We don’t come here nearly often enough because of the presence of a Din Tai Fung in Bishan – no need to go to Ion just to brave the queue to get decent xiao long bao. Last friday night when we went (to see the post christmas sale at Kikki K. :P) there was a bunch of people waiting outside the restaurant around 6ish which was pretty intimidating. But we got a seat nearly immediately! They don’t seat you if your party has not yet arrived, so it doesn’t make sense to send someone ahead to queue (Din Tai Fung will still seat you if you are the only representative from your party, like LZ usually is :P)
I really like the xiao long bao here – it’s the best I’ve had in Singapore already. I also like the MAD one and Din Tai Fung, but this place serves the best. The baos are larger than DTF’s, the skin almost filmy, and the soup base is really tasty. Even though Canton Paradise is owned by the same group, they don’t serve the same xlb, which is weird.
We also had their sheng jian bao on friday, which is another soup/pork filled mantou that is steamed, and then griddled so that it’s bottom bubbles into a beautiful golden brown. This was delicious as well; reminded me of Momotaro’s sheng jian bao in Budapest (we went there almost every week when we were studying there)
The fu rong xie dan (scrambled egg with crab meat and dried scallops) was noticeably a cut below the rest of the food, possibly because I took some time to take some photos, which made the egg whites/scallops slightly colder, which in turn caused incomplete cooking of the yolk. We had to ask for additional soy sauce for this – they only carry white pepper and vinegar on the table.
The gong bao ji is really good though; this is the first time we’ve ordered their gong bao ji over their sze chuan la zi ji, which is chicken pieces deep fried with dried chillis, spring onions, ginger, and sze chuan peppers, and is fiery. It doesn’t really make sense to order one sze chuan dish and everything else light and muted like xlb, etc. because that dish will overwhelm everything in its path and you won’t really be able to enjoy the rest of your food. Their sze chuan la zi ji is really good though, but you must choose the rest of your dishes wisely if you are ordering that.
Other things we’ve enjoyed here is their dory in hua tiao wine sauce with black fungus and also their red bean pancake. I’m not a big fan of their carbs (the fried rice is pretty typical, and their noodles look good but would be hard to finish if you also order other dishes and xlbs)
The pu er tea here is also one of the best I’ve ever had in terms of generic chinese tea in a chinese restaurant (and not a tea house, or tea provided by W). My only gripe is that the tables are too long – i.e. if you are seated across from each other, it’s hard to have over the table conversation because it’s not that quiet in the restaurant and you have to struggle to be heard over the din. In fact I could hear the next table’s conversation better than I could hear whatever L was saying (This girl was explaining to another guy why she didn’t break up with her exboyfriend earlier :P)