Din Tai Fung Rice Cake Recipe

Delicious and Authentic Din Tai Fung Rice Cake Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide to Recreate the Famous Taiwanese Delicacy at Home

Din Tai Fung Rice Cake

    Din Tai Fung Rice Cake

  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Category: Appetizer, Snack
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Calories: 150 calories

About this recipe

Din Tai Fung is a famous restaurant known for their delectable steamed dumplings, but their rice cakes are also a must-try. These rice cakes, or "nian gao" in Chinese, are made from glutinous rice flour and have a soft, chewy texture that's incredibly satisfying.

To make Din Tai Fung-style rice cakes at home, you'll need some basic ingredients like glutinous rice flour, water, vegetable oil, and a bit of salt. The first step is to mix these ingredients together until they form a smooth dough. Then, let the dough rest for about 30 minutes to allow it to relax and become easier to work with.

After the dough has rested, it's time to shape the rice cakes. Take small portions of the dough and roll them into thin cylinders, about half an inch in diameter. Then, cut these cylinders into small pieces, roughly one inch in length. These pieces will be the individual rice cakes.

Next, you'll want to flatten each rice cake slightly. You can do this by pressing them lightly with the palm of your hand or using the back of a spoon. This step helps to create a nice shape and uniform thickness for the rice cakes.

Now, it's time to steam the rice cakes. Place them on a plate or steaming tray, making sure they are not touching each other. To prevent sticking, brush a thin layer of sesame oil on top of each rice cake. This not only adds a subtle fragrance but also enhances the overall flavor.

Set up your steamer and bring the water to a boil. Put the plate or steaming tray with the rice cakes into the steamer, cover it, and let them steam for around 15 to 20 minutes. You'll know they're ready when they become translucent and thoroughly cooked.

Once the rice cakes are done, carefully remove them from the steamer and let them cool for a few minutes. They are best enjoyed warm, and you can serve them with some soy sauce for dipping. The combination of the soft, chewy rice cakes and the savory soy sauce is truly delightful.

Recipe origin and background

The origin of Din Tai Fung's rice cake recipe can be traced back to Taiwan, where Din Tai Fung was founded.

Din Tai Fung is a renowned Taiwanese restaurant chain that specializes in xiaolongbao (steamed soup dumplings) but also offers a variety of other dishes, including rice cakes.

Rice cakes, or "nian gao" in Mandarin, have a long history in Chinese cuisine and are commonly consumed during the Lunar New Year. These glutinous rice cakes symbolize good luck, prosperity, and a fresh start.

They are considered a traditional delicacy and are enjoyed not only in Taiwan but also in other parts of Asia, such as China and Korea.

Din Tai Fung's version of rice cakes has gained popularity due to the restaurant's dedication to culinary excellence and the use of high-quality ingredients. Their recipe showcases the chewy and soft texture of the rice cakes, which is achieved by using glutinous rice flour and steaming them to perfection.

While Din Tai Fung has become famous for its steamed dumplings, their rice cakes have also garnered a loyal following. The restaurant's attention to detail, consistent quality, and authentic flavors have made their rice cakes a sought-after dish for diners seeking a taste of Taiwanese cuisine.

Over the years, Din Tai Fung has expanded its presence globally, with branches in various countries, including the United States, Australia, Singapore, and more.

This has allowed people from different parts of the world to experience the unique flavors of Din Tai Fung's rice cakes and other signature dishes.

So, when you enjoy Din Tai Fung's rice cakes, you're experiencing a blend of culinary traditions, Taiwanese flavors, and the expertise of a renowned restaurant that has perfected their recipe over the years.

Why try this Din Tai Fung Rice Cake recipe?

