Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Paradise Dynasty Xiao Long Bao, Taipei

Walking around Breeze mall at the metro / MRT Taipei City Hall exit, we came across this, suddenly and by surprise. I had actually quickly seen a photo of these colorful xiao long bao on a blog a while back but didn't have an idea of the restaurant name or location. I just had the thought in my head that it would be cool to find this place whilst in Taipei... Thus, what serendipity! 


Look at those beautiful colors - all coming from natural ingredients to create the hues (no artificial dyes / color drops). 


And there was the enticement of limited time / limited supply, complimentary durian xiao long bao with purchase of the   
vibrant eight treasures xiao long bao. My trusty travel companion was sold! 


Visual of the signature qualities of Paradise Dynasty's xiao long bao. 


Impressive store frontage. With limited real estate while walking around Taipei it is amazing to see the ingenuity and efficiency of restaurants making great use of available space to create restaurants and eating stalls. Therefore, seeing the restaurants in malls, it is wild to see the large spaces - such a contrast. 


Elaborate signage. 


Beautiful and massive dining area (this is only one section of the seating area / I think it would be considered the main part). Best part of this area is the wonderful view of the chefs at work. 


Our fancy schmancy tea pot. 


Chilled cucumber with minced garlic (are you seeing a trend here from our time at Din Tai Fung? Hehe.) 


Viking bear says yum yum to the crisp and refreshing cucumbers! 


He is especially in awe of the xiao long bao. The tray on the left are the traditional soup filled pork variety. The colorful ones on the right are the novel eight (8) treasures variety. 


This instruction was on the table explaining what each of the colorful xiao long bao was made of. The friendly and attentive wait staff also gave us a little handheld card that detailed similar information to reference as we tried the xiao long bao. We also learned that you start from the center (traditional / original flavor), working your way around the outer circle, coming to the red spicy one last. This methodology is to help you best taste and savor each of the unique flavors. 


As we only ordered only one tray of the eight treasures xiao long bao, we had to decide how to divide them up for maximum enjoyment. I was lucky to get to try the following: Beige - original pork version; Green - ginseng with spinach; Yellow - cheese; Grey - garlic; Red - spicy Szechuan sauce. I did great lifting up my first two dumplings while they were still super hot but by the third one, I sadly experienced some breakage and some of the soup leaked out. I was so nervous about my subsequent ones, I requested help to transfer them to my spoon! 


The other colors / flavors are: Brown - foie gras; Black - black truffle ; and Orange - cod roe. 

My favorites that I tried were the garlic flavored one (grey - aka: garlicky goodness!) and the spicy one (red). I feel those flavors burst from the xiao long bao in an exciting way. And the textures were really good, having a traditional feel to it with the addition of the exciting new elements. The cheese was okay - very soft and smooth, but I think I prefer my cheese on pizza ; ) versus in a xiao long bao and the green ginseng one - well, I was thinking it was supposed to be spinach flavored (somehow missed the ginseng part) and with that in mind, thought the flavor was really light and couldn't sense the spinach. Maybe had I known to watch out for the ginseng I would have been more skillful at tasting the full flavor of the green xiao long bao. And ascertaining the ginseng element. Wish I had a second chance with that one! 


Here is the tray of the original soup filled pork xiao long bao. I think these were delicious but favor the pork ones from Din Tai Fung better. So does my trusty travel companion and Viking Bear. I think we would order two of the eight treasure xiao long bao the next time we are at Paradise Dynasty and leave the pork variety for another visit to Din Tai Fung. My travel buddy is more of a knowledge Chinese food connoisseur than I and he felt the skins and flavor of these are better at Din Tai Fung. But we both enjoyed the novel and exciting element to the colorful option here! So cool and unique!  


We also got to sample the durian xiao long bao. The sign said complimentary but of limited supply and when we got to Paradise Dynasty and asked about these, we learned they were in short supply.  Luckily they were able to round up five for us to try. The photo advertisement outside the store front showed six, but we happily accepted the five. These had no soup inside and were a creamy pocket of durian fruit. The durian was really unique and fun to try, but again, I seem to like the original style texture of xiao long bao over the creamy versions. It may be the contrast or maybe I'm just stubborn and stuck in my xiao long bao ways, hehe. ; ) 


Soup - see, isn't this seemingly a repeat of the types of dishes that accompanied our xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung? 


And some views of the restaurant once it was a little more busy than when we first arrived. In addition to the busy and talented chefs, check out the wait staff outfits. I'm a fan of the period inspired frocks. 



Photos by Jules at Quirky Wanderlust. 

















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