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It’s been a very lao time.

imageIt felt like a hundred years that I had been to ‘Lao Beijing’ but tonight I wanted to refresh my memory big time and went berserk on their menu. I spotted ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ (小笼汤包) so it came naturally to start with those favourite little steamers. Not being the prettiest of its’ kind, they were quite nice, had thin skin and a generous slurp of soup in ’em but neither the meat nor the broth had a too distinguished flavour.

imageDumpling time wasn’t over just yet so we had a round of awesome ‘Pork & Cabbage Jiao Zi‘ (boiled). The cool thing here was the cabbage, not very common and tasted great together with the fine meat mass. Aside another regular on my orders, some crunchy and slightly spicy, delicious garlic cucumbers.

imageOver to the noodles some ‘Beijing Style Zhang Jian Mian‘ (老北京炸酱面) came our way. The noodles were soft and and thin and the whole thing tasted nice refreshing with all those chopped scallions but wasn’t really like a bean sauce but more like a lightish bolognese, nonetheless good.

imageAlso the ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ was more an interpretation of the bowl I like so much. Nearly a clear broth with some minced meat and chives taking a swim in it. No sesame, no peanuts, no gooey creaminess made this not really extra special but still tasty enough to give it a like.

Even though the food was not sweeping me off my feet, it was still tasteful and delicious maybe with a slight setback caused by their  modifications on my old time favourites. It’s quite a busy and bustling place at peak hours in a bit of a warmer setting than the usual dim sum restaurants and surely has some decent dishes to offer. I might come back to try their high tea buffet as even though I’m not a big fan of such, ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ free flow doesn’t sound too bad to me.

Lao Beijing 老北京食堂
238 Thomson Road
#02-11/12 Velocity@Novena Square
Singapore 307683
Tel: +65 6358 4466
http://www.laobeijing.com.sg/

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Breaking News: Zhong Guo opens 2nd outlet!

imagePeople living around Bukit Merah can consider themselves lucky as ‘Zhong Guo‘ just opened a new outlet at Bukit Merah Food Center. The menu is the same as the one at the Chinatown Complex Food Center outlet so it’s still all about noodles and dumplings. Enjoy, enjoy!

Nothing beats the original.

imageI wasn’t too excited when my colleagues planned on taking me out to ‘Din Tai Fung’ as I did have it quite often before and rather wanted to try things I couldn’t get in Singapore instead. But the table was booked and of course I didn’t want to complain being treated for dinner and so lovely colleagues brought me to SOGO to enjoy some dumplings and noodles.

I was stunned and surprised as the food here was just so much better than in the outlets in Singapore. The ‘Spicy Wonton‘ were amazing, the ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ simply perfect in taste and appearance and the ‘Shiao Mai‘ were much more like xiao long bao themselves, soupy goodness topped with a shrimp and actually the first version that I truly enjoyed. As dessert we ordered the steamed ‘Tapioca Dumplings‘ which I wasn’t really looking forward to but another surprise, they were pretty darn delicious, heavy and stuffing but delicious and not too sweet either. Thanks for a great evening and maybe I’ll suggest a refresher training for the Singapore branches once I’m back.

Din  Tai Fung 鼎泰豐
B2 Fuxing SOGO Department Store
No. 300, Sec. 3 Zhongxiao East Road
Da’an District
Taipei 10654
Taiwan
Tel: +886 2 8772 0528
http://www.dintaifung.com.tw/

Everyone deserves a second chance.

imageI was at a ‘Paradise Dynasty’ restaurant before and remembered that I wasn’t too impressed with it but my hungry colleagues simply overruled all my suggestions and was I glad they did.

The ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ had super thin skin, pumped up with soupy porkness, not too strong, very delicate actually. We also had a red colored sichuan version that kicked in nicely and was in fact quite blazing and tongue numbing.

imageMy very own personal dish was an awesome bowl of ‘Spicy Dumpling Noodles‘ which was stuffed with springy mian and delicious soft jiao zi, sprinkled with fresh cilantro and spring onions, all drenched in a super nice soya-chili-oil-mix together with some more of that bad ass sichuan pepper. Not overdone and still highly enjoyable, really a great dish.

I was glad we ended up here and in the future I will not give up on a place so fast just because of one disappointing meal. I’ll have this again.

Paradise Dynasty 乐天皇朝
3 Gateway Drive
#02-13/14 Westgate
Singapore 608532
Tel: +65 6465 9271
http://www.paradisegroup.com.sg/

High Tea at City Hall.

imageFinally it was dim sum say and our host took us to City Hall to go to ‘Maxim’s’ as I turned out a great place for high tea. The queue was massive and we had to wait for a good hour before we could get a table. The place is elegant, a huge bright room with hundreds of people sitting and eating and running around in between.

We tried heaps and heaps of baskets of which the first was the above with the steamed ‘Prawn Dumplings‘ which were stuffed ’til bursting with big prawns. I always find their texture really odd but tastewise they were fantastic.

imageThe pork filled pockets were my and everybody’s favourite, the dough was super chewy and stuck to your teeth and the meat gravy filling was delicious too.

imageAnother bbq pork filled option were the pastry buns which were good but together with the glazed pork inside the sweetish pastry was just a little bit too much. I didn’t really like the ‘Shao Mai‘ but then I never actually do cause their awkward pork-prawn-mix that weirds me out.

imageThe vegetarian option for the day were the steamed mushroom dumplings that had some lovely crunchy texture and the above waterspinach version that was fresh, juicy and simply delicious.

This was a great place to get dim sum, the nice ladies with the trolley’s full of goodies hovering around and just really really good food. Recommended.

Maxim’s Palace Chinese Restaurant 美心皇宮
3/F City Hall, 5-7 Edinburgh Place 中環愛丁堡廣場5-7號大會堂低座3樓
Central
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2521 1303
http://www.maxims.com.hk

All day, every day, guotie.

imageI had this on my list for a million years but never seemed to narrow one of their shops down during my previous visits to Hong Kong. This time around wandering the streets of Causeway Bay today we literally ran into one.

imageThese must be up there with the best takeout snacks there is, I mean “Guotie 2 Go”, come on! We had the original and the kimchi flavoured dumplings and both were fantastic even though the kimchi one was by far better because of the extra spicy flavours going on in there. The skin was super thin, nicely crusted and filled with a smooth meat, cabbage and chives mixture. I could’ve eaten this stuff all day. Watch out for the yellow sign.

Bafang Yunji 八方雲集
Nr. 5 Cannon Street 銅鑼灣景隆街5號地下3A舖 (multiple branches)
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2893 2558
http://www.8way.asia/

New menu, new presentation.

imageBack at ‘Crystal Jade’ I realised they had given their menu a mayor makeover. Sadly the delicious ‘Double Boiled Beef Soup‘ seemed to have disappeared in the process but on the positive side they are now offering their noodles as half portions and have added some interesting new items to their selection. One of which were the  ‘Multi-flavoured Xiao Long Bao‘ which besides the traditional one included a nearly overpowering strong black truffle version, a very tasty yet doubtable vegetarian dumpling and a fantastic spicy chicken bao. Especially because it was chicken I was particularly surprised that I liked its’ salty, sichuan-pepper-spicy flavours so much. However the original is still my first choice.

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
391 Orchard Road
#04-27 Takashimaya S.C.
Singapore 238872
Tel: +65 6238 1661 27
http://www.crystaljade.com/