  1. Authentic Flavors: Din Tai Fung is renowned for its high-quality and delicious dishes, and their rice cakes are no exception. By making this recipe at home, you can experience the authentic flavors of Din Tai Fung's rice cakes without having to visit one of their restaurants.
  2. Simple Ingredients: The recipe uses basic ingredients like glutinous rice flour, water, vegetable oil, salt, sesame oil, and soy sauce. These ingredients are readily available in most grocery stores, making it easy to recreate the recipe in your own kitchen.
  3. Easy Preparation: The recipe itself is relatively straightforward and doesn't require advanced cooking skills. With just a few simple steps, you can make these rice cakes from scratch. It's a great recipe for both beginners and experienced home cooks.
  4. Customizable: While this recipe provides a traditional and authentic version of Din Tai Fung rice cakes, you can also customize it to suit your preferences. You can experiment with different dipping sauces, toppings, or even fillings to create your own unique twist on the dish.
  5. Versatile: Din Tai Fung rice cakes can be enjoyed as a snack, appetizer, or even as part of a meal. They make a satisfying addition to a dim sum spread or can be enjoyed on their own as a light and tasty snack.
  6. Cultural Experience: Trying out traditional recipes from different cuisines allows you to explore and appreciate different cultures. Making Din Tai Fung rice cakes gives you a chance to connect with Taiwanese culinary traditions and experience the joy of preparing and enjoying a dish with cultural significance.

So, if you're a fan of Din Tai Fung or simply want to try a delicious and popular Taiwanese treat, this rice cake recipe is definitely worth a try. It offers a chance to recreate the flavors of Din Tai Fung in your own kitchen, and the process itself can be a fun and rewarding culinary adventure.

What does Din Tai Fung Rice Cake taste like?

Din Tai Fung rice cakes have a unique and delightful taste. These rice cakes are made from glutinous rice flour, resulting in a chewy and slightly sticky texture. The flavor is subtle and mildly sweet, with hints of the natural sweetness of glutinous rice.

The steaming process further enhances the texture and taste of the rice cakes. They become soft and tender, yet still retain a satisfying bite. The sesame oil coating adds a delicate aroma and a touch of richness to each bite.

When you take a bite into a Din Tai Fung rice cake, you'll experience the pleasant chewiness, which is balanced with the gentle sweetness of the rice. The combination of the soft texture and mild sweetness makes them enjoyable to eat on their own.

However, rice cakes are also commonly enjoyed with soy sauce as a dipping sauce. The addition of soy sauce provides a savory contrast to the mild sweetness of the rice cakes, creating a harmonious flavor balance. The soy sauce adds depth and umami, further enhancing the overall taste experience.

What is in Din Tai Fung Rice Cake?

  • Glutinous Rice Flour: This is a type of flour made from short-grain sticky rice. It gives the rice cakes their characteristic chewy texture.
  • Water: Used to moisten the dough and help bind the ingredients together.
  • Vegetable Oil: Adds moisture and tenderness to the rice cakes. It also prevents them from sticking to each other.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavor of the rice cakes by balancing the sweetness and adding a touch of savory taste.
  • Sesame Oil: Used for coating the rice cakes before steaming. It adds a subtle aroma and a hint of richness to the dish.
  • Soy Sauce: Often served as a dipping sauce for the rice cakes, providing a savory and umami flavor.

Equipment required for this recipe

  • Mixing Bowl: A medium-sized bowl for combining the ingredients and kneading the dough. A regular bowl or a large mixing bowl can be used as a substitute.
  • Steamer: A steaming apparatus with a lid for cooking the rice cakes. If you don't have a steamer, you can create a makeshift steamer by placing a heat-safe colander or sieve over a pot of boiling water. Make sure the colander or sieve is elevated above the water level, and cover it with a lid or foil to trap the steam.
  • Plate or Steaming Tray: A flat plate or steaming tray to hold the rice cakes while steaming. If you don't have a dedicated steaming plate or tray, you can use a heat-safe plate or line a regular plate with parchment paper or cabbage leaves to prevent sticking.
  • Brush: A pastry brush or even a clean basting brush can be used to brush sesame oil onto the rice cakes before steaming. If you don't have a brush, you can lightly drizzle the sesame oil over the rice cakes and spread it using the back of a spoon.
  • Knife or Scissors: To cut the rolled dough into small pieces. Any sharp knife or kitchen scissors can be used as a substitute.

How to make Din Tai Fung Rice Cake

Indulge in the irresistible flavors of Din Tai Fung rice cakes with this easy-to-follow recipe. Create chewy, steamed perfection in your own kitchen!


