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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

RYAN'S BIG NIGHT AT CRYSTAL JADE

Finally!
       
                 Apart from American BBQ's I would have to say that Chinese food is one of my favorite cuisines.  Considering I already have six entrees on it, more than any other cuisine out there, is proof enough.I've had quite a few people suggest the acclaimed restaurant "Crystal Jade" to me, but I never made any plans to go just yet, because when Rina and I would plan our next foodtrip, we would deliberately avoid going for Chinese so we could expand our (my) horizons a little bit (Every time I would die a little inside, though)

             A couple of weeks ago, Rina and I went to Greenhills to look for my Halloween Costume (stay tuned), I planned out where we were going to it (as usual). Since I wanted to go to a place that wasn't located in Eastwood or Makati, we decided to go to this place in Quezon City that Rina had been wanting to go back to for quite some time. After looking around, we drove out of the parking lot building and we drove past Crystal Jade. I was quite surprised that their wasn't much people - which made me suspect, since it was around 3pm, maybe it was closed. But at the same, time i couldn't help but think that It would've been the perfect opportunity to have tried what everyone has been saying is a superb restaurant (Especially when iI was disappointed with the place we ended up going to - will be posting that in a few weeks).


            A few days ago, my sister Raquel called me up making sure I kept my Saturday night free, because we will be having dinner out to celebrate my brother's being done with his culinary course. Of course, I never miss out on having dinner with the family, so i was ecstatic. 

            I could have sworn I felt a tear roll down my cheek when I asked her where we'd be eating, and she replied, "Crystal Jade".

                                   


Stephen Chow: Life after Kung Fu Hustle hasn't been easy.


             One of the attractions of Crystal Jade, is it's kitchen that is open for viewing to the public. The chefs are reportedly flown from Singapore (I had to assure Rina that they went willingly, and with their family's knowledge) and they give the people a glimpse, of how authentic Chinese style noodles and pastries are made. It's quite something to see how masterful they move and the intricate process it takes to make something that technically lasts only a few seconds as soon as it lands on my plate.


Much smaller than the grand Chinese ballrooms I'm used to

                    As we crossed the bridge from the V-Mall Parking lot building to the mall itself, I looked down and saw what looked to be a mini-rally on the sidewalk. Since it was the Barangay elections season, this wasn't all that surprising, but the sidewalk of V-Mall looked like an odd place to hold a rally. Upon further examination, I turned out to be wrong. This wasn't a campaign sortie. It was the line to Crystal Jade. 

                  Rina and I had just come from an hour and a half wait at Yakimix the night before, so we weren't really in the mood to spend the evening in line once again. Fortunately, my sister had the foresight to call in advance, and make reservations at 8pm, giving Crystal Jade instant plus point for me. Despite the fact that they were jam packed, they take time to accommodate guests who are courteous enough to call ahead of time to make reservations, something not all restaurants are willing to do. I've mentioned this before.. I believe as much as restaurants should give in to their customers reservation requests, on the other hand, customers must be responsible enough to make sure they arrive on time, or even earlier. Remember - the customer is the one that sets the time that they'll be going, so there's no excuse to be late. To me, even holding a table for 15 minutes is too long. Five should be enough leeway.
              Anyway, the inside of Crystal Jade was alot smaller than I had imagined. considering all the other establishments that were there before it, i shouldn't have been surprised. It was really cramped but that had more to do with the number of guests eating there than anything else.  Fortunately, we got a nice cozy place at the corner to ourselves, so we were good to go.



Rina getting her shake on

                  Ryan, Raquel, and Rosemarie all ordered mango shakes, and they loved them. I ordered a Banana Shake for Rina and I to share, but after getting the first sip, I can't recall getting another. I was good though.

                 Since it was Ryan's special day, I left the ordering to them, with me just chiming in my thoughts every now and then. As long as I heard there was meat, I was fine. 

   DIMSUM


The world famous Xiao Long Bao

                         The Legend of Crystal Jade begins with its Xiao Long Bao (P158 for five pieces), a soup filled meat dumpling. Be careful when taking it out and putting it in your plate, because you might spill the soup (as Rina found out the hard way). The dumpling was really quite delicious and something you must try. The dumpling skin was thicker than usual in order to house the soup, but still had a sense of softness to it. 



So, Xia Long Bao.. We finally meet.


                The flavor of the soup burst in your mouth when you bite down, and as you can imagine, I stuffed the whole thing in my mouth (Just like the way god intended it). It was only then that I realized that the soup was steaming hot. (When I eat, I tend to throw reason out the window. It's a disease, really.)



Deception, thy name is "Crispy Spring Roll"

                    The Crispy Spring Roll (P98) was alright, but I got faked out. I thought it had meat in it (It didn't). I preferred David's Tea House spring rolls more (It has meat in it).

Not my thing, sorry
                
               Considering I couldn't even look at the Broccoli Sauteed in Oyster Sauce (P250) I can't tell you if it was good or not, but My Yaya Kit seemed to like it. (She was complaining that everything we ordered was meat. Hehe.)



Well it looked good..

