Monday, April 09, 2007

Shanghainese Food @ Dragon-i, The Curve

I've been recently eating a spate of Shanghainese food hence these frequent posts about soupy dumplings, so do forgive me! Strangely enough, although these tiny dumplings' quality should remain the same at every restaurant, there are such marked differences between them. Another thing I also noticed was how ugly they look when they reach one's table. For instance, if I had taken a picture of these four dumplings together, you will notice the differences straight away.

Must admit that Dragon-i's food has never impressed me and a recent visit to their latest outlet at the Curve reconfirmed why. Their xiao loong baos weren't fantastic - skin was slightly too thick and dry on top. Although their soup and filling was tasty, I was dissapointed with the skin. Another point I noticed was their meat filling is a deep pink colour versus the others indicating the use of dark soy sauce to flavour the filling. One good thing is they have recently switched to using cabbage leaves to line the base of the steam basket instead of paper ala Crystal Jade.

Am sure this has been featured so many times - Lai Mian with Pork Ribs. The ribs are deboned and flattened. With a slight taste of garlic, it's deep fried till crispy. Accompany it with a hot bowl of Lai Mian. Texturewise, the noodles were definitely better than my first visit long ago hence I enjoyed it.

I recently had a great bowl of Lai Mian and Pork Ribs at Soho by Jun in 1 Utama. Nope no pictures as I gave the camera a holiday. Moreover, I heard that they don't encourage people to snap pictures there. Although the noodles was good, I was appalled with their signature flowy custard buns. So difficult to eat unless you didn't mind bright yellow salted egg custard all over your face. Moreover difficult to remove from the paper casing especially piping hot.

Back to Dragon-i, we tried the Honey Eel as I was told it's pretty good here. I quite liked it as the eel is fried till crunchy and coated with a sweetish sauce.

I wanted to compare the fried rice with
Nanxiang Mantou Dian downstairs hence we ordered a portion of it fried with preserved greens. Didn't like it much as I felt it was slightly soggy with oil.

Overall, I kinda felt food at this joint wasn't fantastic and I guess it will be a while before I return here.

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here is entirely based on my personal tastebuds and may vary for others. The reviewer also declares that she has not received any monetary or non-monetary compensation from the restaurant/stall for writing this review.

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Lyrical Lemongrass said...

Despite the increasing popularity of shanghainese food here, it appears that substandard food is more common than the good stuff. That's a pity.

MeiyeN said...

opening lotsa branches with low quality of food! i remember that dragon-i @ 1utama used to be so packed but not for now..

boo_licious said...

lemongrass and meiyen - sad rite? not sure why but dragon-i is actually my least fav place to eat xiao loong baos though.

fatboybakes said...

i also thought that it was quite expensive, for what we got. is it?

Xiu Long Bao said...

Wanted to try this dumpling place n' compare the food wiv Crystal Jade...hmm...but the result seems clear from your review.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

i actually got to know the son of the owner of Dragon I..hmm looks like should convey the dissatisfaction to him..heard there will be new items on their menu as well..but i knw consistency has always been an issue for them thus i heard they hav centralised their xiu long bao process ie make in 1 place and distribute..mayb thus the thicker skin perhaps? I know the one at 1U by far seems better then the others but my friend did mention that centrepoint is the best..probably giv it 1 more try..

Babe_KL said...

thanks for your reconfirmation cos I haven't stepped in since errrm 2005!

Tummythoz said...

Dragon-i do seem to be everywhere & yet I've not been in one. Earlier on it was d long queue, now, many say the quality dropped.

wanderlust said...

Out of all Shanghai Xiao Long Bao I have tasted in MY, Sg, HKG, TWN and Shanghai, the best one in fact isat the "Shanghai" Chinese restaurant at the JW Marriott KL. It is not cheap, but absolutely worth it.

Crystal Jade is so-so but do like the Siew Yok (roast pork, NOT the char siew as it is BAD!!) at the C-Jade Express in the Mid Valley... Dragon-i is very average and a total copy cat. I have had a very bad experience with the service at the Dragon-i at The Curve. The store manager (man) actually rolled his eyes when we specifically asked for a table. Though the table was not set, but the restaurant wasn't busy at 3pm in the afternoon. That was totally uncalled for. One thing I do like at the Dragon-i is the Kai Lan with Oyster sauce. Love those thick, juicy and crunchy stems!

This Shanghainese Xiao Long Bao trend though popular but too bad most restaurants don't do it well. Even the Nan Xiang at the The Curve is very mediocre at best.

In fact, I thought Ting Tai Fung in Taiwan and Singapore were also only so-so.

Diary of Kay El said...

I was surprised that the Nanxiang Mantou in Jakarta's hairy crab xiao long bao and crispy roast duck were excellent - so much better than KL.... and I had better experience at Dragon-I Midvalley than Sunway Pyramid. I guess consistency is an issue.

wmw said...

Tried Dragon-I before. At such prices, it doesn't meet the expectation. Have not gone back for a long time.

sc said...

been there once and dont think will go back again. food is just mediocre..

boo_licious said...

fbb - I think it's average the pricing.

xiu long bao - u should try as it's everyone's tastebuds. Mine could be different from yours.

someone who is constantly craving - yeah, usually when you open a lot of branches, quality is compromised. Think the skin left for too long as it is dry and not pleated properly hence the excess skin on top and the too big hole in the middle.

babe - I had no choice and since I thought I was there, wanted to try it. Just reconfirmed why I avoid them also since my last visit when they first opened in 1U.

tummythoz - think everyone sick of shanghainese food.

wanderlust - yeah, I like the xiu loong baos in Shanghai, Marriott. My vote for the best in town but they're not that pricey - 3 for RM9 and you can order them individually. The closest you can get out of the chain restaurants to Shanghai's is at Shanghai 10 as Chef Loong trained under the chef there. Crystal Jade is the defacto place for my family whether in KL, Spore or even China. Seems the siu yoke in China's Crystal Jade is really good.

diary of kay el - well, it depends on the chef's skills I guess. Maybe Mid Valley being the pioneer one is the best out of the lot.

wmw and sc - LOL! Guess we shld not ever have meet ups there since you both hate it too.

Jackson said...

i was fancy about Dragon-I sometimes ago especially when they newly open. I went there almost every week. But when the trend growing larger and larger...n u can find "Shanghai cuisine" everywhere, i tends to lost interest. It's just another copy cat of those in "Ding Tai FUng" Taiwan and "Nan Siang" in Shanghai.
Well, i do like thier honey Eel and their dessert.

boo_licious said...

jackson - once in a while I will eat though like that day at Soho by Jun but think it will be a while before I try Shanghainese food.

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