When it comes to xiao long bao in the Philippines, it’s hard to top the Singaporean import Paradise Dynasty. The restaurant is known for its eight-flavored xiao long bao, where you can feast on dumplings with flavors like ginseng, garlic, black truffle, cheese, crab roe, foie gras, and Szechuan. And if you think that it’s the star of the restaurant, think again. There’s a lot of dishes to choose from and they’re all winners!
I recently had lunch there and got to taste 21 different dishes. It was overwhelming but there were dishes that stood out. Here’s what I thought of the food at Paradise Dynasty:
8-Flavored Xiao Long Bao
Of course, Paradise Dynasty is known for its Eight-Flavored Xiao Long Bao (P388) so you can’t miss it. You can order it as a set of all flavors, a set of the original (P188 for 6pcs / P298 for 10pcs), or a set of one flavor (P230 to P330 for 6pcs). I suggest getting one of everything so you can taste the variety!
You’re supposed to eat Paradise Dynasty’s xiao long bao in order of the flavor’s intensity: start with the original (white) then go for the ginseng (green), foie gras (brown), black truffle (black), cheesy (yellow), crab roe (orange), garlic (gray), then the Szechuan (red). You can really taste the dumplings’ distinct flavors, and some of my favorites are the original, black truffle, crab roe, and garlic!
To eat the xiao long bao, simply lift it out of the steamer by its topknot, which is handmade with 18 pinches. Place it on your spoon and poke a small hole to let the steam out. Drink the soup then gently dip it in vinegar and ginger. Paradise Dynasty advises that you eat the xiao long bao without dipping it so you can try the whole flavor.
We started our meal with some dimsum and I loved the Charcoal Custard Lava Bun (P188). It has a unique flavor because the bun itself is sweet but the custard inside is made of salted egg yolk. It’s gooey, it’s runny, and I love it. This is only available in the Podium branch.
We also tried the Pan-Fried Pork Dumplings (P138), which is like the xiao long bao because it also has soup inside. Eat it the same way as the xiao long bao: poke a hole, drink the broth, then eat the dumpling. It’s just as delicious, too, except this one has a smoky flavor because it’s fried.
The Pork Dumpling in Hot Chili Vinaigrette (P168) is the spicy version so you’ll enjoy it if you like eating spicy dishes.
Rounding out our dimsum course was the Radish Pastry (P138), a surprisingly light dish with warm, shredded radish wrapped in a crusty pastry. It’s almost like a dessert because of its sweetness.
Our next dish was the Steamed Glutinous Rice Stuffed in Red Dates (P238). It’s sweet, too, but I guess it counts as an appetizer because it’s made of sticky rice. It’s quite addictive and I had to stop myself from popping one piece into my mouth after another.
Next was the Lettuce Roll with Homemade Sesame Sauce (P288). I like it because it’s so simple yet presented in a unique way. Lettuce leaves are tightly rolled and you can dip it in the sesame sauce. I love sesame sauce so I enjoyed eating this one, too. I think I’m going to start making these at home.
I also enjoyed the Chilled Baby Spinach with Vermicelli (P288) and I think those who like vegetables will like it, too.
Another favorite appetizer was the Chilled Tofu with Century Egg (P188). I like tofu in general and I liked the sweet sauce that was draped over the dish.
We closed the appetizers with the curious Chilled Jellyfish and Seafood in Vinaigrette (P328). I’ve never tried jellyfish before so it was quite the experience eating the chewy meat that almost looked like pasta. It went well with the vinaigrette.
For hot dishes, we started with the Stir-Fried Shredded Pork in Black Bean Sauce Served with Chinese Crepes (P388). It can be laborious to prepare the crepes yourself but it was well worth the effort. The crepe cut through the pork’s flavors and it can be a palate cleanser as you transition between dishes.
I enjoyed the Kung Pao Chicken (P298) because it’s generously mixed with cashew nuts (my fave), vegetables, and chili peppers. I liked it so much that I kept getting even if I don’t eat spicy food.
One of my favorites for the entire meal was the Stir-Fried Beef with Scallion (P388). They’re thinly-prepared and are so soft that they almost melt in your mouth. I don’t even remember chewing them!
Another favorite was the Crispy-Fried Crystal Prawns Tossed with Salted Egg Yolk (P588). I like prawns and the salted egg trend so I was happy to see that the prawns were huge and they were thickly coated with salted egg. Yum! This is only availabe in Podium, though.
The dish was balanced by the Scrambled Egg White with Fish and Conpoy (P328). Conpoy is a type of scallop and it added flavor to the porridge dish.
Capping off our hot dishes was the Stir-Fried French Bean with Minced Pork (P238). Don’t be fooled by the simple combination. The dish is flavorful.
We only had one dish from the Szechuan Cuisine: the Poached Slice Fish in Szechuan Chili Oil (P788). It came in a huge bowl so one was enough for our group. You can choose the spiciness level and our host chose “less spicy.” Even if it was toned down, I still found it incredibly hot. One sip was enough for me! It tasted faintly like star anise so if that’s your thing, go get this bowl. It’s quite popular.
Because I skipped the spicy noodle dish, I stuck with the La Mian with Scallion (Dry) (P200), a dry noodle dish that you can dip in a broth simmered in a low fire for 12 hours. It’s a light noodle dish and the soup is milky. I definitely had seconds.
Desserts are a favorite so I looked forward to trying out their sweet treats. We had the Pan-Fried Pancake with Red Bean Paste (P168). The pancake was richly-filled with the paste, making it a decadent dessert.
By contrast, the Pan-Fried Pumpkin Pastry (P138) was light yet was packed with flavor. It’s a good way to end the meal.
The S Maison and Podium branches of Paradise Dynasty may look intimidating because of its opulent decor, but the food is surprisingly reasonably priced. You can come in for a hearty snack of the 8-flavored xiao long bao (you can get two orders if you’re eating with a friend so you can try all eight flavors) or a heavy meal. For recommendations, I advise you go with the xiao long bao, the Charcoal Custard Lava Bun, Stir-Fried Beef with Scallion, and the Crispy-Fried Crystal Prawns. For dessert, pick either of the Pan-Fried Pancake with Red Bean Paste or the Pan-Fried Pumpkin Pastry.
Address: 2/F, S Maison, Conrad Hotel, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
Telephone: +632 828-8333 / 838-8333
Address: 2/F, The Podium, 18 ADB Ave, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City