Canton Paradise, The Star Vista

I've never really taken to the restaurants under the Paradise Group of restaurants, mostly because I'm a Crystal Jade traditionalist and Imperial treasure loyalist. But, for some inexplicable reason, the Paradise Group has surreptitiously grown into a competitor to the Crystal Jade and Imperial Treasure restaurant empires. Just look at Canton Paradise, the casual restaurant concept of the Paradise Group, it's hugely popular, and always seems to sport long queues.

Generally, the food at Canton Paradise isn't bad, but it is a little choppy, with a few misses littered amongst the passing grade majority. Compared to its direct competitors, the heavyweight Crystal Jade Kitchens and Imperial Treasure Noodle & Congee Houses, I'd venture that Canton Paradise scores a solid B- to Imperial Treasure's consistent A and Crystal Jade's occasionally-floundering A-.

The ubiquitous Steamed Pork Dumpling ($5.80) 'siew mai', topped with flying fish roe, checked off the right boxes, but was forgettable.

The Steamed Prawn Dumpling ($5.80), 'ha kao', was competently executed, with a thin but resilient and chewy skin encasing fresh bouncy prawns.

The skin on the Steamed Prawn and Chive Dumpling ($4.90) was a tad too thick, but the filling was tasty in a light, clean and clear way.

The Steamed BBQ Honey Pork Bun ($4.60) would have fared better with a higher filling-to-bun ratio. And, the BBQ pork filling was lacking in that smoky sweet richness.

The lackluster Steamed Spare Ribs with Black Beans ($4.30) needed a lot more time in the steamer as it was less than tender, and it was way too oily and bland. I could hardly make out the black bean seasoning.

The Steamed Cheong Fun with Scallops ($5.80) was thankfully, much more competently done. Plump fresh scallops cooked to perfection were rolled into smooth rice sheets.

The Prawn Dumpling Noodle Soup ($7.90) was very commendable. Noodles had a nice chewy bite, the prawn stock base was rich without being cloying, and the dumplings were sizable and succulent.

The Century Egg and Shredded Pork Porridge ($7.20) was pretty decent as well. Blended smooth gruel faintly accented with pork stock was liberally laced with diced eggs and pork strips.

The Poached Kailan with Light Soy ($10.80) was simple but well-done, plenty of crunch in the greens doused with a most delicate soy sauce.

Canton Paradise
The Star Vista #B1-45
1 Vista Exchange Green
Tel: 6694 2915
Open weekdays from 11am to 10pm; weekends & PH from 10.30am to 10pm
Website: www.paradisegroup.com.sg

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