I first went to Paradise Dynasty when I was in Singapore – the famous 8 flavours xiao long bao – original, garlic, ginseng, foie gras, black truffle, cheese, crab roe, and Szechuan. Those that are not familiar with Paradise Dynasty, it is quite similar to Din Tai Fung only better in my opinion – menu options are definitely more vast and it has finally opened in Hong Kong, in Lee Theatre in Causeway Bay.
I was beyond excited to try – I have been wanting to have the 8 flavoured xiao long bao for a while now and at the moment, they have a promotion, when you order the 8 flavoured xiao long bao, take a photo and either up load it to Facebook / instagram and you receive a free DURIAN xiao long bao – now don’t knock it until you have tried it! It’s GOOD!
We started with the obvious – the one thing we were here for. Start with the original (the middle xiao long bao), then garlic, eat clock wise and end with the pink – szechuan one. Unfortunately the pink xiao long bao, didn’t turn out to be pink! We wondered if they have given us two of the same colour – but alas – no.. it was right.
Now, to eat the xiao long bao – here’s a little instruction, make a tiny hole, let the juice out into the spoon, dip the bao in vinegar, and put it back on the spoon and eat it together! That way you won’t lose any of the juices!
We ordered some hand made noodles and boiled chicken for Dragon, the noodles she absolutely loved! ‘The Mother’ also enjoyed it.
I have been craving sweet and sour pork – surprisingly this was quite tasty. The pork tender and sauce wasn’t sickly sweet.
‘The Mother’ has been craving Szechuan fish – oh my, it was so red I had sweats dripping down my face. Thankfully you can decide how many chills you want – one, two or three! The fish was delicious and thankfully we only picked one chili which made it bare able!
Now the dessert I have been waiting for – DURIAN xiao long bao! I wasn’t sure what to expect – warm durian? would it be nice – oddly it was and I really enjoyed it. You could smell the durian flavour – ‘The Mother’ who doesn’t like durian was fleeing away already. Dragon on the other hand… couldn’t help but have one or two durian xiao long bao – that’s my girl!
Service was friendly and polite. The restaurant was a lot bigger than I anticipated. We rocked up at 11.35am and there were already people queuing. We didn’t have to wait for long. Food came relatively quickly, except for the durian xiao long bao which took a while but well worth the wait!
Definitely keen to go back, this time with a larger group of people so we can try more things!
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
Lee Theatre, 6th Floor
Ph: +852 2177 0903
It’s definitely been a while since my last post – apologies for being MIA! It’s been a hectic couple of weeks – my family are in town, work was a tad crazy and we went to Korea for a week. Loved Seoul – the food, the shopping – am definitely keen to go back again sometimes soon.
Dragon also turned 2 last week and we had a birthday party for her, so trying to organise that and everything else, the blog got a little neglected. Hopefully things will get back to normal and there will be more posts to come, especially about Seoul and the food there.
Dragon and I went to Seoul with my family, unfortunately, ‘The Mother’ couldn’t go due to work commitments. We were there for 5 days and believe me that was not long enough! Stayed at the Fraser Place near City Hall and it was extremely home-y. We didn’t want to leave, there was a pool and kids area which was perfect for Dragon and I! We went swimming almost every morning and we loved it!
We had dinner one evening at Myeongdong Gyoza – now Myeongdong is one HUGE place! Lots of shopping and lots of food – absolutely loved the alleys! We spent a good 2 days in Myeongdong and I feel we didn’t cover everything! lol Now, Myeongdong Gyoza has been around for about 40 years, the restaurant is quite big, 2 floors and quite spacious. The menu is short and simple – dumplings and noodles and that’s it. They are quite famous for their kalguksu noodles which is their knife-cut handmade noodles.
The steamed dumplings are excellent! Filled with pork, mushroom, stir-fried zucchini and mungbean spouts. The dumplings are HUGE, meaty, and scrumptiously good! The skin deliciously soft and thin that if not picked up in the right way may tear! It was so good that I demolished about 8 on my own!
