A famous Taiwanese dumpling chain is slated to debut its first San Diego outpost after Christmas. Bafang Dumpling, the largest dumpling maker in Taiwan, is putting down roots near the newly opened Sunmerry Bakery, another Taiwanese behemoth, and Crumbl Cookies at the Village at Mira Mesa.
Bafang founder Jiayu Lin was a struggling mechanic, and his wife was a math teacher who tutored students out of their home, making potstickers as an afternoon snack for the kids before they’d buckle down to study. The first Bafang Dumpling restaurant opened in 1998, expanded to Hong Kong in 2008, and launched in China in 2014. Last year, the company went public on the Taiwanese stock market.
After conquering Asia, where it has nearly 1,300 locations in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China and sells 1.2 billion dumplings each year, Bafang is setting its sights on growing its U.S. market with ambitions to make it bigger than its Hong Kong presence.
The Taiwanese restaurant opened its first North American restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley in March 2022, followed by outposts in Chino Hills, Temple City, and Gardena. The 3,000-square-foot Mira Mesa restaurant is “bigger than our City of Industry restaurant with more seating since we’ll have more space,” Stephanie Peng, CEO of Bafang Yunji North America, told Eater.
Known for its wallet-friendly comfort dishes served in a fast-casual setting, the chain’s popular items include griddled fried potstickers, spicy Bafang signature noodles, and old-fashioned noodles which are bouncy QQ noodles dressed with soy sauce and shallot oil. It’ll also offer breaded pork chops, another favorite Taiwanese snack. The menu extends to combo meals, which include wonton soup or iced lemon black tea, and a variety of soy-based boba drinks including soy wild mango and Soy Awesome with pudding, red beans, grass jelly, and fresh taro.
“We aim to deliver high-quality food that’s easy and convenient at affordable pricing,” said Peng.
“We’re vigorously expanding, focusing on Southern California because of its diversity,” added Peng, who told Eater that they plan on opening more restaurants in Brea Mall, Cerritos, Torrance, Cypress, and Irvine where their central kitchen is located. Other locations for the San Diego area may also be in the works.
While 85 percent of its Asian stores are franchised, the first batch of U.S. restaurants is all corporate-owned. Going forward, there will be opportunities for franchisees to expand the brand across the country as Bafang establishes firm footing on this side of the Pacific.