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Paradise Dynasty toasts its first anniversary with a full alcohol license and menu changes

The Blue Apple Mojito, left, the Mai Thai Not Yours, the Butterscotch Smoke Bubble and the Singapore Sling.
The Blue Apple Mojito, left, the Mai Thai Not Yours, the Butterscotch Smoke Bubble and the Singapore Sling from Paradise Dynasty at South Coast Plaza, pictured on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

It has been one year since Paradise Dynasty opened at South Coast Plaza. Known for its Rainbow xiao long bao dumpling basket and regional dishes influenced by Singapore’s surrounding Southeast Asia countries, the restaurant has managed to shake an unfair label as the plaza’s “other” soup dumpling spot and set itself apart in substance and style.

“It has been really satisfying,” said Eldwin Chua, Paradise Group‘s chief executive and founder.

The Singapore-based restaurant group also set up its U.S. headquarters in Irvine this year, though Chua admits, the first year was not without its challenges.

“We actually opened at the worse possible time, during COVID, so labor was a huge challenge,” said Chua.

The company’s core team was unable to travel from Singapore to support the opening, but now that pandemic restrictions have eased in Singapore, five Paradise Group corporate chefs were able to come work in the U.S. kitchens to help perfect dumpling execution.

The Rainbow xiao long bao dumpling basket from Paradise Dynasty.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Paradise Dynasty also adapted its menu to meet certain restrictions in California — replacing its signature foie gras xiao long bao with chicken pate, for example, since state law prohibits restaurants from serving foie gras, and 86-ing its popular charcoal salted egg yolk buns since the Food and Drug Administration banned activated charcoal.

“Whatever is not allowed, we replaced or removed,” Chua said.

The menu now includes a selection of classic Chinese banquet dishes, like honey walnut shrimp and steamed sea bass in ginger soy, creating a well-rounded menu of Asian offerings.

American diners’ love of appetizers became apparent to the team, too, and Chua said Paradise Dynasty is planning to offer more finger food options.

“Finger food is very popular in the U.S., so we will be adding traditional fries, truffle fries and some fried chicken appetizers to the happy hour menu.”

Changes were also made to Paradise Dynasty’s sister concept, Le Shrimp Ramen, located on the lower level of the Collage dining area of the mall. The signature broth recipe has evolved from a shrimp and pork broth to a shrimp and chicken broth, and in October, the concept will officially rebrand as Le Shrimp Noodle Bar with more noodle options.

“Moving forward, we are also launching brand-new menu,” said Chua. “In October we are adding rice bowls with our signature garlic rice.”

The Singapore Sling from Paradise Dynasty, photographed on Wednesday, Sept. 14.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

A cocktail program is also debuting at Paradise Dynasty, which received its full alcohol license in August. Guests can expect traditional cocktails, beverages utilizing Asian ingredients and, of course, a classic Singapore Sling, made with Beefeater gin, Heering cherry, pineapple, lime and grenadine.

In honor of the restaurant’s anniversary, Paradise Dynasty will release a special new xiao long bao flavor that celebrates the restaurant’s Singaporean roots.

“We are going to introduce the chili crab dumpling,” said Chua. “Chili crab is a flavor that is uniquely Singapore.”

The chili crab xiao long bao from Paradise Dynasty.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The dumpling is made with a blend of sambal chili paste, tomato sauce and crab and will be offered in soup dumpling form beginning Sept. 26 through the end of October, along with other new flavors like kimchi and poulet de foie.

Chua said he is excited to share these new offerings and is grateful the restaurant has managed to find its footing, despite challenges.

“It has been a roller coaster for the past one year, so ultimately through our perseverance, our experience, we have overcome,” Chua said.

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