Though one can find scores of Chinese restaurants in Paris, the bulk of them are mediocre traiteurs doling out suspicious meats with gunky sauces and dumplings looking dry and forlorn in the displays to people looking for quick, cheap eats. In contrast, it is challenging to find a proper Cantonese restaurant, much less one that serves authentic, well made dim sum in Paris. This is not helped by the fact that the Chinese in Paris are not from the dim sum meccas of Hong Kong and Guangzhou, but rather from the Indochine (thus the good pho), and recently Wenzhou and other parts of mainland China. As a result, it is much easier to find delicious Vietnamese pho or even Isaan laab than it is to find a freshly steamed har gow.
Since arriving in Paris, the husband and I with our friend D have tried the dim sum at several restaurants, none which we’ve been impressed with. We were about to write off Paris’ dim sum scene entirely before we ate at Le Pacifique, and thankfully, our lunch there gave us some hope that there is some decent dim sum to be had in this town after all.
Together with our group of friends, we ate through the bulk of the menu and were pleasantly surprised to find the dim sum consistently well made. While there are no carts at Le Pacifique to pick one’s dim sum from, the dishes are cooked to order, retaining the correct temperatures and textures. The filling to dough ratio was fairly generous and while the construction of the dishes was coarser than what we’re used to in Asia, the seasoning is spot-on without much use of MSG, coloring or oil. The quality of the meat was also pretty high, and the succulent and meaty steamed ribs in bean sauce was devoid of gristle. And one did not have to endure impossibly thick and gunky skins on the dumplings for once.
My favorite dim sum was the steamed beancurd rolls loaded with a bouncy filling that consisted of, besides minced pork and shrimp, some fresh cilantro to enliven the tastebuds.
Besides dim sum, we also ordered some roast duck (skin’s not crisp enough for my taste) and 2 orders of salted fish fried rice as we couldn’t get enough of the tasty rice perfumed with the funky smell of the fermented fish. Ah…just like at home… And just as back in Singapore, our all-out gorge fest necessitated an afternoon nap afterwards.
The only issue we have with Le Pacifique is its location. Belleville is, unfortunately on the opposite side of town and involves 45 minutes and multiple line changes on the train. As for our friends who drive, the roads of Belleville, especially on a crowded Sunday afternoon, can be stressful to navigate and hellish to park. Still, Le Pacifique is one to keep for the address book, especially when the next dumpling craving hits!
35 Rue de Belleville, 75019, Paris