Dumplings have always had the ability to put a genuine smile on my face. Having spent my formative years in Hong Kong, Asian cuisine often became my go-to when the school lunch wasn't attractive. Be sushi, kimchi, or traditional Chinese stir-fried noodles, none of them close to my love for dumplings. Just the thought of a juicy, melt-in-your-mouth dumpling with a tantalising dip is enough to get me salivating.
So, when Pa Pa Ya invited me to try their all new dumpling menu, I knew I just had to go. In a city like Delhi where the amalgamation of different cultures offers very little for those who want to indulge in authenticity, this modern Asian bistro is a breath of fresh air. With its innovative dishes and eye-catching presentation, the new dumpling menu at Pa Pa Ya promises a gastronomic extravaganza. The menu has been painstakingly researched for months and is blend of the past, present, and foreseeable future.
I was served an exceptional variety of dumplings, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. From the many, many dishes that I tasted, here are four that I found to be exceptionally exquisite:
Chili Cumin Lamb
I have never been a huge fan of lamb, often finding ways to avoid it. So, you can imagine my enthusiasm when I was served dumplings with a lamb filling. To my surprise, the dish was charming: just the right blend of spicy and salty. The dough was soft and light, the lamb extremely succulent and the chili sauce divine. The sheer richness and originality of the dish was brought out by its sublime presentation. A subtle hint of cumin, somewhat of an Indian twist, added a further complexity.
Chicken and Pakchoy
If lamb is a meat I simply choose to run away from, chicken is one I love with all my heart. Hence, when I was given a plate of chicken and pakchoy dumpling, my expectations were inexplicably high. The quaint but imposing presentation of the dish was symbolic of the simplicity of the meat used. As I took my first bite, the tenderness of the chicken instantaneously caught my attention. With every bite I felt as if I was taking a step closer to dumpling paradise. A little dip into the chili sauce and brace yourself for a firework of flavours.
Taking inspiration from our neighbours, China, the Assorted Veg dumplings came in the form of Wontons (a Chinese-styled dumpling). Steamed and served with a combination of chili and black vinegar-the former giving the dish a nice kick and the latter giving a smokiness-they were delicious. Steamed to absolute perfection. I would highly recommend this vegetarian option.
In Hong Kong, seafood is common. So, when a plate of Prawn Hargao was laid out in front of me, I couldn't wait to get dig into it. While the presentation of the dish could have been a tiny bit more extravagant (keeping in mind the luxuriousness of ingredient), the taste did not disappoint. The sweetness of the prawns and the delicate texture of the wrapping added to the flavour. It was in fact a deja vu moment: sitting with my parents in our favourite restaurant in Hong Kong and devouring prawn dumplings by the dozen.
P.S if you are looking to end your experience at Pa Pa Ya on a sweet note, do go ahead and order the Chocolate Ball On Fire from their dessert section. Observe as the outler layer melts delicately when hot chocolate is poured over it. Dig in to the delicious mix of the classic combination of vanilla ice cream and chocolate brownie for a divine blend of cold and hot. Say goodbue to your Asian experience on heavenly high.
Location: Pa Pa Ya, Dome, Level 4, Select Citywalk, A-3, District Centre, Saket, New Delhi
Price: Rs 800 for two without alcohol