Cantonese breeze

2008-07-03 06:50:42 GMT       2008-07-03 14:50:42 (Beijing Time)       China Daily

With several locations in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and now Shanghai, the Sweet Dynasty is undoubtedly a popular place to sample classic Cantonese style food. The restaurant’s success lies in its unique desserts, its affordably priced yet tasty and abundant dishes, and its gracious yet unpretentious and comfortable atmosphere. It’s the place to go with friends or family to relax and enjoy some good Cantonese without breaking the bank. And since the restaurant’s chefs hail from Hong Kong, you can be sure you’re getting the real deal.

The Sweet Dynasty’s menu is extensive, ranging from dim sum to dessert, and every Cantonese dish in between. And since the restaurant’s owner loves shrimp, many of the dishes (excluding the desserts of course) feature this favorite crustacean. So where to begin? Dim sum, of course. The Fried Turnip Pudding (the term pudding is misleading as this is a savory rather than sweet dish), Steamed Dumplings with Shrimp, Pork and Bamboo Shoot and the Steamed Rice Rolls with Shrimp, were all enjoyable. Next we tried some larger dishes. The Eggplant Stuffed with Shrimp Paste in Black Bean sauce was nicely savory and the Twisted Dough Stuffed with Shrimp in XO sauce had a wonderfully crispy texture. Our next dish, the Deep-fried Crispy Chicken, is a definite recommendation. Sliced and served with a side of dipping salt, this whole chicken is perfectly prepared so that the skin is brown and crisp while the meat is moist and tender. We couldn’t stop eating this one. And what classic Cantonese meal is complete without congee? We tried the Beef, Sliced Vegetable and Fish Congee, which contained many ingredients, including tripe, pork skin, peanuts and congee’s eternal companion, slices of deep-fried dough stick. I personally loved these ingredients, but understandably they are not for all. The menu has many congee variations, so choose your favorite. Definitely try one of them though. With its rice soaked overnight and then boiled for over 4 hours, the restaurant pays careful attention to preparing its congee, resulting in a smooth, warming and ultimately very satisfying dish. Finally, since we were dining on the date of Dragon Boat Festival, it was appropriate that we tried the restaurant’s Steamed Glutinous Rice Dumplings. The perfectly sticky rice triangle was filled with salty duck-egg yolk, pork meat and finally some pork fat to give the whole package its lovely moistness. The restaurant’s chef is a master of this classic dish and it should be tried regardless of the festival.

Eventually came the dessert. As the restaurant’s name suggests, sweet eats are the specialty here and they do not disappoint. First we tried the Red Bean Pudding, cubes of red bean paste atop coconut jelly. I tend to detest red bean anything but there is something about its combination here with the sweet and firm coconut flavor (not to mention the beautiful contrast of colors) that works too well. And finally, saving the best for last, we tried the restaurant’s specialty Tofu Pudding. The dish is very simple. Soft, warm tofu, presented in a wooden cask, spooned into bowls and topped with a clear yellow-sugar syrup. The tofu is handmade on site so the simplicity of the dish allows one to savor its freshness, and its smooth and warm texture has an overall comforting effect. You will not be able to resist a second bowl. This dessert is where the Sweet Dynasty shines and it is no wonder that it’s customers’ favorite.

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