Before a small crowd of flashing cameras, curious onlookers and hungry attendees, the men stuffed and artfully hand-folded the dumplings with tiny twists.
Soon after, out they came from bamboo steamers during a small gathering Monday afternoon at South Coast Plaza that served as a preview for Din Tai Fung, the Chinese restaurant set to open in the Costa Mesa shopping center in spring 2014.
The restaurant, renowned for its dumplings, will take up a nearly 8,000-square-foot space near the Sears wing. It will absorb the second-floor space prevously occupied by McDonald's, which closed July 7. The 4,000-square-foot fast-food joint, which has maintained a South Coast Plaza presence since 1981, may reopen elsewhere in the center.
Officials said Din Tai Fung is not being designed to replace the Rainforest Cafe, as was previously reported. The jungle-themed restaurant, which opened in 1997, also closed July 7. Its lease was not renewed.