This week at Nutripair, we’d like to spotlight the popular Taiwanese restaurant chain, Din Tai Fung. It has been named one of the top ten gourmet restaurants in the world, with over 170 locations in 13 countries. They offer their traditional steamed and soup dumplings, as well as a plethora of more Taiwanese-based food options, including noodles, wontons, and cooked vegetables. This dim sum eatery is marked by its five Michelin stars and is hallmarked as one of the best in not only Southern California, but all over the globe.
Din Tai Fung is not only award-worthy but also allergen-friendly. According to Din Tai Fung’s website, the restaurant has 44 egg-free items, 72 dairy-free items, 63 shell-fish-free items, and 14 gluten-free items. Not listed online are soy, nuts, fish, and tree nuts. They generally can accept accommodations, done upon request for certain dishes—examples of this include shanghai rices cakes with shrimp, which can be made without shrimp and soy sauce; pork chop fried rice can be made without egg; and dishes containing sesame oil can be omitted and substituted.
In regards to menu transparency, Din Tai Fung offers customers access to a separate dairy free menu. Separate menus for soy, egg, gluten, MSG, sesame, vegan, and vegetarian are also provided upon request. Staff at Din Tai Fung are able to provide necessary information regarding allergens similarly upon request; servers known what ingredients can be easily omitted or substituted, and their server training includes education about allergens and their types.
In regards to shellfish allergies, Din Tai Fung includes a section relating to shellfish specifications on their allergen guide. Shellfish allergies, which encompass foods such as clams, octopus, and shrimp, are one of the most common food allergies amongst adults. Symptoms may range from mild to life-threatening, and approximately 2% of American adults are susceptible shellfish allergens and its symptoms. It is one of the few allergens that tends to persist in adulthood, rather than lessening or becoming less volatile.
Overall, Nutripair rates Din Tai Fung a rating of 3/5 pears. We think Din Tai Fung can become more allergy friendly by providing more information on other allergens, and that they could include more nutrition facts on their website. The breakdown is as follows:
0.5 pears for mentioning the 4/8 of the top 8 food allergies.
1 pear for being accommodating with substitutes.
0.5 pears for menu transparency, but lacking in icons for most allergies.
0 pears for lack of nutrition analysis that can be easily accesses.
1 pear for well-informed staff regarding dietary restrictions.
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