The clamor over Din Tai Fung usually centers on the Taiwanese chain's xiao long bao, the steamed buns that studious, white-capped workers roll to order in a display kitchen.
The dumplings are fine. And if you've withstood a ridiculously lengthy wait for a seat at the chain's shiny Bellevue outpost, you really ought to order them, if only to complain about how long you waited for dumplings that didn't change your life. Really, you could have driven to Richmond and back in the same amount of time.
But if you take more pleasure from a good meal than a good moan, shift your focus to the always-outstanding Shanghai-style rice cake with chicken. Din Tai Fung's rice cakes, or nian gao have the visage of floppy water chestnuts. But each tongue-sized cake has the exact right amount of chew and sufficient heft to soak up the garlicky oyster sauce that surrounds the dish, completed with onions and greens. Even better, these cakes solve the eternal carb conundrum of rice or noodles by beautifully splitting the difference.