Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Crystal Jade celebrates #SG50

I'm pretty sure we all have heard of Crystal Jade. A popular chain of Chinese restaurants with branches all over the world. What many may not know is that Crystal Jade originated here in Singapore with a history dating back in 1991. Today, it has more than 100 outlets worldwide and a wide variety of concepts all over Singapore alone. It's my first time to come across a Crystal Jade that specializes in steamboat, another in casual dining dimsum fare, a bakery outlet and a couple of fine dining ones.

This coming weekend is a big and exciting one for everyone here in the Lion City as we will be celebrating the country's 50th birthday! A lot of preparations are being done for this year's National Day Parade, streets, homes and offices are all sporting nice shade of reds and whites all around and of course, in the food scene, restaurants are ready to offer special SG50 promotions not only for the coming weekend but mostly for the entire month of August. Crystal Jade has launched a limited edition dimsum menu to commemorate this special event. Luckily, I was invited to have a preview of these exclusive offerings and here I am, ready to tell you guys about it!

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Double-boiled Whole Yellow Melon Soup with Assorted Seafood
A very refreshing way to start a good meal. Be very careful as you slurp as the broth stays piping hot inside the yellow melon "bowl". It's really amazing as no amount of blowing or fanning can easily cool your soup right away. The yellow melon makes the soup sweeter and the seafood added inside are of top quality.

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Steamed Siew Mai with Caviar * (S$9.50 / 3 pieces)
Of course, SG50 is a special celebration and this definitely calls for a special siew mai! How do you make a simple dimsum extra special? Add a generous serving of caviar, of course! Giving it a very umami flavor, I love how the pork siew mai are free from extenders and are just so delightful in every bite.



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Steamed Siew Mai with Quail Egg * (S$5.50 / 3 pieces)
I liked this a lot! Siew Mai minus the wrapper and surprise piece of quail egg inside then laced with thick and creamy egg white sauce. Sealing the deal, the minced pork is mixed with black fungus and sweet diced chestnuts to give it a more interesting texture and bite. Yummy!
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Duo of Hainanese Chicken Xialongbao and Chilli Crab Xiaolongbao ** (S$7.80/4 pieces)
Who doesn't love xiaolongbaos? I really enjoy slowly biting into the delicate wrapper to let the soup broth out and before I bite into the meat inside, I'd normally add in the dipping sauce and ginger before popping the whole thing in my mouth. To mark this special occasion, Crystal Jade took into consideration two of the most iconic Singaporean dishes namely the Hainanese Chicken and Chilli Crab and they turned it into xiaolongbaos! Seeing this dish got my exclaming "woahhh!" as I just can't stop gushing at the beauty of these delicate dimsum pieces.

The Hainanese Chicken Xiaolongbao makes use of chicken meat cooked in a fragrant broth and served with some ginger paste. Admittedly, I found the flavor to be too mild to be enjoyed. Meanwhile, the Chilli Crab Xiaolongbao was a delightful surprise! I normally shy away from anything spicy so I tried this with extra caution. Well, I love the spicy tangy chilli sauce and the chunks of crab meat was just so good! I actually went for seconds as I enjoyed this very very much. This was actually one of the highlights of my lunch.

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Fried Chilli Crab Meat Bun * (S$5.50 / 3 pieces)
After gushing non-stop about the Chilli Crab Xiaolongbao, we have another Chilli Crab offering this time in the form of a deep-friend mantou bun. I have to admit that this paled in comparison as I found the bun too oily for my liking. The mantou was very soft and chewy though but had this came before the Xiaolongbao, then I guess I would have enjoyed it more. :P

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Goldfish Crystal Dumpling * (S$5.50 / 3 pieces)
What are these cute goldfishes doing on our dining table? I have to give props to the chef who delicately created these salted egg yolk custard-filled dumplings shaped into tiny goldfishes. Well, not only does it look good, it tastes really amazing too. I love the creamy salted egg custard which was a good break after all the savory items that we sampled that day.

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Deep-Fried Hokkaido Milk Custard * (S$8 / 5 pieces)
This time, we're ready for dessert! Out came these bite-sized nuggets of deep-fried Hokkaido milk custards. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this dessert as I've never had Hokkaido milk before. Well, it had a silky soy-like texture which was a good contrast to the crunchy fried coating outside.

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Chirpy Chick Pastry * (S$5.50 / 3 pieces)
If you love those traditional baked tau sar piah then you have to try the Chirpy Chick Pastry. I tell you, the pastry chef has really impressed us with his creativity has he has molded this Chinese pastry dessert filled with lotus paste into little chicks.

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Full Bloom Lotus Paste & Yam Pastry * (S$5.50 / 3 pieces)
Fine multiple-layered flaky pastry filled with lotus paste with pine nuts and deep-fried to perfection. Again, not a fan of anything deep-fried at the moment but I have to admit that the creamy filling inside was pretty good.

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To have a balanced meal, we also had the Poached Seasonal Vegetable with Garlic in Superior Stock. Oh I was so happy to have this as the spinach was just so fresh and the stock balances out all the highly indulgent dishes that we sampled during that meal.

Not that we didn't have enough desserts, we got to choose two more from the menu.

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Chilled Mango Pudding
This was my choice and it was pretty good! I love the sweet mango cubes and the creamy, velvety smooth pudding.

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Chilled Red Wine Jelly and Mixed Fruits
Well, this took me by surprise! Who would have thought that you can make jellies out of red wine and while the alcohol content is gone, the flavor is still intact. It was so yummy that I regret not getting this but I was also so happy that R, my seatmate, gladly shared her dessert with me.

This is definitely the season to come together as a family or with friends to celebrate an important occasion in Singapore's history. My new life goal is to stay healthy and to be able to live long enough to see #SG100! Hahaha :)

* only available at Crystal Jade Palace Restaurant, Crystal Jade Golden Palace and Crystal Jade Dining In
** only available at Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao & Crystal Jade Jiang Nan

Visit the Crystal Jade website to see the full list of outlets.

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