In any special Chinese occasion, you’re bound to experience eating with a group of other people at a large round table where heaping platters of food are served one after another. The Chinese lauriat is an important aspect of many major life events, like birthdays, weddings and engagements. Whether it be an eight- or ten-course meal, you’re sure to enjoy a luxurious spread that would make you feel like you’re a modern day emperor or empress.
I know a lot of the younger generation frown upon the thought of having to attend “another one of those Chinese parties” since I went through that phase too. Surprisingly, things get more exciting as you grow older, especially when your Chinese lauriat consists of items similar to what Crystal Jade Dining IN has to offer.
Crystal Jade Dining IN is located at the Bonifacio High Street Central, where it’s difficult to miss. While their Greenhills branch is known for the famous xiao long bao (soup dumplings), this one is more focused on delivering Cantonese cuisine at its finest. Their kitchen is headed by several Chinese chefs who oversee the food preparation to ensure that everything goes according to plan.
The Fort branch oozes with sophistication, with its high ceiling and numerous round tables dressed in table clothes with intricate designs. The place can seat up to 200 individuals, if you include the function rooms located at their second floor.
Apart from hot tea, Crystal Jade Dining IN offers different beverages which you could enjoy with your meal. The photo above shows their Fresh Orange Juice (Php180.00).
Our sumptuous lunch started with a bang when a cart carrying this beautiful roasted Peking Duck stopped near our table. I have a weakness for Peking Duck (half Php1,700.00; whole Php2,700.00) so it wasn’t surprising when I felt so much joy upon seeing this. A specially-trained server showed us his skills in Peking Duck carving when he started to carefully remove the crisp skin from the duck and prepare them for the wraps.
The Peking Duck wraps are one of my favorite things in the world! For those who aren’t familiar with what this is, it’s basically the roasted duck’s skin wrapped inside a “pancake” with leeks, cucumber and hoisin sauce. Pop them in your mouth in one go or savor the goodness one small bite at a time; it’s really up to you. This is very addictive! Seriously.
We were each served a bowl of their Double Boiled Cabbage Soup with Bamboo Pith and Fresh Mushroom (Php380.00/person). Served piping hot, this generous serving of clear soup is very rich in earthy flavor. It might taste strange for the unacquainted, but if you’ve long learned to appreciate Cantonese cooking, you’d fall in love with this.
The mushrooms and cabbage gives the soup a faintly sweet umami flavor. It reminded me so much of my paternal Grandmother’s cooking and was a great way to ready ourselves for the rest of the food.
The Fried Crispy Chicken with Goose Liver and Mango Sauce was something you won’t normally see in other restaurants. Each cabbage leaf cup holds a slice of ripe mango, goose liver (foie gras) and a slice of their chicken. The smooth mango and liver contrasted nicely with the chicken skin and the cabbage leaf.
For those who can’t get enough of shrimp, Crystal Jade has the Sauteed Prawns with Wasabi Salad Sauce for you. These plump pieces of prawns are battered and then deep fried before being tossed in the wasabi salad sauce. It’s not spicy so no need to worry if you’re not a fan of Japanese horseradish paste.
Another dish you won’t normally see is the Steamed Live Garoupa (Lapu Lapu) Roll with Chinese Sausage in Two Kinds of Sauce. Each fish fillet wraps a piece of Chinese sausage and then topped with either garlic or chili sauce. It’s a nice twist to your usual steamed fish with soy sauce, which you find in most Chinese set menus.
A favorite among our group was Crystal Jade’s Braised Pork with Special Sauce. Each cube was so tender with just the right amount of fat included in each bite. I knew it was a winner when I saw people nodding their heads after sampling this dish.
By the way, the servers cut the strings away and then cut the meat as well when these are served.
Don’t waste the sweet sauce that the braised pork pieces are swimming in. Grab a piece of steamed or fried mantao (your choice) and use them to mop the sauce up. You won’t be disappointed!
If you’re wondering what happened to the rest of the Peking Duck after it had its skin removed, here it is. It’s normal for the peking duck to be served in two ways, and Crystal Jade prepares it by turning them into a stir fry dish called the Sauteed Shredded Duck Meat with Beansprouts.
If you can’t enjoy a Chinese meal without rice, I suggest you try the Fried Assorted Grains Rice in Hot Stone Bowl. It’s comprised of white rice, brown rice, pine nuts and corn kernels stir fried together to create a nice, slightly salty carb dish you could enjoy. It’s a nice change if you’ve gotten tired of the Yang Chow Fried Rice.
Chinese restaurant desserts usually include mango sago or almond-flavored jelly with lychee. At Crystal Jade, they offer something with a kick…and probably something the kids aren’t allowed to eat just yet. The Chilled Red Wine Jelly with Mixed Fruits (Php220.00 per serving) looks so deceptively innocent, but one spoonful and you’ll be met head-on by the strong red wine flavor. I really think it’s a dessert worth trying, even if wine isn’t your thing.
If you’re raring to try all or any of the dishes I’ve written about above, I suggest you bring your loved ones to their restaurant and avail of their special set menus for this coming November! They have three special set menus (good for four, six and ten persons) which are available from November 1 until November 30, 2014 only. Photos of those set menus are available below:
Set Menu A (good for 4 persons) Php5,288+ ; Set Menu B (good for 6 persons) Php10,800+
Set Menu C (good for 10 persons) Php12,888+
As an added treat, Crystal Jade Dining IN now also offers Gift Boxes which you could order to give away or bring home to your family. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a Roasted Peking Duck or a Suckling Pig in the comforts of your own home.
I suggest buying a box of their Bolo BBQ Buns (Php350.00 for 6 pieces) or their Creamy Salted Egg Yolk Buns (orange ones in the photo above, Php310.00 for 6 pieces). I’ve been searching for a place which makes decent salted egg yolk buns in Manila and am so glad Crystal Jade makes them! ♥
*A big thank you goes to Mr. Kenneth Yu, Ms. Gela Isidro and everyone else behind the Crystal Jade restaurants for always remembering to invite Have at You! to their events.
**Crystal Jade Dining IN is located at SEUG201 Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. You may contact them through (02)8085233 for queries or reservations.