now 1958. Telephones weren’t easy to get back then and the number that Din Tai Fung Restaurant still uses today – 23218927 – was purchased from a Control Yuan commissioner who happened to be a fellow Shanxi native. While buying the telephone number, Bingyi Yang also asked the commissioner Youren Yu to write the characters for the shop sign “Din Tai Fung Restaurant Oil Store”. More than forty years later the sign is today still on display at the entrance of Din Tai Fung Restaurant‘s Xinyi Store.
With the reputation and connections that he established at “HengTaiFung”, “Din Tai Fung Restaurant” quickly established itself on the market. With the profits from their business, Yang and his wife managed to find the money to buy a shop front on Xinyi Road. They moved their oil business here and this is today the site of Din Tai Fung Restaurant‘s Xinyi main Restaurant. When tinned salad oil went on sale around 1980 it completely changed how consumers bought their cooking oil. Business at “Din Tai Fung Restaurant” plummeted with Yang and his wife both thinking: “We need to do something!” Just as Yang and his wife thought that this was the end of their business, opportunity knocked. Taking the advice of Mr. Tang, owner of the “Fuhsing Garden” Restaurant, Yang and his wife turned one half of their shop over to making and selling steamed dumplings. The quality of steamed dumplings at “Din Tai Fung Restaurant” soon captured the stomachs of customers. Though the store never advertised, word-of-mouth brought in more customers and the business took off. “Din Tai Fung Restaurant” soon stopped selling oil entirely and became a full-fledged Restaurant. This was also where the legend of how “Din Tai Fung Restaurant” became an international brand began.
At Din Tai Fung Restaurant, we put the customer’s needs first. This is both what we aim to deliver and strive to achieve. Our highest expression of our service philosophy is to meet customers’ expectations before they have even voiced them.
At Din Tai Fung Restaurant, we expect the highest standards in our production process. Everything from the selection of the raw materials, the processing of ingredients, the flavoring and cooking as well as table service must meet the strict standards that we set for ourselves or they won’t be delivered to the customer’s table. We are constantly seeking new improvements. Every step of the process must be quantified, all production methods standardized, our service friendliness personified, the management systemized, our techniques modernized and all personnel properly trained and educated. Only then can we maintain the superb quality of our product and this is what Din Tai Fung Restaurant‘s quality philosophy means.
The insistence on gourmet cuisine is part of our responsibility to customers. What customers want is to satisfy their palate and if this isn’t satisfied, no matter how cheap the prices may be the food will not be worth eating. At Din Tai Fung Restaurant, we have insisted on remaining true to the original taste. When customers visit us again, they can enjoy that taste again and be satisfied once more. Hygiene is another important factor. At Din Tai Fung Restaurant, we not only want our customers to enjoy delicious food but also take hygiene seriously. The inside and outside of the kitchen and Restaurant are regularly cleaned and sterilized. Strict standards are also enforced for our ingredients ensuring that nothing past its due-by date or of dubious origins make it into our inventory. The freshness and cleanliness of products at Din Tai Fung Restaurant is something that every customer can taste.
When Bingyi Yang, the founder of Din Tai Fung Restaurant, passed the reins to his son Jihwa Yang, total quality management and improved service became the watchword at Din Tai Fung Restaurant. What had been a small eatery was transformed through corporate management to meet international hospitality standards. This not only served to make Chinese cuisine famous but also made Din Tai Fung Restaurant a world famous brand. At Din Tai Fung Restaurant our dedication to our products far exceeds our interest in profit margins. To us, our customers’ expectations will always take priority over profits.