Get assaulted with flavours at Paradise Dynasty
Bangkok's feisty dining scene is like a wuxia film in which martial artists (restaurants) fight each other to be the top dog of the land with their super-human moves. Venues need to have killer dishes in order to survive in this town as well as bragging swagger to compete in the verbal game.
BonChon makes you remember their tasty Korean fried chicken. You've probably lost many hours queuing up for a taste of Honey toast at After You while the brand new Maisen in Central Silom Complex can't brag about its tonkatsu sandwiches enough.
Recently entering this highly competitive arena, new contender Paradise Dynasty makes no secret that it aims to kick their competitors butts with its signature xiao long bao and other punchy Chinese recipes. It's the first branch of Singaporean franchise Paradise Group in Thailand, brought to you by a Thai businessman.
Decor-wise, Paradise Dynasty comes across as Chinese in a modern and stripped way without over-the-top embellishments like lanterns or statues of mythical creatures. A tea master wearing attire reminiscent of t'ai chi master in Lumpini Park will pour you a fresh brew from his long-necked teapot (don't forget to ask him to pose when you snap a photo of him), while the waiters don shiny robes like wushu apprentices.
There's a single round table placed under a Chinese pavilion if you plan to host a family get-together before everyone goes on their separate vacations during Christmas and New Year. If your family is nuclear, then there are plenty of tables for four to choose from. The venue feels airy and bright with a ceiling so high you could fit a dragon beneath it. The restaurant isn't exactly an enclosure, though. It's poised behind an escalator in a space big enough for some kung fu sparring.
One dish that could please everyone is Signature Dynasty dumplings (B285; prices subject to tax and service charge). In one basket, you'll get eight steaming flavours of xiao long bao - justifying all the times your ama taught you to pick up a pea with chopsticks. You pick up each delicate dumpling with chopsticks, put it on a spoon, and break the dough with chopsticks to let the hot soup inside flow out.
Of the eight flavours offered, go original and juicy with Steamed Shanghai pork dumpling. Steamed Shanghai garlic pork dumpling is more pungent but still delightful. Try the ginseng pork dumpling if you want something with a herbal touch while the Szechuan pork flavour should please lovers of spicy food. However, not all of the eight dumplings are aces in my book. The cheesy pork dumpling tastes like a failed 7-Eleven snack prototype. Each flavour is also available as a basket of six pieces (B145-B235) or 10 (B195-B345).
Chilled jellyfish with assorted seafood & Pork dumpling with hot chilli sauce & La mian stir-fried with shredded black fungus and minced pork
Chilled jellyfish with assorted seafood (B185) initially delivers a bouncy texture and refreshing feel. It then wins you over completely with fresh shrimps and spicy dressing.
Pork dumpling with hot chilli sauce (B125 per six pieces) offers juicy and salty pork inside a soft dough sheet. The aromatic sauce and garnish on top add more punch to this heavyweight dish.
La mian with dried shrimp and scallion (B145) may cause a slurping frenzy especially if you like your food salty. It offers smooth and slender noodles in a pork and chicken broth.
La mian with dried shrimp and scallion
You may have eaten many dishes that are similar to La mian stir-fried with shredded black fungus and minced pork (B195) before. However, unlike some of them, this dish isn't overcooked or oily. The vegetables are still crisp and the noodle doesn't lump into a ball of mess.
Dessert doesn't have to always be sweet and cold. Souffle egg white balls stuffed with red bean and banana (B95 per three pieces) combines hotness and sweetness instead. They are delightful but, perhaps, too heavy to end a meal.
Most of dumplings I tried are rightfully hailed as the killer plays of Paradise Dynasty while La mian dishes follow closely behind. The pricing is reasonable by Siam Paragon standards. Besides lovers of Chinese food, fans of xiao long bao who've visited Din Tai Fung and Shanghai Xiao Long Pao should also go to Paradise Dynasty to at least complete their dumpling album on Facebook, while enjoying the fighting flavours on offer as well.
Food Passage on 4th, 4/F, Siam Paragon,
991/1 Rama 1 Road
Chilled jellyfish with assorted seafood
About the author
- Writer: Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
Position: Guru Reporter