Yes, it's true!
CRYSTAL JADE's famous XIAO LONG BAO is now in Manila!!!
They just opened last Sep 13, 2010.
We went there the next day and got lucky to be able to get seated in less than 30 minutes :p
(The waiting line was crazy)
But while waiting, you will be entertained watching the Chinese Chefs from Hong Kong from the viewing area.
They made fresh dumplings from scratch.The master chef from Hong Kong was also working in the kitchen with his staffs.
That's him wearing eyeglasses :)
CRYSTAL JADE only accepts reservations of 10 or more (for now) so if you want have dinner or lunch on time, be there early!
There were more than a couple of reserved big tables when we got there so customers were complaining outside why they can't come in and eat since there are empty tables.
I pity the receptionist who had to explain over and over again that those were reserved.
The interior was okay. I liked the wall patterns.
But the bench and tables in the middle were poorly executed.
The waiters had a hard time cleaning the table and setting it up.
They couldn't even reach the center of the table to leave the food so it was disappointing in a sense because the person eating at the outermost side had to stop all the time to pass the food or drinks of other people.
We were given this order slip where you can tick the boxes for your orders.
But it would be better to encircle the whole menu item just to be sure the waiters doesn't miss out anything. (That's what our waiter did)
Once the food is ready, your waiter will come back and leave something like this on your table.
It's a checklist. They cross out what has been served already.
One order of XIAO LONG BAO arrived first.
Steamed Soupy Pork Dumplings - Php 158 - 5 pieces/order
The black vinegar complimented the soupy dumpling.
It was love at first bite!
I must say that I was impressed with their Xiao Long Bao because it lived up to the Crystal Jade standards.
The dumpling skin did not tear out easily, keeping the soup intact.
Also, when 2 more orders came and some of the dumplings were somehow left sitting on the table for a while, I found out that the soup doesn't dry out easily. (We only ordered 2. We were served an EXTRA order. Maybe the waiter got confused. And yes, we were honest and asked the waiter to add it to our bill).
Anyway, even if the dumplings were not hot or warm anymore, the soup inside the dumpling stayed the same, and I was happy :)
Then came our NOODLE with DRIED SHRIMP and PEANUT in SPICY SAUCE (Php 288)
I wasn't able to notice the dried shrimps but the peanut soup was awesome!
This is good to share with 3-4 persons. The peanut buttery taste was surprisingly yummy with the flour noodles. The spicy kick was a great compliment to the peanut soup.
A MUST TRY!!!
We also ordered SOUP NOODLE with MINCED PORK and VEGETABLE WANTON (Php 250) - good for 3-4 pax
I liked the fact that they put all the scallions on the soup ladle since this is for the kids.
It was just an ordinary wanton soup but it's also good.
However, you might find yourself asking for more soup. Just ask the waiter and they will gladly give you some more with no extra charge.
The kids loved the SAUTEED CHICKEN with SWEET and SOUR SAUCE (Php 288)
This was a simple sweet and sour chicken balls dish, but what made it unique was the addition of some apple cubes. I liked it but the sweet and sour dish at Passion Restaurant was way better. Probably because they used mangoes and strawberries :)
By the way, they don't have service tea but you can order a pot for Php 50 only, which is refillable and good for the whole group.
Finally, our YANG CHOW FRIED RICE (Php 248) had arrived!
"Fried rice with diced Chinese sausage, shrimp, egg in Yang Chow style"
This was good, not salty. It's good for 3 persons.
Another unique dish from Crystal Jade was the CRISPY EEL in "WU XI" Style (Php 288)
It does not taste anything like eel at all. It tasted more like crispy fried fish coated in flour with sweet sauce.
It was a nice appetizer and also a nice dish to counter the taste of all the other Chinese dishes.
DEEP FRIED SLICED PORK with SESAME (Php 188)
I personally liked this more than the eel. It tasted like Mah-Pah (dried pork), but crispy.
ANOTHER MUST TRY.
Before I forget, the last order to arrive was the POACHED BEEF in SPICY SAUCE (Php 290)
"soup pa lang, ulam na!" - Gustaf
The beef slices were so tender and juicy. The soup was very tasty. You may also add a bit of the sauce to the wanton noodle soup. Soooooooo good!
It also contained some glassy flat noodles at the bottom. The vegetables were very crunchy.
Needless to say, nothing was left of this. A MUST TRY INDEED!
For desserts, we tried the RED BEAN PASTE PANCAKE (Php 128)
This was okay. Some pieces had more red bean paste than the others. I wish they put more...and equally :)
I wanted to try the GRASS JELLY and ALOE VERA with ICE CREAM but this was not available :(
So we ordered something else -- DEEP FRIED SOUFFLE BALL with RED BEAN PASTE (Php 138 - 3 pieces per order)
Don't be fooled. It's not big at all, just fluffy. This was interesting. They put a slice of banana inside, together with the red bean paste. Yummy!
Okay, we had to order something different this time, other than red bean desserts.
GRASS JELLY and BEANCURD JELLY (Php 198)
This was disappointing for the price. It was just ordinary Taho with Gulaman.
My favorite dessert of all -- SWEETENED DRIED LONGAN with SNOW FUNGUS (Php 98)
Let me just warn you that this is an acquired taste. Most people I know does not like this, but this dessert is one of my favorites since I was probably in kinder-land!
Crystal Jade added the sweet orange stuff (I don't know what it's called) and I absolutely loved it.
But my cousin said that their fungus dessert had a medicine aftertaste. I still loved it! Hahaha
Other items in the menu that I'd love to try next time:
Braised Pork Knuckle (served with pancake) - Php 888
Deep Fried Garoupa in Sweet and Sour Sauce (seasonal price)
Sauteed Crab with Salted Egg Yolk (seasonal price)
Roasted Peking Duck - Php 2,000 plus Php 200 for a second serving (sauteed with ginger and onion or sauteed with black pepper)
Deep Fried Diced Chicken with Dried Chili - Php 288
Noodle with Spring Onion Oil - Php 198
Fried Noodle with Shredded Eel - Php 308
Minced Pork Dumpling with String Beans - Php 135 (8 pieces / order)
Radish Pastry - Php 98 (3 pieces / order)
Fried Pancake with Scallion - Php 98
Please be patient with their service because they just opened :)
Unit 117-121 Virra Mall
Greenhills Shopping Center
Greenhills, San Juan City 1502
Tel: (632) 570-6910