Thursday, January 11, 2018

Paradise Just Got A Whole Lot Closer: Paradise Dynasty Opens at The Podium

You don't have to drive all the way down south for your soup dumpling fix with all eight international flavors...

It's now much closer to home. Paradise Dynasty opens its second branch at The Podium in Ortigas, and xiao long bao paradise is now a lot nearer than you think.

Paradise Dynasty, one of many culinary dining concepts from the successful Paradise Group Holdings of Singapore, brings its famous soup dumplings to the metro. Known for its Special Dynasty 8 Flavors Xiao Long Bao, Paradise Dynasty offers a whole lot more including their signature hand-pulled noodles, savory soups and hearty mains and intricate desserts. Ready for a feast?

At their newest location, we sampled their signature best-sellers along with four new dishes for a unique Paradise Dynasty experience.

And it all begins at the kitchen. Behind the glass walls, the semi-open kitchen reveals a frenetic blur of activity as the team of Paradise Dynasty's master chefs prepare and steam their signature soup dumplings.

Each steamer of Paradise Dynasty's signature Xiao Long Bao is prepared a la minute to ensure freshness. Behind the haze and bamboo steamers, the chefs delicately prepare the soup dumplings with its distinct "18-folds." It takes around fifteen minutes, give or take, for the signature soup dumplings to be served.

The Signature Original Xiao Long Bao (P 188-6 pcs/P 298-10 pcs) kicks off our feast at Paradise Dynasty, with a large steamer loaded with ten pieces of soup dumplings. Each dumpling is prepared by hand and made to order to the exacting standards of Paradise Dynasty's master chefs. From the soft yet firm dough, the flavorful broth filling and the elaborate topknot, there's a whole lot of work behind each xiao long bao.  

Each dumpling weighs in exactly at 25 grams per piece filled with the flavorful broth. With its intricate thin skin and springy texture, Paradise Dynasty has perfected the soup dumpling to a tee. The rich flavors of the broth line your palate with its richness, capped by the pronounced sharpness of the black vinegar and ginger. Enjoying your xiao long bao can be a delicate operation, and here's five simple steps:
  1. Lift it out of the steamer basket by its strongest part, the topknot (use your spoon for support if needed).
  2. Resting its back on your spoon, nibble a small hole to let out the steam.
  3. Sip the tasty soup from the spoon.
  4. Dip it gently into the dish of vinegar. Add some pickled ginger for even more flavor.
  5. And take a big bite and enjoy. Paradise Dynasty also recommends that you try the soup dumplings without ginger and vinegar to enjoy the pure flavors of the broth.

And just when you've experienced that perfect soup dumpling, Paradise Dynasty comes back to you with eight uniquely flavored dumplings to elevate your xiao long bao experience. The Special Dynasty 8 Flavors Xiao Long Bao (P 388-8 pcs) reinvents the soup dumpling with its innovative flavors, including Original, Ginseng, Foie Gras, Black Truffle, Cheesy, Crab Roe, Garlic, and Szechuan for a spicy finish.

Paradise Dynasty also recommends a preferred sequence in enjoying all eight distinct flavors, simply start with the Original flavor followed by the Ginseng, Foie Gras, Black Truffle, Cheesy, Crab Roe, Garlic, and Szechuan for a gradual progression of flavors. You'll want one bamboo steamer all to yourself.

But Paradise Dynasty has a whole lot more to offer for an epic and memorable feast...

Start your feast with Paradise Dynasty's signature beverages like the Homemade Barley Water (P 80) and Water Chestnut Drink (P 80) made with sugar cane and lemongrass. Both beverages are available either hot or cold, and it's a good idea to start with the cold drinks and end with a hot beverage.

After a few more refreshing sips of the iced Water Chestnut Drink, the four new dishes were served starting with the Kung Pau Chicken (P 298), the classic Szechuan stir-fry with tender chunks of chicken, cashews, vegetables and chili. The delicate notes of the chicken are kicked up by the chili peppers for distinctive Szechuan flavors, with the cashews adding both nutty hints and textural contrasts to complete the dish. Like all Szechuan dishes, the flavors are bold and upfront, perfect with some fried rice. 

Paradise Dynasty's Salted Egg Prawn features succulent prawns coated in everyone's favorite, salted duck egg. The briny sweetness of the prawns comes through with a flavorful punch, followed by the subtle salty and nutty notes of the salted egg for a winning combination. The saltiness of the duck egg do not overpower the delicate flavors of the prawns, allowing you to savor each distinct flavor. Light and crisp on the outside, each bite is announced by an audible snap from the prawns. Just perfect.

