Xiaolongbao specialist Paradise Dynasty has saturated Singapore with 30 restaurants, rolled out across Asia and even Europe and is now set to conquer China. The deep-pocketed venture started as a humble seafood stall in 2002 and grew into an empire by elevating what was once street food fare (noodles and dumplings) through a slick commercial image and rigid quality standards.
The brand’s distinctive eye-catching specialty is their eight colour xiaolongbao(68RMB), a rainbow-hued selection of thin skinned dumplings, each with a different dough and filling. The dough is coloured only with natural ingredients, including red sorghum, carrot and spinach. For the pork, they use a premium mix of five layer pork (wuhuarou) and pork neck (meizirou) resulting in an exceedingly fragrant aroma and melting texture. The fillings include the surprisingly pleasant herbal-toned ginseng, a light foie gras and a gooey pizza-like mozzarella filled dumpling. The most intense flavours are the earthy garlic and numbing Sichuan chilli.
Paradise Dynasty have also perfected their noodles, which are served tossed with sauces and in soups; the delicate strands are made with the ideal ratio of high and low gluten flours to create an elastic bite. Top picks include the noodles with tender stewed beef brisket (50RMB) and the pork dumplings with noodles in a mild chilli sauce (45RMB).
While Din Tai Fung has an edge with its polished service, Paradise Dynasty is a worthy rival for their creative xiaolongbao.
By Crystyl Mo