  • 1 pound glutinous rice flour
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Sesame oil (for coating)
  • Soy sauce (for serving)


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour, water, vegetable oil, and salt. Mix well until a dough forms. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  2. After resting, divide the dough into small portions and roll each portion into a long cylinder shape, about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the cylinders into small pieces, about 1 inch in length.
  3. Take each small piece and press it lightly with the palm of your hand to flatten it slightly. You can also use the back of a spoon to flatten it.
  4. Place the flattened rice cake pieces on a plate or steaming tray, making sure they don't touch each other. Brush a thin layer of sesame oil on top of each rice cake to prevent sticking.
  5. Prepare a steamer and bring the water to a boil. Place the plate or steaming tray with the rice cakes in the steamer. Cover the steamer and steam the rice cakes for about 15-20 minutes, or until they become translucent and cooked through.
  6. Once the rice cakes are cooked, remove them from the steamer and let them cool for a few minutes. Serve them warm with soy sauce for dipping.

How to serve Din Tai Fung Rice Cake

  1. Once the rice cakes are cooked and ready, carefully remove them from the steamer and place them on a serving plate or platter.
  2. Optionally, you can lightly drizzle some sesame oil over the cooked rice cakes for added flavor and shine. This step is especially recommended if you didn't brush the rice cakes with sesame oil before steaming.
  3. Serve the rice cakes warm. They are best enjoyed fresh out of the steamer when they are soft, tender, and at their peak texture.
  4. You can serve Din Tai Fung rice cakes as a standalone snack or appetizer. They are often served as part of a dim sum spread or enjoyed on their own as a delightful treat.
  5. To enhance the flavor and provide a savory contrast, you can serve the rice cakes with a dipping sauce. Soy sauce is a popular choice and pairs well with the subtle sweetness of the rice cakes. Place a small bowl of soy sauce alongside the rice cakes for dipping.
  6. Optionally, you can garnish the rice cakes with some finely chopped green onions or sesame seeds for added visual appeal and flavor.
  7. Encourage your guests or yourself to take a rice cake with chopsticks or a fork, dip it into the soy sauce or desired dipping sauce, and savor the delightful combination of textures and flavors.

Rated: 4.9 of 5.0 from 658 reviews.

Recipe Tags: Din Tai Fung Rice Cake, Din Tai Fung Rice Cake Recipe, Recipe, Easy, Homemade, Top rated

What to serve Din Tai Fung Rice Cake with

Din Tai Fung rice cakes can be enjoyed on their own as a delicious snack or appetizer. However, if you'd like to serve them as part of a larger meal or create a more substantial spread, here are some options for accompanying dishes:

  1. Steamed Dumplings: Since Din Tai Fung is famous for its steamed dumplings, you can consider serving their rice cakes alongside other varieties of dumplings. You can make or purchase different fillings such as pork, chicken, or vegetable dumplings to offer a variety of flavors.
  2. Stir-Fried Vegetables: A simple stir-fried vegetable dish can complement the rice cakes nicely. Consider stir-frying bok choy, broccoli, or snap peas with garlic and soy sauce for a vibrant and nutritious side dish.
  3. Chinese Greens: Steamed or blanched Chinese greens, such as gai lan (Chinese broccoli) or yu choy, are excellent accompaniments. Drizzle them with oyster sauce or a simple dressing made with soy sauce, sesame oil, and a touch of sugar.
  4. Braised Pork Belly: For a heartier option, you can serve the rice cakes with slices of braised pork belly. The rich, tender pork pairs wonderfully with the soft texture of the rice cakes.
  5. Sweet and Sour Chicken: If you'd like to balance the savory rice cakes with a tangy dish, sweet and sour chicken is a classic choice. The vibrant flavors of the sauce complement the mild sweetness of the rice cakes.
  6. Asian Slaw: A refreshing and crunchy Asian slaw made with shredded cabbage, carrots, and a tangy dressing can add a fresh element to the meal. The contrasting textures of the slaw and the rice cakes create a nice balance.
  7. Sautéed Mushrooms: Sautéed mushrooms, such as shiitake or oyster mushrooms, can be a delicious accompaniment. Season them with garlic, soy sauce, and a touch of sesame oil for a savory and aromatic side dish.