We also got a serving of the Kalguksu – which is similar to that of Chinese dumpling soup. The noodles were thin and soup had a wonderful pork broth, which was extremely flavourful! Dragon absolutely loved the noodles. The noodles were also served with dumplings and shredded vegetables.
I forgot to take a picture of the bibim guksu – which is noodles served cold and incredibly spicy! The sauce is sweet and sour and has a wonderful aromatic sesame oil. It was so spicy that my brother started to sweat! It was a little too spicy for my liking but perfect for hot humid summer.
It was cheap and cheerful dinner – I was extremely satisfied with the dumplings. My family came here twice – they really enjoyed the dumplings and the noodles. Food came relatively quickly, service was surprisingly ok.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
25-2, 2-ga Myoung-dong, Chung-gu
Seoul, South Korea
Ph: +82 2 776 5348
So I am in Sydney for a quick visit. It was a surprise visit and indeed both set of parents were surprised! No one knew I was coming except for a few friends and my brother who had to keep the secret for about 2 weeks! I think he was dying to tell someone but the reaction and facial expression on our parents were just too priceless!
I was hoping to hit up some cafes but was everyone wanted different things but we finally agreed of Japanese. I have heard about this place from a couple of friends, Harajuku Gyoza, speciality is obviously gyoza but they also had different types of dishes. The menu was quite simple, 5 different types of dumplings – pork, chicken, duck, vegetarian, prawn and other substantial dishes like chicken karate, pork belly, pork katsu don and many more.
We started with edamame – can’t resist ordering them!
We ordered 4 out of the 5 dumplings – pork, chicken, duck and vegetarian. I really enjoyed the pork and vegetarian. The gyoza was pan fried and it wasn’t too oily or fatty.
The chicken karaage was a favourite – chicken were tender and you can never go wrong with fried chicken! My only gripe was there weren’t enough fried chicken!
Agedashi tofu wasn’t too bad either.
Pork katsu don was a favourite amongst the diners. Tender pork cutlet which was lightly battered and deep fried, on a bed of rice topped with egg. Probably one of my favourite dishes.
The pork belly kakuni was good but some parts were a really dry which was a shame.
Lastly, we couldn’t help but try the apple gyoza with ice cream. Reminded me a little of apple pie, warm apple gyoza and vanilla bean ice cream.
Service was polite and friendly and definitely a fun place to go with friends or colleagues!
*GA received some vouchers which paid for 50% of the bill*
GA’s ratings: 7 / 10
9-15 Bayswater Rd
Ph: +61 2 9356 3834
M was in town and we were craving wonton noodles. I know there are probably many other wonton noodles place better than Wong Chi Kee, but I wanted to try somewhere different and ‘new-ish’. Wong Chi Kee reopened after it was forced to close down due to rent (as I was told). This place was recommended by my high school friend M, so thought we would check it out.
Both my parents couldn’t go past congee – whenever they see it at the menu they would order it. Dad had the pork intestines congee and absolutely loved it! It was a generous serving and slightly more expensive but he said it was worth it.
Mum had the pork and century egg, her staple congee and also really enjoyed it.
I wanted the beef brisket and wonton (without noodles, as I had noodles earlier for breakfast!). The beef brisket was ok, I have definitely had better, at Sister Wah in Tin Hau – I still think that’s still the beef brisket in Hong Kong (big call I know!).
The prawn wontons were big, plump and moreish.
M had the beef brisket and wontons noodles. She agreed with me that the beef brisket at Sister Wah is infinitely better. The egg noodles were good though.
Service minimal, price wise, I can’t remember each dish but total was about HKD180 which is reasonable cheap.
Pity the beef brisket was so so, but both my parents definitely enjoyed the congee.
