It can be hard to make your way in Paris’ Chinatown culinary scene. Deep down in the 13th arrondissement, past Place d’Italie, it’s nearly impossible to make the difference from a Chinese restaurant to another. It is true that Chinese food is getting overly popular in Paris these days. Ever heard of Adeline Grattard and her reinterpretation of the traditional bao? Does Kristin Frederick’s brand new Chinese street-food restaurant ring a bell for you? What about Siseng’s incredible bao burgers?
But this time, we wanted to get back to the roots of Chinese cuisine and leave the fancy stuff behind us. We asked our fellow blogger Alexandre Fontaine, a Chinese food specialist, what was his go-to restaurant when he has a Cantonese food craving. New World was his answer.
THE NEW WORLD? A GREAT INTRODUCTION TO CANTONESE CUISINE UNIVERSE
Finding the New World is a challenge in and of itself. Upon arriving at the said address, I first thought the New World was closed and replaced. But the New World has no storefront, you need to go inside a large corridor, before ending up in a courtyard where the restaurant is located.
Sisavath Seng, head chef at the New World, is no amateur. Originally from Hong-Kong, he worked several years for many Chinese restaurants of the 13th arrondissement. The menu includes most Cantonese cuisine classic dishes.
We started out with Xia Long Bao and Siu Mai. Xiao Long Bao are traditional Shanghai-style bao filled with meat “Siu Mai”. These traditional Shanghai dim sum are filled with a pork meatball and pork juice. Needless to say, you should put the whole thing in your mouth before crunching otherwise the delicious juice will be all over your favorite shirt. Siu Mai were equally delicious. It’s easy to find them in corner street Chinese delis in Paris, but most of them are frozen and reheated. These ones were incredibly fresh, and the filling wasn’t dry at all.
FORGET ABOUT THE SHANG PALACE, YOU’ll EAT LIKE A BOSS FOR €20 AT THE NEW WORLD
Best transition before main dishes in a Chinese restaurant? Fried rice vermicelli! Sisavath Seng makes them with an eggs and curry sauce. The vermicelli were out of this world, chewy enough so that you can munch them contentedly. I was afraid the seasoning would be too spicy, but it was rather subtil.
The feast went on. Sauteed beef and vegetables was one my favorites that day. The big cast iron dish was still smoking with delicious flavors upon arriving at the table. The meat was perfectly cooked, still tender, nothing to do with beef that taste like cardboard that you find in most Paris’ Chinese restaurants.
We ended up our meal — yup that’s right, incredibly enough we were too full for dessert — with a special dish of the chef. The chicken thighs came on simple salad leaves. Despite the nicely browned skin, the meat was ultra-tender. The thick sauce was dense and deep in flavors. I didn’t dare to ask that day, but next time I come, I’ll make sure to get the recipe of this incredible chicken.
Budget : about €20 for each
15 Avenue de Choisy
Neighborhood: Chinatown/Porte de Choisy/Olympiades