My recommendations and tips

  1. Use High-Quality Glutinous Rice Flour: The quality of the glutinous rice flour can impact the final texture and taste of the rice cakes. Look for a reputable brand or source high-quality glutinous rice flour to achieve the best results.
  2. Knead the Dough Well: When kneading the dough, make sure to knead it thoroughly for about 5 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. This helps to develop the gluten in the dough and ensures a chewy texture.
  3. Rest the Dough: Allowing the dough to rest for 30 minutes after kneading is important. This resting period allows the gluten to relax and the dough to become more pliable and easier to work with.
  4. Flatten the Rice Cakes Uniformly: When flattening the rice cakes, aim for a consistent thickness. This will help ensure even cooking and a uniform texture throughout.
  5. Brush Sesame Oil Generously: Before steaming, make sure to brush a thin layer of sesame oil on top of each rice cake. This helps prevent sticking and adds a pleasant aroma and flavor to the final result.
  6. Steam with Care: When steaming the rice cakes, be cautious not to overcrowd them. Leave enough space between each cake to allow them to expand slightly during cooking. Overcrowding can result in uneven cooking and sticking.
  7. Adjust Steaming Time: The steaming time can vary depending on the size and thickness of the rice cakes. Start with the recommended 15-20 minutes and adjust accordingly. The rice cakes should be translucent and cooked through when ready.
  8. Serve Warm: Rice cakes are best enjoyed warm. Serve them shortly after steaming to savor their soft and chewy texture at its best.
  9. Experiment with Dipping Sauces: While soy sauce is a classic choice, feel free to explore other dipping sauces that complement the rice cakes. Consider adding a touch of vinegar, chili oil, or sesame paste to the soy sauce for additional flavor variations.
  10. Have Fun and Customize: Don't be afraid to put your own twist on the recipe. Feel free to experiment with different fillings, toppings, or variations to make the rice cakes uniquely yours.

Potential ingredients substitutes

  • Glutinous Rice Flour: If you're unable to find glutinous rice flour, you can try using regular rice flour or sweet rice flour as a substitute. However, please note that the texture of the rice cakes may differ slightly from the original recipe.
  • Sesame Oil: If you don't have sesame oil, you can use another neutral-flavored oil like vegetable or canola oil as a substitute. Keep in mind that you won't have the distinct sesame aroma and flavor, but the rice cakes will still turn out tasty.
  • Soy Sauce: Soy sauce is often served as a dipping sauce for rice cakes, but you can try other alternatives if you prefer. Tamari sauce, liquid aminos, or even hoisin sauce can provide a different flavor profile as a substitute for soy sauce.
  • Toppings and Fillings: While the basic recipe doesn't call for specific toppings or fillings, you can get creative and customize the rice cakes to your liking. Consider adding ingredients like cooked minced meat, sautéed vegetables, or even sweet fillings like red bean paste or grated coconut.

Additional note

  1. Sticky Rice vs. Glutinous Rice Flour: While the terms "sticky rice" and "glutinous rice flour" are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same. Sticky rice refers to the uncooked grains of short-grain glutinous rice, whereas glutinous rice flour is a finely ground flour made from soaked and ground glutinous rice. The recipe provided uses glutinous rice flour to make the rice cakes.
  2. Steaming Time Variation: The recommended steaming time of 15-20 minutes is an estimate. The actual cooking time may vary depending on factors such as the size and thickness of the rice cakes, the power of your steamer, and even the altitude at which you're cooking. It's a good idea to keep an eye on the rice cakes and adjust the steaming time accordingly to ensure they are fully cooked and have the desired texture.
  3. Storing and Reheating: Rice cakes are best enjoyed fresh, but if you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day or two. To reheat, you can steam them again for a few minutes until warmed through. Be careful not to over-steam them, as they may become too soft or mushy.
  4. Freezing: If you want to make a larger batch or prepare ahead of time, you can freeze the uncooked rice cake pieces. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring they don't touch each other, and freeze until firm. Then transfer the frozen rice cakes to a freezer-safe bag or container. When ready to use, you can steam them directly from frozen, adding a few extra minutes to the steaming time.
  5. Adjusting the Recipe: Feel free to adjust the recipe to suit your preferences. You can experiment with different flavors by adding spices, herbs, or other seasonings to the dough. You can also vary the size and shape of the rice cakes according to your liking.

Final Remark

Savor the essence of Din Tai Fung with this mouthwatering rice cake recipe. Elevate your culinary skills and delight your taste buds with these authentic Taiwanese treats. Enjoy the chewy texture and delicate flavors, right in the comfort of your home!

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