Paradise Dynasty opened its doors in September this year with the launch of the multi-coloured Xiao Long Baos. Noted as the World’s First, a smorgasbord of different flavours represented by different hues are available. Apart from the steamed pork dumplings with a soupy interior, the restaurant also has a wide range of la-mians, appetizers, shanghai dumplings, fried dishes and desserts on the menu. And with prices surprisingly affordable, I was all set to go and tickle my tastebuds with hopefully tasty xiao long baos.
Eight distinct flavours can be ordered, and for those interested in trying each creation, a tasting basket can be ordered. The coloured breakdown are as follows,
- Orange – Steamed Shanghai Crab Roe Pork Dumpling : I think the two different regions of seafood and pork are each trying to outperform the other in taste.
- Pink – Steamed Shanghai Szechuan Pork Dumpling : An original with a slightly sour interior.
- Grey – Steamed Shanghai Garlic Pork Dumpling : Not too overpowering in taste. nice.
- Green – Steamed Shanghai Ginseng Pork Dumpling : A little bitter with a sweet aftertaste, it was quite soothing to the bite.
- Yellow – Steamed Shanghai Cheesy Pork Dumpling : Strong salty umami flavours filled the dumpling
- Brown – Steamed Shanghai Foie Gras Pork Dumpling : A little more creamy than the original, with subtle flavours of the fattened goose liver.
- Black – Steamed Shanghai Black Truffle Pork Dumpling : Earthy textures and flavour add a distinct note in this dumpling but not with it leaving a tantalizing aftertaste.
- White – Steamed Shanghai Pork Dumpling : Rich porky goodness
Personally, I found the xiao long baos to be stronger tasting with a generally saltier flavour and the ratio of “special” ingredient to the meat is higher than those found in Din Tai Fung. While I would say that the ‘soup’ within and meat is compelling for the next bite, I found the skin to be a little dry for my liking especially at the tip which was slightly hard.
It was a good exposure to the different flavours and quite decent for the price of $13.80.
I also ordered a basket of Original Shanghai Xiao Long Bao. $6.80 for 6. Comparatively, I still like Din Tai Fung’s Xiao Long Bao as it looks more refined and it also carries a flavour which I feel is not too strong but deceptively tasty to want even more.
The first appetizer that arrived was the Drunken Chicken ($7). Doused in wine and smothered with a little sauce, the chicken pieces were generally tender, and silky smooth. I especially enjoyed the skin as the fattiness gelled very well with the alcoholic sauce.
Irresistibly, a serving of Braised Pork Belly ($12) was called for. Served in 6 chunky pieces, the portion was well done with the fatty section being a melt-in-the-mouth wonder while the lean meat required a touch of chewing to break into the juicy interior. The sauce is also smooth and a well complement to the meat.
The Chilled Assorted Eggs Loaf in Yang Zhou Style ($6) was one dish that attracted me into the restaurant. The blend of colours from the salted egg, century egg marbled within an egg white structure is a beauty itself. Flavour wise, the taste was pretty even with no overpowering flavours. Decent, holding onto the name, its as good as it looks.
I also ordered the La Mian with Dan Dan Sauce ($7). The noodles were thin, long, slightly chewy yet with a texture that calls for it to be savoured. Nicely done. For the sauce itself, I would have to say that the Dynasty Paradise offers the stronger vinegar variety, and less spicy than what I would have preferred.
The Deep Fried Diced Chicken in Szechuan style ($10) was more dried chilli than chicken pieces. The meat itself was crisp and generously salted for flavour. Good, though I think that $10 does not justify the portion.
The portion of dishes at Paradise Dynasty were smaller than expected, so I felt it would be a fitting excuse to try out even more dishes. Shanghai dumplings were on the menu next.
First up, Deep Fried Scallion Pastry ($2.80 for 2). For a pastry, this is one juicy and savoury creation. Flaky and crispy on the outside, the chives were obviously well seasoned and the dish well cooked to retain the contrasting texture. An instant favourite.
The Radish Pastry ($3.60 for 3) is also well done. Maybe its my peculiar penchant for all things savoury, but the radish pastry was juicy and tender within. Another instant favourite.
The Steamed Tianjin Bun ($3.80 for 3). I wish I could say more about the exterior, but descriptively, the skin is smooth and soft, not dry and something I enjoy of freshly steamed buns.
The interior of a tianjin bun.
From left : Crispy Spring Roll, Pan Fried Pumpkin Pastry, Souffle Egg White Balls stuffed with Red bean and Banana
The Crispy Spring Roll unfortunately was a tad too oily for my liking. While I cannot deny a tasty filling, very very crispy skin, the oil just beckons me to avoid it too much. ($4.50 for 3)
The Pan Fried Pumpkin Pastry looks quite ordinary but the slightly sticky and firm texture coupled with the scent of sweetness throughout was a well thought out dessert. ($3.00 for 3)
A name that long had to be good, but the Souffle Egg White Balls stuffed with Read Bean and Banana, was requested to be sent back to the kitchen on the first serve. Surprisingly, one of the balls was flattened almost like a pancake. But kudos to the staff for changing the serving. The combination of red bean and banana is a beautiful marriage of slightly different textures and levels of sweetness. Take that and a egg white souffle as a casing, the dish becomes a bite worthy of remembering. ($4.50 for 3)
The final dessert of Glutinous Rice Dumpling served in Ginger Soup ($3.20 for 2 pieces) was very spicy. While I love my tang yuans, the ginger soup level of spiciness was enough to cleanse all previous tastes and flavours to a neutral agreement. The tang yuan itself was soft with decent portions of filling.
Paradise Dynasty heralds itself as the Legend of Xiao Long Bao. The variety of 8 unique flavours is probably its main attraction, though I have to admit its finesse and skill on a personal preference level still has some way to go. The prices for its dishes are within the affordable range and the variety well deserving of a fine restaurant in the Orchard scene. Yet while all is good, I still might gripe a little about the portion size, inconsistent service standards amongst staff who could be better trained to observe the guests needs and orders, and some charges which I did not know about until paying the bill. Other than that this place may be my next stop if I ever have the foie gras xiao long bao crave.
Do take note that each customer is levied an additional $1.20 for service and tea on top of the service charge and GST.
2 Orchard Turn
Tel : 6509 9118 Mon–Fri: 11am – 10pm
Sat–Sun & PH: 10am – 10pm