Portland is trying very hard to change the minds of anyone who thinks malls are lame.
In addition to Lloyd Center gaining a music venue in the former Nordstrom space and Pioneer Place building a bowling alley, a dim sum and a Sonoran taco joint, Washington Square Mall just announced it's gaining the world-famous Taiwanese dumpling chain Din Tai Fung.
The Washington Square outpost will be the first Oregon location for the dumpling restaurant, which also has locations in California and Seattle.
Din Tai Fung is credited with introducing America to xiao bao (XLB) soup dumplings after it expanding internationally in the '90s. Since then, XLB—broth and meat filled purses of delicate noodle dough—has gained a cult following.
Portlander Jasper Shen brought XLB dumplings to Portland for the first time last January, with the opening of his restaurant XLB. Now Din Tai Fung will give Portlanders the opportunity to try the Taiwanese cuisine from one of Shen's influences.
Din Tai Fung is well-known for its pork and crab filled soup dumplings. But the Oregon location's menu, the Oregonian first reported, will be exhaustive. Look for fried pork chops, truffles and beef noodle soup as well.
"Our shoppers look to us for great new experiences and Din Tai Fung is one of the most talked-about restaurant concepts anywhere," Maria Halstead, a senior property manager with Washington Square Mall said in a statement.
The new space, according to the Oregonian, will feature an open window into the kitchen so diners can observe the dumpling-making process, as well as a full bar and seating for roughly 230 people.
"We can't wait to create a custom-designed setting and experience for food-focused Portland,"Din Tai Fung's manager partner for the new Portland location, David Wasielewski said.
Din Tai Fung is slated to open later this year, around the holiday season. No concrete opening date has been announced yet.