Don't forget your vegetables. Paradise Dynasty's Chilled Baby Spinach with Vermicelli (P 288) is a refreshing dish combining the almost minty whisper of sweetness from the chilled baby spinach with the sharp notes of a tasty vinaigrette capped by the chewy noodles. It's a dish that cleanses the palate with its fresh and clean flavors, preparing you for the next round of savory dishes at Paradise Dynasty.

At the exclusive tasting, dessert comes early with the new Charcoal Custard Lava Bun (P 188-3 pcs), pillow-soft buns with the deep hues of charcoal. But the real surprise begins with the first bite...

...releasing a thick yet velvety smooth and creamy salted egg custard. Fresh from the steamer, the warm buns are a perfect ending to a sumptuous feast at Paradise Dynasty. But there's more...

Several dishes were then served, all signature dishes and popular best-sellers like the Pork Dumpling in Hot Chili Vinaigrette (P 168-6 pcs). Steamed savory dumplings draped in rich chili sauce, just can't get better than that.

After quick work on a pair of pork dumplings, you don't even think twice about grabbing the last piece, just go for it. The savory richness of the pork is tempered by the soothing heat and mildly sour hints of the hot chili vinaigrette.  

And Paradise Dynasty has even more flavorful surprises. Paradise Dynasty's Lettuce Roll with Homemade Sesame Sauce (P 288) was a complete surprise. What else can you do with garden-fresh and crisp lettuce? You roll it up tight and serve it with a creamy sesame sauce. One bite, and a loud crunch cuts through the din and chatter. And you'll notice a clean bite, with no loose lettuce shreds. Just how they make it so crisp to cut cleanly with each bite is mystery, you just know they get their lettuce fresh. Crispy fresh.  

No meal at Paradise Dynasty is complete without their signature hand-pulled noodles with milky pork bone broth. The La Mian with Scallion (P 200) is a simple and rustic dish that highlights the noodles as the star of the dish, followed by the flavorful hints of scallions to complete the flavors. Nothing quite like hand-pulled noodles with its rich notes and springy texture.

Paradise Dynasty's Chilled Jellyfish and Seafood in Vinaigrette (P 328) offers fresh and clean flavors punctuated by the sharpness of a tart vinaigrette. The plump prawns and tender jellyfish deliver fresh and briny hints kicked up by the vinaigrette for another refreshing dish.

Roll up some savory crepes with Paradise Dynasty's Stir-Fried Shredded Pork in Black Bean Sauce served with Chinese Crepes (P 388) for sweet, salty, and savory notes all in one bite. You'll be amazed with the intense flavors coming from pork this tender, and going for seconds and thirds is easy with this dish.

Scramble Egg White with Fish and Conpoy (P 328) is another comforting dish with dried scallops and egg. Almost like a lighter version of congee, the deceptively simple dish is loaded with layers of rich flavors. Each spoonful lays on the distinct notes of eggs, fish and dried scallops for loads of umami flavors. 

And if you like it hot, Paradise Dynasty has one for the brave-hearted chili fanatics with the Poached Sliced Fish in Szechuan Chili Oil (P 788). The vibrant and vivid colors alone are enough to tell you this is one seriously spicy number. 

But then, one sip lines your palate with a deep richness followed by a lingering and soothing heat. The spice from the chili does not overwhelm the palate, but it's there, felt at the back of your throat. A few more sips leaves you pleasantly numb, but you want more of it. A bite of the melt-in-your-mouth chunks of fish adds a gentle sweetness to balance the heat. The dish definitely warms both your palate and body, but it's really more than just the spiciness. The dish delivers deep flavors, and the spice is just one layer in this flavorful dish.

After a spicy finish, desserts are a welcome treat. Paradise Dynasty's Radish Pastry (P 138-3 pcs) feature lightly crisp and intricately layered shells generously stuffed with a sweet radish filling that's perfect with a hot Water Chestnut Drink or tea.  

But there's more. Paradise Dynasty's Steamed Glutinous Rice Stuffed in Red Dates (P 238) are tasty yet sweet and indulgent little bites made with real dates for a soft and chewy dessert. The Pan-Fried Pumpkin Pastry (P 138) has a soft yet chewy texture similar to tikoy or nian gao, capped by the nutty sweetness of pumpkin.

And finally, the Pan-Fried Pancake with Red Bean Paste (P 168) caps a memorable feast at Paradise Dynasty. Not too sweet, perfect with hot tea.

A couple of steamers with Paradise Dynasty's signature Xiao Long Bao and signature dishes, paradise just got closer to home. Now with branches down south and up north of the metro, you're never too far from soup dumpling paradise and Paradise Dynasty.

Paradise Dynasty is located at the Second Floor, The Podium, ADB Avenue, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City or call 682-3333 for inquiries and reservations.

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