Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Paradise Dynasty, Legend of Xiao Long Bao Now in Manila

From the moment I have started blogging and writing about the food that I have eaten, Xiao Long Bao had been one amongst the most illustrious.  Though it was not my intention to enlist a couple of places on where to go to try Manila's best-selling xiao long baos, I did try some of them and have blogged about such places.  Since then, more and more foodie-welcoming establishment have popped up and have delighted xiao long bao lovers, from the traditional to the Michelin-Starred restaurants.

This time, another one have established it's home and with the majestic view of the Manila Bay.  

Paradise Dynasty was a brand created by the Paradise Group of Singapore.  With ten different restaurant concepts across Asia, awards and accolades since 2011, who would dare say no to an invitation to try it.

Located at the posh and spanking new mall/hotel just beside SM Mall of Asia and SMX, S Maison at Conrad Hotel, it is touted to be the next business and family dining destination.

And yes, they made Xiao Long Bao an art and they have been so serious about it.

The place looks fancy but it doesn't mean to intimidate you.  It's a casual dining establishment and you can just walk in the mall and expect to be seated as soon as possible, but of course, it may be a bit of a hassle during weekends, lunches and dinner time as people have started knowing the legend that is - Manila's only rainbow-colored XLB.

On your way to be seated, you will pass by their kitchen which is divided by a glass wall and you can see how their dumplings and noodles are being prepared.

Probably the most beautifully-ornated walls I have ever seen.  These wooden-carved lanterns are bewitching.  

To get yourself started, order their Jasmine tea by the teapot.

If you opt to get a cold beverage, let me suggest the Water Chestnut Drink (P 80).  It's just a mildly-sweetened drink, but definitely a refreshing one.

An order of the "first-of-its-kind" eight-flavored XLB is a must! Each colored XLB is designated with a flavor for each color.  A basket of these costs P 388.  These soupy dimsums are tinted with natural plant-based pigments and eating these also comes with a technique.  You begin with the traditional-flavored XLB which is the white one in the middle and up to the spiciest and and uncanniest flavor, below are the flavors and a guide on what to start and end with.

Traditional (Original)

Enjoy these traditional xiao long bao featuring fresh pork filling in a sweet soup broth

Ginseng (Green)

Relish the soothing herbal goodness of this ginseng and pork soup dumpling

Foie Gras (Brown)

A touch of French luxury is married perfectly with this traditional Chinese delicacy

Black Truffle (Black)

Feast on the unmistakable plush aroma and taste of black truffle in this luxurious treat

Cheese (Yellow)

A novel combination that features the silkiness of cheese – a sure hit with all ages *yellow

Crab Roe (Orange)

These morsels are infused with pork and delicate crab roe

Garlic (Grey)

A simple twist on the traditional xiao long bao by just adding fragrant garlic

Szechuan (Red)

Spice up your palate with the subtle heat from a touch of chilli oil and peppercorns

Of course, an obligatory shot with my newly-favored XLB.

You can order the basket by flavor in 10's, if you don't want to try them all.

My favorite flavor, may not come as a surprise to you, if you know me that much - black truffle.

This place is indeed a paradise as its name suggests, with their menu comes so fresh and rich with contrasting flavors and textures that simply disguises as good food.

Would you think this delicate pastry is named as Radish Puff Pastry (P 138/3pcs)?

If you haven't been eating your veggies, you may not know that radish tends to go sweet when cooked.  So, in the middle of this baked puff pastry are shredded radish that has been lightly seasoned.

Another dimsum you shouldn't miss is the Pork Dumpling with Hot Chili Vinaigrette (PHP 168/6 pcs).  You won't need to dip your "siomai" in the chili garlic sauce anymore as this comes served in  it's own chili sauce.  Also, the pork inside is studded with cilantro giving it a different take on the usual comfort street food.

Okay, I just posted this one cause of the lovely bowl it is served with.  This personal chicken soup is just like our Tinola or the gingery Hainanese chicken broth.  

