Saturday, September 24, 2022

Paradise Dynasty - Costa Mesa

My wife and I agree on a lot of things. We agree that the new Star Wars series “Andor” is a bore but that “She-Hulk: Attorney At Law” is a delightful show with a charming lead. 

But on the subject of fancy xiao long bao restaurants, our opinions differ. She leans Din Tai Fung. I have a slight preference to Paradise Dynasty.

I think Paradise Dynasty’s xiao long baos are sweeter while my wife swears Din Tai Fung’s has more “flavor”. We both agree that pork chop fried rice at Paradise Dynasty and Din Tai Fung are virtually indistinguishable until I start poring over the finer details, such as how I think Paradise Dynasty’s pork chop seems less processed and is just a touch crispier.

But ultimately for me, Paradise Dynasty, despite its Crazy Rich Asians vibe and aesthetic, is the underdog here. This feels especially true after it was announced that Din Tai Fung inked a deal to open a mega-restaurant at Downtown Disney, its seventh branch in Southern California. 

And that fact makes it more significant that the Singapore-based Paradise Dynasty just marked its one-year anniversary in its first, and so far, only US location. To commemorate it, the restaurant has introduced a few dishes that show off its Singaporean roots more than ever before, dishes I was invited to preview. 

The limited-time Singapore Chili Crab xiao long bao, a two-toned dumpling that exploded in my mouth with a concentrated hit of moist crab meat and sauce, was crabbier and spicier than the chili crab XLB I ate at the Singapore branch of Din Tai Fung on Orchard Road several years ago. 

And the Singapore Sling, which was introduced recently after Paradise Dynasty got its full liquor license, is far too good and far too easy to drink—a cocktail Paradise Dynasty had to get exactly right on principle. 

I should also mention that as of this writing, the price for a 10-piece basket of XLB at Paradise Dynasty is 75-cents cheaper than Din Tai Fung’s. My wife rightfully argues that it’s “immaterial”, but the Crazy Modestly-Salaried Asian in me begs to differ.

Paradise Dynasty
3333 Bristol Street, BLM
1 Bloomingdale's
Costa Mesa, CA 92626


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