GA’s ratings: 6.5 / 10
Wong Chi Kee
Basement, 10-12 Stanley Street
Central, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2869 1331
I have noticed Lynn Shanghai sign ‘coming soon’ many times now and it has finally arrived! Opened for about two months, Lynn is located in the heart of CBD on the ground floor of the Castlereagh Club which is on Castlereagh Street.
I was meeting ‘The Mother’ for dinner – date night – and I suggested this place as I know how much he loves dumplings and I wanted something different to Din Tai Fung. The place was relatively busy by the time we got there, but thank goodness there were no queues and we were seated straight away. The name behind Lynn is that the owner didn’t want the typical Chinese restaurant names such as golden, palace, kingdom and etc for the restaurant. They chose Lynn because it is a name both in Chinese and Western culture. She tells us that everyone has started calling her Lynn including ‘The Mother’!
We started with the baked sesame pocked with sauteed minced chicken and preserved vegetables sprinkled with pine nuts ($16.80).
‘The Mother’ couldn’t wait to dig in, baked hollow ‘bread’, you put the filling into the sesame pockets and eat them. It was delightful. The minced chicken, preserved vegetables reminds me a little of sang choy bao but only better! It was definitely a great way to start the meal.
The moment we have been waiting for, xiao long boa, famous Shanghai steamed pork buns (6 pc for $8.80).
Some claimed they are better than Din Tai Fung. I don’t know if they are better but I can definitely see the similarity. Thin pastry, the dumplings are plump with soup – so take care when eating them. Once they are cooler, I couldn’t help but put the whole thing in my mouth and it burst with flavours. I can say that six was definitely not enough, I could have probably eaten the whole thing on my own! They were good and really hit the spot!
I love the slightly crispy bottoms, but beware, these dumplings are hazardous. Eaten too early, soup will squirt out and burn your fellow diners, or your mouth! They were deliciously crispy and filling!
The sauteed string beans with bamboo shoots ($12.80) is ‘The Mother’s’ favourite. Served with mince pork, it was definitely tasty!
I thought the food came out a tad slow. Our dumplings came last, although in saying that, there were only two people making it, unlike in Din Tai Fung where there are at least half a dozen of people. Regardless, the food was tasty and I am definitely keen to try their other dishes. The fact that we didn’t have to queue is a bonus, so I would probably try going here again. If you go before the end of October, you get a 20% discount off the food bill, but must pay in cash – which suited us fine!
We came back about a week later for lunch, C wanted to take advantage of the 20% for lunch. The place was relatively busy but no queues at all.
We started with the premium sliced pork soaked in traditional herb and dipped in home made sauce ($9.80). Served cold, the sliced pork was thinly sliced. The sauce was thick and a little sweet, I’m not 100% sure if I enjoyed it as much as the others.
The steamed crab meat and pork buns (6pcs for $11.80), similar to the xiao long bao (xlb) but with crab. The pastry was just as thin as the normal xlb but I didn’t really enjoy the crab one. i do prefer the normal xlb.
We all enjoyed the shredded beef work fried with sweet and sour sauce and a hint of chili, served with pancakes ($18.80). The shredded beef was deliciously crispy, sweet with a slight tang. No chili at all, so it wasn’t spicy.
The pancakes were thin and a wonderful complement. Even without the pastry, I really enjoyed the shredded beef, it was tender and absolutely delicious.
GA’s rating: 7 / 10
199 Castlereagh Street
Ph: +61 2 9267 7780
Seabay handmade noodles is another restaurant that has been around forever! It was my go to dumpling place prior to Din Tai Fung opening. It has undergone a major renovation since its olden days though, more modernized, brightly lit and the place is clean and serves cheap, substantial Chinese food!
I was catching up with a fellow dumplings lover, S and suggested this place as it has been ages since my last visit! We started with the spring pancake ($10.80), two large serving of pastry filled with vermicelli, mushroom, beef and vegetables. The pastry is thin and dipped in vinegar and chili was absolutely delicious! Definitely one of my favourites at Sea Bay.
