Monday, January 16, 2006

I Heart Crystal Jade

Crystal Jade Golden Palace
Paragon, #05-22
Tel: 6734-6866

Other than the sometimes tedious long queues, I really love Crystal Jade. Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao or Crystal Jade Kitchen usually the names that surfaces when I have a craving for noodles. Despite its ever extending Chinese restaurant empire, where we have witnessed The Crystal Jade group set up shop in most shopping areas of Singapore and slowly taken shop space on almost every floor or Ngee Ann City, making their food more easily available for the masses, the standard of the food has remained consistent.

My last visit to Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao was similar to my other return visits. Without having to flip the menu, I usually grab the pencil and start ticking off my usual “set menu” that I have, zha jiang mian, xiao long bao and crispy eel. I personally prefer the food here, in particularly the zhar jiang mian and xiao long bao, to Ding Tai Fung. The crispy eel, is a must have, crispy and coated with the sweetish sauce, it is simply irresistible. Other dishes that I like here are the double-boiled chicken soup, the consommé is light and flavourful, very simple, very elegant; the prawns with salted egg yolk, the salted egg yolk covering is very rich, so do not order this if you are eating by yourself; and then finish off with the soufflé with red bean and banana filling. In my recent visit, I tried other things on the menu that I would order again: la mian with shallot oil, the fragrant shallot oil laces the noodles, it looks pale, but the flavour that the noodles and shallot oil pack is rather fantastic; and kuo shui ji (salivating chicken), the moist chicken parts were dressed with crunchy garlic bits, crushed peanuts and chilli oil. Lunch that afternoon was as always, satisfying.

We recently visited the higher tiered Crystal Jade restaurant, Crystal Jade Golden Palace, where they offer a mix of fine Cantonese and Teochew food cuisine. Unlike the more informal Crystal Jade Kitchen and La Mian Xiao Long Bao joints, Golden Palace is posh. The food is finer, even the regular dim sum items tasted better and more refined. The menu is extensive with the expensive options of sea cucumber delights, abalone indulgences, BBQ grilled quail or lamb shoulder, and Teochew dishes such as Teochew marinated octopus, pig ears, pig knuckles, trotters, duck or pigs tongue. We were there on a tighter budget and so no sea treasures of abalone or sea cucumber for me.

On our order chit consisted of minced meat congee with baby oyster and minced meat, goose meat, baked prawns with salted yolk, braised 4 vegetables with ham, stewed braised brisket and orh nee. The congee was out of this world good. My food associations with congee and porridge are of me being ill and weak, but this was something else. The rice used must have been something like a basmati or something along those lines, long grained and cooked till they retained a slight bite as they bobbed around in the broth with the oysters and minced meat. The baked prawns with salted yolk is much like the one that they serve at La Mian Xiao Long Bao, but the prawns are larger and executed with more finesse, the crust is crisper and the sauce is not as thick overwhelming. The braised vegetables were subtly favoured by the slow braising in the broth and what I think is Yunnan ham. In general, it was a great lunch; the food was excellent and the service staff are gracious and efficient. This is currently my favourite Crystal Jade.

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Blogger Richard said...

Who do you go feast with half the time? I really pitty those who have tag along to satisfy your culinary adventures.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bring me! Bring me! I don't mind :)

7:54 PM  
Blogger joone! said...

richard, well, i invited you once and you didn't take up the offer, so.. :)

beck, sure! but you'll have to bring your own wallet :)

10:12 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

You did? Hmm,... I must have forgotten.

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No problem!

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i heart crystal jade too!

10:58 PM  
Blogger joone! said...

gwenda: :), yeah, crystal jade is just one of those places that i keep going back to over and over and over again.

12:44 AM  
Anonymous kasey said...

Crystal Jade belongs to my Top 4 resto in SG. Here's a link and location to their other branches -

4:29 PM  

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