Monday, January 29, 2018

Celebrating Year of the Dog with Crystal Jade

With the Chinese New Year just around the corner, many restaurants are busy working on their special menu to celebrate the Year of the Dog. One of the restaurants that has been a destination of choice of the Filipino-Chinese community is Crystal Jade. And it sure has a festive and delectable menu fit to welcome 2018!

Hello, Crystal Jade.
It would be hard to miss this Chinese restaurant along Bonifacio High Street. With its prime location along 7th Avenue, one could easily spot Crystal Jade.

Though I frequent BGC, it was my first time to visit Crystal Jade. I usually head to Edsa Shangri-La or Greenhills to satisfy my Chinese food cravings. But I'm so glad to find another place to get some of my favorites. 
I was greeted by high ceiling and classy interiors as soon as I stepped inside Crystal Jade. And it is suitable to its name. 
We sat by the window facing the other side of High Street Central which has the best lighting perfect for taking photos of your food.
Before feasting on the scrumptious dishes included in Lunar New Year menu, we indulged in some classics like Pork Xiao Long Bao and Creamy Salted Egg Yolk Buns (available in gift boxes of 6, PHP310). 
The Xiao Long Bao with 18 pleats was pretty good. The meat was flavorful and the wrapper held the broth well. It also went beautifully well with black vinegar. I struggled though with not getting another piece. 
The Creamy Salted Egg Yolk Buns was heavenly. The filling was indeed creamy which I found to be more on the sweet side . But its grainy texture would remind you of the well-loved egg which was beautifully complemented by the perfectly steamed bun. I could eat a whole box of this in one sitting!
We also had refreshing Grape and Mango Shake (PHP200 each) as drinks.

Soon, the first dish part of Crystal Jade's Lunar New Year menu--Prosperity Salmon Toss Salad or "Yusheng" (PHP880, 4-6 pax | PHP1,680, 8-10 pax) as others call it. 

This dish is packed with meaning as each ingredient represent an aspect of life or good wishes for the year. The raw fish, deemed to the the most important ingredient to the dish, represents year's abundance. Lime represents luck and smooth sailing while pepper stands for attracting more valuables and money. Oil that was poured in circular manner means encouraging money to flow from all directions and to have earnings grow ten thousand times. Shredded carrots represent good luck is approaching while green radish means eternal youth and red radish for prosperity in business and career.
Condiments such as peanut crumbs dusted on the dish symbolize gold and silver in the household while sesame seeds stand for flourishing business. The Yusheng sauce, usually plum sauce, stands for sweet life. The preparation ends with the pouring of deep-fried flour crisps which represents the wish of floor full of gold. 
We were then asked to lift our chopsticks and toss the salad while saying "lo hei" which means "scoop it up". It is also believed that the higher the toss, the better growth in fortunes hence encouraging us to toss it as high as possible. 

It was my first time to partake in this tradition and indulge in Yusheng so I had zero expectation for this dish. And it turned out to be really good. All the ingredients were fresh and the sweet yet tangy flavor complemented the greens and raw salmon. 
One of the more familiar dishes served was Suckling Pig with Prawns and Truffle Sauce
We were a bit surprised with this dish as it was not very traditional. And it turns out that the executive chef of Crystal Jade loves to experiment and not very traditional himself. 

It was love at first bite with this dish as each element of the dish worked harmoniously with the rest. The crispy suckling pig skin was nothing short of divine while the minced prawn stuffing added a lovely medley of land and sea. The touch of truffle oil gave the dish a mouthwatering aroma and a fantastic touch of elegance.
Next was Sibut or Stewed Black Chicken Soup with Four Treasures which was first introduced to me by R. To be honest, I wasn't very fond of sibut given its slight bitter taste. But I was surprised that I liked Crystal Jade's version. It had this delectable sweet yet herby taste that I enjoyed. The chicken meat was cooked well too and was soft, juicy and flavorful. 
Another stellar dish was Beef Ribs with Red Wine. These huge chunks of meat were seasoned and marinated well as each bite was oozing with flavor. 
Savory with a hint of wine to balance the richness of the ribs. I loved this best with rice. 
And speaking of rice, we also had Fried Rice in Abalone Sauce wrapped in Lotus Leaf. This is yet another fragrant dish that I would love to feast on even without any meat. 
It was flavorful as is and I loved how generous Crystal Jade is with the abalone bits. 
I was a bit iffy to try Pigeon in Egg White Wrapper as I'm not really fond of this bird. I've tried pigeon before in Guangzhou before and it left a not so pleasant taste in my mouth. But this one from Crystal Jade was wonderful. The minced pigeon meat enveloped in the delicate egg white wrapper with this thick sweet sauce tickled my taste buds with glee. The broccoli on the side added crunch to the dish. 
Egg White with Fish Meat and Crab Roe served in Wintermelon was great too. Taste-wise, it was similar to pigeon. It was savory yet had that lovely sweet taste from its sauce. The creamy egg white made it so divine and the fresh wintermelon added delightful crunch to the dish. Quite light on the palate, this is best enjoyed latter part of the meal.
We capped our heavy lunch with Fortune Flourishing Double Fish Glutinous Rice Cake (PHP880). Lightly fried in egg, this filling dessert was the best way to end our meal. I would love to have more of this soon!

Overall, it was a fantastic lunch. Though this Lunar New Year menu could be a bit pricey for lunch or dinner (PHP10,800+, 6 pax | PHP13,800+, 8 pax | PHP16,800+, 10 pax), it wouldn't hurt to splurge on a good meal on some days especially when welcoming the new year. 

Crystal Jade is located at 7th Avenue, High Street Central, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Crystal Jade Dining IN Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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