                 My sister Raquel ordered the Deep fried bean curd Skin Roll With Shrimp (P135 for 3pcs). i Put a half of it on my plate. As soon as she told me what it was, I put it on Rina's plate. By the end of the meal, the entire dish was gone, so I'm guessing it wasn't so bad.
Pork Bun = Siopao

I was interested in trying their Pan Fried Shanghai Pork Bun (P135 for 4 pcs), but had they called it what it actually was (Bola Bola Siopao), I might not have been so eager. Don't get me wrong, it was one of the better Siopaos I've had, but at the end of the day, a siopao by any other name is still a siopao.The only "Pan Fried" part is the bottom. So basically it's a siopao with a crunchy bottom. And it needed the siopao sweet sauce. (I was trying to see how many times I could use the word "Siopao" in this paragraph). Siopao.

One of the most addicting things ever.
                   I was surprised I liked the Fried Pancake with Scallions (P98) as much as I did. I wasn't sure what Scallions were at first, but I gave it a go anyway, and I wasn't disappointed. It's s simple dish that's more addicting that it is tasty. (I'm the type of guy that loves the crust of a chicken pot pie more than the pie itself, so that may explain a lot). Its sort of like oily puff pastry with a subtle herb flavor. I just don't understand why they serve it in flakes.

RICE AND NOODLES



I could never resist fried rice.

           The Fried Rice with Chicken and Ham (P280) was a good rice dish, but i wish the rice was a bit stickier than it was. Every grain seemed to fall apart during every spoonful. Flavor wise, it wasn't much different from other Chinese restaurants.
This was gooooood

       The Fried Noodle with Shredded Pork and Cabbage in "Shanghai" Style (P258) was absolutely delicious. The noodles were thicker than the norm, while maintaining a gentle texture to it. The homemade noodles, mixed with every morsel of shredded pork, was bathed in a lightly sweet sauce that made the this dish instantly one of my favorites.
THE ENTREES



Sweet and Sour chicken Balls. That's funny, I didn't know chicken had.. - never mind.

              Another surprising factoid about Crystal Jade, is the absence of the Chinese restaurant staple, Sweet and Sour Pork. Instead, they substituted it with Sauteed Chicken with Sweet and Sour Sauce (P288) It was basically a chicken meatball doused in sweet and sour sauce. It had a deliciously sweet yet not too tangy taste but, I didn't get why they didn't use pork, especially when they already had a Lemon Chicken Dish, and no "sweet" pork dish.  My only other comment would be, the serving portion. There seemed to be more pineapples, onions, green and red tomatoes than actual chicken.


Proof that bigger isn't always better
        
    With its staggering price, I was expecting the Pork Knuckle With Pancake (P888) to blow my mind away. Alas, it did not. In fact, it was far from it. The majestic Pork Knuckle drowned in its sauce is impressive when placed upon the table. But when placed into your mouth, the same sort of magic fails to happen. In fact, much to my dismay, it barely tasted like anything.

         The meat itself lacked any semblance of flavor, and the sauce may have had a hint of sweetness, but didn't make a significant contribution to the dish at all.

Pancakes that look like Puka shells

            The "Pancakes" it came with, were too tiny to accommodate a decent size piece of meat. Also, since the pancake wasn't exactly packed with a distinct so eventually it became more convenient to just eat the knuckle with rice.

Nice and fat. Just the way I like em'
          I really liked their Deep Fried Pork rib with garlic (P298 4pcs), (which is not surprising considering it has some of my favorite words in the English vernacular in its name) but i just wished it came with a side of Oyster or Hoisin sauce. Honestly, the kick of garlic makes it really good, but the option of having a side sauce would've made this even more kick ass.


Battlefield Zamora
               
             Crystal Jade is an exceptional Chinese restaurant - good, but my experience didn't live up to the hype just yet. Some dishes were spot on, like the Deep Fried Pork Ribs, and the Shredded Pork Shanghai style noodles, while one in particular, badly missed the mark (Pork Knuckle). The service was first rate, with every single one of our needs attended to immediately by a courteous and very professional waiter, despite the restaurant being jam packed. I find the pricing a little bit uneven. The dimsum selection are at mostly reasonable rates, but the entrees are a little bit high. 


       The Xiao Long Bao is definitely worth a try, If you're willing to wait in the line.



  Senti Time



No Ordinary Family

            Next to my wife, my brother and sisters are definitely my favorite food trip partners. My eldest sister Raquel was pretty much the person who heavily influenced my love for food. Rosemarie is a superb internationally trained chef, while Ryan is now a certified Pastry chef with now some pretty good credentials to his name. Although we all try to meet up every other week at our home in Antipolo, we don't get to go out as often as we'd like, so regardless of the outcome of the food, going to Crystal Jade all together was a great experience to share.

(Sniff)


Thank you in advance!!

4 comments:

  1. richie, next time try the dan dan mien. it's hand pulled noodles in a spicy, peanut-y soup/sauce. It's perfect for rainy days. :)- annette of brew

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds awesome Miss Annette! Perfect for the weather nowadays :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. richie give my regards to your sisters and congratulation to Ryan, and also regards to my Aunt (your yaya kit):-) tc - wilson

    ReplyDelete
  4. Will do, buddy! Hope all is well with you and your family!

    ReplyDelete

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