The steamed meat filled bun 10 for $10.80 (from memory) – five dumplings in each of the wooden steamer. It was still steaming when it arrived on our table. These dumplings are quite different to the ones at Din Tai Fung. They are larger, the skin are definitely thicker, no juice but inside is filled with delicious mince meat and garlic chives. Of course it would have to be dipped in vinegar and chili!
S and I also ordered a side of vegetables, braised eggplant with vegetables ($10.80). Succulent and tender eggplant – I LOVE eggplant so this was a win win.
I came back here a few days later with ‘The Mother’ as he too was craving for some dumplings.
He started with the beef handmade noodle soup ($10.80). I love the soft handmade noodle, it was cooked to perfection and so hard not to slurp and make a mess. The beef I thought was a little over cooked, and made it a little dry.
The pork and vegetable fried dumpling ($10.80) is another favrouite of mine. Slightly panfried on the bottom and filled with pork and vegetables – delicious! I think I ate majority of this.
We also ordered a serve of the fried tofu with sweet sauce ($11.80) – I didn’t quite enjoy this one. The sweet sauce was a little sickly but the tofu was cooked the way I like it.
Great place and its reasonably cheap. Both occasions, from memory it was less than $20 each. The portions are very generous and excellent value for money. Not sure why it took me so long to go back. No doubt I will be back for another dumpling hit.
Service minimal, the place does get extremely busy, so if you have a large group, make sure you make a reservation, otherwise you might have to wait for a while.
GA’s rating: 7 / 10
Sea Bay Restaurant
372 Pitt Street
Ph: +61 2 9267 4855
It has certainly has been a very long time since my last visit to New Shanghai, which is right next door to the Shanghai Nights – one of my favourite dumpling places in Sydney. It was a family dinner and I suggested this place. It was a busy Saturday evening, thankfully it wasn’t a long wait – 5 minutes or so, which isn’t too bad.
We started with the steamed oysters with vermicelli, fried onions, shallots and XO sauce ($3.80 each). I love XO sauce and I love steamed oysters so these were superb! The oysters are deliciously huge, plump and oh so wonderful.
New Shanghai pan-fried pork bun ($8.80). Slightly pan-fried and sprinkled with black sesame seed, these pork bun are absolutely fantastic! I forgot how ‘juicy’ they were! Explosive and hazardous! I think we all squirted the juice across the table.
The famous xiao long boa ($6.80), my favourite. I had to make sure that they were cool before popping the whole thing in my mouth. The broth sweet and flavoursome and eaten with vinegar and chili – scrumptiously good!
The deep fried yellow croaker with sweet and sour sauce ($22.80) with generous servings of prawns was another favourite of ours. The crispy skin, the fish was tender and succulent and I love the sweet and sour sauce.
My brother F couldn’t go past the deep fried crab with yolk of salt egg. I love yolk of salt egg, the saltiness, the creaminess, oh so addictive! The crab itself I thought was ordinary, a little dry and not so juicy, but its the sauce that I love.
Can you believe that the week after, my brother, F, wanted to go back? So we did… Round two!
We had originally wanted to try Shanghai Night but that was uber busy that we went back to New Shanghai.
Deep fried dumplings pork and coriander ($8.80) were good but I definitely prefer the xiao long bau or the pan-fried dumplings. The skin I thought was a little thick and not so very juicy.
Deep fried bean curd coated with salted duck egg yolk ($13.80), similar to the crab, I think we can all safely say that this was probably better than the crab. More enjoyable and easier to eat. The pastry crispy and the tofu, soft and melted in your mouth. Not only that, but salted duck egg yolk – doubly YUM!
It just occurred to me that we ordered everything deep fried! It was good though and I have to say, we did order well! Two weeks in a row, can we make it three weeks in a row? F probably could, but I definitely need something different!
I love family gathering, family dinner, no doubt I really enjoyed this one!
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
273 Liverpool Road
Ph: +61 2 9797 7274