Paradise Dynasty Takes the Humble Xiao Long Bao to a Different Level

Specialty Dynasty Xiao Long bao (8 flavors) Php388

Filipinos are used to seeing xiao long bao dumplings in the menus of high end restaurants in the country. However, these popular chain brands aren’t the be-all and end-all of this widely popular dumpling.

Having travelled to China several times over the past decade, I was fortunate enough to visit the origins of this humble soup dumpling. The original sites in Guyi Garden and Yu Garden in Shanghai are simple, no-frill affairs. The dumplings are cheap and are often enjoyed in a paper box while walking around the sprawling gardens. There’s nothing fancy about them.

This is why I’ve always had an aversion towards Michelin-starred fancy schmancy xiao long bao. Admittedly, I had my reservations when I first heard about the specialty XLB offered by PARADISE DYNASTY. After all, many of the other popular chain restaurants have not lived up to the ones I have eaten in the suburbs of Shanghai.

Nevertheless, I am not one to turn down the chance to taste a new variety of one of my favorite dishes. To cut the story short, I was pleasantly surprised and extremely impressed.

Signature Original Xiao Long Bao (Php188/6 pcs, Php298/10pcs)

Let’s start with the SIGNATURE ORIGINAL XIAO LONG BAO. I don’t care what those other fancy places say, the skin of this dumpling should not be extremely thin. Just like the ones from the streets of Shanghai, the ones from Paradise Dynasty still have a certain heft left in them.

A close look at one signature dumpling.

They are substantial without being too thick. They are also strong enough to stay intact even if an amateur picks them up clumsily with chopsticks. Never again will I be paying insane amounts for paper-thin dumplings that leave me wanting. Luckily, Paradise Dynasty found the perfect ratio between dumpling wrapper, meat filling and soup.

Each dumpling yields a spoonful of flavorful broth.

Speaking of soup, many restaurants that offer XLB leave me disappointed when I bite into their dry dumplings. This is the result of a bad wrapper that absorbed all the moisture or one that broke while cooking and ended up letting all the juice out. Others also break so easily as you try to pick them up.

Here in PARADISE DYNASTY, each one of the embarrassingly many pieces of dumplings that I picked up remained intact. Each one yielded a full soup spoon’s worth of broth. Amazing!

Best enjoyed with sliced ginger and black vinegar, I can easily sit through several steamer baskets of this treat!

Specialty Xiao Long Bao Basket

Moving on from the basics, PARADISE DYNASTY is famous for their specialty flavored xiao long bao. These are served in a basket of eight assorted dumplings. I recommend having these without the black vinegar so that you can really taste the subtle changes in flavor. The restaurant also gives each diner a guide on which one to eat first. The flavors supposedly develop as you go along.

Eat your specialty xiao long bao in the proper order according to this guide.

You’re supposed to start with the original xiao long bao and work your way through ginseng, foie gras, black truffle, cheesy, crab roe, garlic and finally the szechuan flavored XLB.

My personal favorites are the garlic and black truffle flavored ones. Each one is amazing but you also have the option to order just a batch full of your favorite flavor. This restaurant turned me into a believer even if I used to be an original (unflavored) XLB purist.

You know what’s even more amazing about PARADISE DYNASTY? Every single food item that I tried here tasted phenomenal. I know that I have been blabbing about xiao long bao here but seriously, there’s so much more that this restaurant has to offer. I’ll tell you more about it in the next installment.

Meanwhile, check out their full menu and other reviews on Zomato:
Paradise Dynasty Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato