Having researched the history of Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 (I read the relevant bits of their website) it struck me that this restaurant came about not by grand design, but by chance. After all, if Yang Bingyi's cooking oil business hadn't taken a turn for the worse then he may never have opened a restaurant specialising in xiao long bao (小籠包).
The first branch of Din Tai Fung opened in 1980 in Taipei, and for many years the restaurant operated solely in the Taiwanese capital. It wasn't until 1996 that the first branch outside Taiwan opened in Tokyo, and this was followed by a first one outside Asia in Los Angeles in 2000.
Perhaps most significantly, though, was the opening of the first branch in Mainland China in Shanghai in 2001. After all, Yang was born in China, and Shanghai is home to the Din Tai Fung's signature dish of xiao long bao.
Expansion has continued judiciously, in order to maintain quality control, and as of February 2012, Din Tai Fung operates 68 restaurants across 11 countries. In addition to Taiwan (7 restaurants), there are branches in the following countries: China (15), Japan (12), Singapore (12), Indonesia (7), South Korea (4), Australia (3), Malaysia (3), Hong Kong (2), USA (2), and most recently Thailand (1).
You will note that most of the branches are in Asia but the fact that Din Tai Fung operates restaurants in Los Angeles, Seattle and Sydney gives me hope that they will open in the UK. After all, there was talk a few years back of branches opening in London and Paris.
The Food of Din Tai Fung
Fans of Din Tai Fung