The Multi-colored Xiao Long Bao Isn’t The Only Reason To Dine At Paradise Dynasty
When Paradise Dynasty first opened in S Maison Conrad last year, it gained a following for its technicolor xiao long bao that soon populated our Instagram feeds. Last December, this Singapore-based restaurant that specializes in northern and southern Chinese cuisine opened its second branch in the newly refurbished Podium Mall in Ortigas Center.
At Paradise Dynasty, what you’ll notice as soon as you open the menu is that you’re not in familiar Cantonese lauriat territory anymore. Sure, there’s the requisite Hot and Sour Soup, Crispy Sweet and Sour Pork, and Yang Zhou Fried Rice, but you’ll be well served to break away from the familiar to explore dishes from China’s other regions that showcase the breadth and sophistication of its cuisines.
Crispy-fried Crystal Prawns tossed with Salted Egg Yolk
The restaurant’s most famous dish is the Signature Original Xiao Long Bao, steamed soup dumplings thought to originate from Shanghai. While several establishments in the metro have gotten their fair share of raves for their own versions, Paradise Dynasty’s dumplings don’t disappoint as the chefs have mastered that balance between delicate wrapper and flavor-intense broth inside. The chefs then take the xiao long bao to another level with their Special Dynasty 8 Flavors Xiao Long Bao—eight boldly colored soup dumplings in original, cheese, foie gras, crab roe, garlic, black truffle, ginseng, and spicy Szechuan flavors. The waitstaff recommended we sample them from lightest in flavor (the original) to most intense (the Szechuan), each giving a jolt of umami balanced out by the dumplings’ rich broth.
Pork Dumplings in Hot Chili Vinaigrette
Kung Pao Chicken
Charcoal Custard Lava Buns
While the xiao long bao, whether the Original or Special, are a must-order, don’t stop there by any means. Proceed with the comforting hand-pulled La Mian Noodles in Pork Bone Broth, as well as the Pork Dumplings in Hot Chili Vinaigrette, satisfyingly spicy with a touch of tanginess. You can’t go wrong with the Kung Pao Chicken with its familiar sweet, sticky sauce, or the Stir-fried Shredded Pork in Black Bean Sauce served with Chinese crepes. Of course, always popular are the salted egg dishes, whether the crispy Salted Egg Prawns or pillow-soft Charcoal Custard Lava Buns hiding a creamy salted egg custard inside.
Scramble Egg White with Fish and Conpoy
Pan-fried Pumpkin Pastry
Perhaps not as familiar on standard Chinese menus are the surprisingly good Lettuce Rolls—a different take on fresh salad or a raw veggie dip—with crisp lettuce leaves rolled into cigars to be dipped into a sweet-ish homemade sesame sauce. Scramble Egg White with Fish and Conpoy is an unctuous porridge, enriched with egg yolk that you break and mix in, punctuated by scallions and dried scallops. The restaurant also serves a traditional Szechuan dish not usually seen in restaurants here—tongue-numbing Poached Sliced Fish in Szechuan Chili Oil cooked with loads of chilies, spices, herbs, and other mystery ingredients to create layer upon complex layer of flavor, not to mention a stealthy spiciness not for the faint of heart. The desserts are a discovery as well, especially the fried pastries, whether the slightly chewy, biscuit-like Pan-fried Pumpkin Pastry or the Pan-fried Pancake with Red Bean Paste.
From start to finish, Paradise Dynasty offers an extensive menu of showstoppers, from Shanghainese dimsum to fiery Szechuan, that goes beyond our typical Chinese food experience.
Level 2, S Maison at Conrad Manila, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, (02) 828-8333 2/F, The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City, (02) 682-3333 IG @paradisedynastyp