This huge (and really pretty) bowl of Poached Beef in Szechuan Oil (PHP 688) will come as a hot surprise, so better prepare your taste buds for it.  You probably would have guess it upon seeing the tiny red logs strewn in the thickened broth, yes, they are what they are, red eye chilli peppers.  If you are into spicy food, and Szechuan dishes, this is for you.  However, the beef strips are quite taking note of.

If you ordered the spicy soup (or if planning to order so), I would suggest you to have these as well to help you ease out your palates and balance the flavor, Lettuce Roll with Homemade Sesame Sauce (P180).

I never realized that salads can be plated in this way, which actually is fascinating (I can't help but try to do this at home...).  The lettuce (cold) were rolled into cigars and eaten dipped in the sesame-infused mayo dressing.

When I said contrasting flavors, I meant it, from the uber-spicy sauce down to this cold plate of Stir Fried River Shrimp with Garden Greens (PHP 488).  Simply-flavored dishes can also be highlights of every meals, this one serves as an example.

 After savoring some of the Chilled Sliced Pork (PHP 230), I couldn't help but wonder Chinese pork dishes can be innovated.  This one is inspired from delis, again rolled with cucumbers and served with chili garlic sauce.  I could eat this again and again, as the pork is so tender and not overwhelmingly salty like the usual bacon culprits.

Another pork served so interestingly is the Stir-fried Shredded Pork in Black Bean Sauce served with Chinese Crepes (P288).

What we thought at first as thick noodles served in brown sauce are actually tender pork shreds, which you need to spoon over a thin rice flour crepe.

As our meal gets to the next level and the next, this unassuming plate of Scrambled Egg White with Fish and Conpoy (P328) landed on our table.

What I like about this dish is the backstory that comes with it.  According to the owner's (and chef) story, this dish was made prior to a royalty's craving for crab meat which was not on season.  The cook was left with no option but to create something to mimic the crab stick.  With egg whites flavored with conpoy, a Japanese flavoring made from dried scallops, came forth this sort of congee.

 If you want something sweet but not just in time for dessert, may I suggest Rice Stuffed in Red Date (PHP 230).

Another carbo-loader that's worth ordering is their Shanghai Rice, that didn't skimp on quality ingredients.  In other restaurants serving this, you can actually count and remember the number of shrimps or salient ingredients in an order, here you actually get loads of shrimps, and the flavor is top-notch.

Deep Fried Garlic Pork Ribs (P338) partners perfectly with the Shanghai Rice.

The menu is very impressive as it cover's everything from appetizers of cold dishes, soup, hot main dishes, noodles, desserts and beverages.  Hence, Paradise Dynasty also pays homage to old tradition by unveiling their own version of La Mian (hand-pulled noodles) and Signature Pork Bone Soup which is milky and subtly creamy.  Above is their meatless La Mian , Scallion (Dry) (P 200), which is served separate it's soup.

Dessert can be as a treat as their La Mian and flavored Xioa Long Baos.

I was able to try three of them and above is the Pan-fried Pancake with Red Bean Paste (P 168).  Even without being oily, this sugar encrusted fried pancake is crispy and the red bean paste is enough to remove any meaty or savory after-tastes.

When in doubt about having dessert here order Glutinous Rice Ball topped with Grated Nuts (Php 138).

Every gelatinous bite just knocks you off your feet, a true play of different mouth-feel, as the fine grated roasted peanuts gives off a grainy texture.  It's like mochi but more tender.

Granting you needed more sugar boosting the Chilled Glutinous Rice Roll with Red Bean Paste topped with Grated Nuts (P128) would be just right.  It's a delicate roll of silkened glutinous rice made into "jelly roll" with red bean paste on the middle.

What's to like in their dessert menu is that it's not overwhelmingly sweet, their delicate so you can have more, that is, if you're not full with the fantastic dishes I shared with you.

So, if you want to impress someone over some Singaporean faves, or you, yourself want to be impressed, then this is the place.  However, this doesn't mean you have to spend a lot! *wink*


Address:  2F S Maison at the Conrad,
                Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
Official website:

Paradise Dynasty Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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