Fri, Feb 26, 2010 - Page 14 News List

RESTAURANTS : Sweet Dynasty 糖朝

By Catherine Shu  /  STAFF REPORTER


Sweet Dynasty (糖朝) has earned a reputation in Hong Kong and Taiwan for excellent desserts. Its Chinese language name is a pun on Tang Dynasty, and the restaurant takes its treats seriously, with a fifth of the menu dedicated to douhua (豆花), or tofu pudding, sweet soups, bubble tea and other confections. But the restaurant’s savory dishes, which include a wide variety of dim sum staples, are hit-and-miss.

Some were very good, including the fried turnip cake (煎北菇蘿蔔糕, NT$70), which has a crispy exterior that gives way to a tender middle punctuated with crisp turnip pieces and soft mushroom slices. The steamed rice roll with shrimp (鮮玻璃明蝦腸粉, NT$160) and steamed dumpling with shrimp, pork and bamboo shoot (筍尖鮮蝦餃, NT$100) were also pleasing. The tiny bits of bamboo in the latter’s filling added a welcome contrast to the chewy rice wrapper.

The seafood and pork shiumai (海皇燒賣, NT$100), or steamed dumplings stuffed with shrimp and pork and topped with a sprinkling of shrimp roe, were a disappointment, partly because they were overcooked, leaving the wrapper slightly too chewy. The shiumai was also not served with the customary mustard dipping sauce. In fact, supplying guests with condiments seems to be a weak point in Sweet Dynasty’s service. On both our visits, we had to grab a condiment tray from a neighboring table, only to have it whisked away by staff almost immediately. They were refilling the bottles, a process that seemed to take forever.

This was unfortunate, because many of our other savory courses could have used some help. From the photo in Sweet Dynasty’s picture menu, we expected our plate of water spinach (空心菜, NT$160 or NT$220 depending on portion size) to come topped with slices of ginger, garlic, chili peppers and other exciting flavor enhancers. Instead, we got a heap of unadorned veggies so soggy it left puddles on the table whenever we lifted a portion to our plates. The fried scallops with egg white (蛋白炒帶子, NT$340 or NT$510), or a pile of sauteed scallops sandwiched in between a layer of egg white and youtiao slices, was also bland.

Sweet Dynasty 糖朝

Address: 160, Zhongxiao E Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市忠孝東路四段160號)

Telephone: (02) 2772-2889

Open: 11:30am to 2am

Average meal: Most desserts are less than NT$100 per serving; most savory dishes range from NT$200 to NT$300

Details: Chinese, English and Japanese menu; credit cards accepted

A meal at Sweet Dynasty should be planned so that most of what you eat comes off the restaurant’s dessert menu. Standouts include the steamed egg custard buns (蛋王蒸, NT$80), which are also available fried, and the hot tofu pudding with almond soup (豆腐花杏仁露, NT$80), a comforting pick for a cold afternoon. On warmer days, the sago soup with fresh fruit (鮮雜果西米露, NT$90), which features watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew balls and tiny pearls made from sago palm starch floating in coconut milk, is a refreshing choice. One of the restaurant’s specialties is tofu pudding in a cask (原木桶豆腐花, NT$220) for splitting among multiple diners. On a recent weekend visit, almost every table had a wooden bucket sitting on it.


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