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THE Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao

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Chinese chefs from Singapore preparing the dimsum for Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao.

Finally, THE Crystal Jade that foodies are raving about in Hong Kong and Singapore is now in the Philippines! No, it's not the old Crystal Jade in old Greenbelt; to distinguish itself, the restaurant's name indicates its Shanghainese specialties -- La Mian and Xiao Long Bao.

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This Crystal Jade took the open kitchen concept to a different level by having the kitchen open to people outside the restaurant. Although it seems like the chefs are fishes in an aquarium, they don't mind people looking at them. This is one of the best marketing tactics I've seen done by any restaurant in Manila :)

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The place is quite small. It can supposedly fit a maximum of 150 people if you want to reserve the entire restaurant. There's no function room, but there are 4 sofa-type tables near the kitchen and bathroom that can accommodate 15 people for a "private" group gathering. But I wouldn't reserve those tables because they are near the bathroom and you can see the mess in the kitchen.

The good tables are located on the corner on the opposite end. Table 46 is the biggest lauriat table; up to 13 people can sit there. But the corner round table that is near the street is the best. Reserve that if you want to have dinner with your family at Crystal Jade.

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The acoustics are very good -- even if the kids are running around shouting, the ceiling and walls absorb the sound. The flooring does seem cheap as it easily gets dirty. The ambiance is simple and nothing to rave about.

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Thanks to Vic for helping us by recommending the best sellers from the menu:

Appetizer | Dishes 1 | Dishes 2 | Dimsum  1 | Dimsum 2 | Fresh Vegetables | Fried Rice & Noodles | La Mian  | DessertsBeverage

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Crispy Eel in "Wu Xi" Style (P288).

To start your meal, I would recommend this sweet, crunchy eel. It tastes like the sweet dilis (small fish) that we like and it is crunchy all the way. My mother-in-law commented though that eel is such a premium ingredient that it was made cheap by frying it this way.

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Steamed Soupy Pork Dumpling "Xiao Long Bao" 5 pcs. (P158).

Yes, it lives up to its name. You can taste the rich broth of the pork soup inside the dumpling. The skin does not easily get punctured; nevertheless, you have to eat it using a ceramic soup spoon. My father-in-law commented that it really tastes like the xiao long bao in Hong Kong.

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Pan-fried "Shanghai" Pork Bun
(P135)
.

This is actually a bit pathetic. It's supposed to be the fried siopao version of the Xiao Long Bao but there's little filling, the bun itself is slightly dry, and it's served at room temperature.

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Fresh Shrimp Wanton Soup (P150).

The soup is good and the shimp wanton has more shrimp than the dumpling skin. It is good for one serving only because of the soup. If you try to share it, it feels bitin. Definitely recommended for kids. :)

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Radish Pastry (P98).

I like the artful rendition and the different crunchy layers of this pastry. But the radish filling failed to make an impression.

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The La Mian (hand-pulled noodles made from the finest ingredients) -- quite good indeed. The noodles have a nice "bite", a subtle hint of sweetness, and they're very long too.

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Noodle with Dried Shrimp and Peanut in Spicy Sauce (P288).

This is my personal favorite. I like the peanut sauce since it's not too strong and not too spicy. It reminds me of Laksa or Kare-Kare, but with this, you can drink or slurp the peanut soup on its own. It's not too oily and has just the right peanut-y taste.

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Noodle with Spicy Chicken (P288).

The white chicken comes with a secret, spicy sauce. The noodles are served on the side, but already cut into two portions. A different way to enjoy white chicken.

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Noodle with Spring Onion Oil
(P198)
.

This is actually a simple bowl of noodles with scallions and a small serving of spring onion oil soup. We asked for an extra serving of the soup, but it never came. I wouldn't recommend it except if you have kids. :)

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Joshua loved the noodles. I think most kids would enjoy it!

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Aidan had a fun time drawing on the placemats. I'll share with you his drawings and funny, inventive spelling in a different blog post. It's cute. :)

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Broccoli Sauteed with Minced Garlic (P250 - small).

What I like about the vegetable menu is that you have the option to choose from Baby Cabbage, Cai Xin, Broccoli, and seasonal vegetable. Then, you have to choose how you want it cooked -- sauteed (P250), sauteed with minced garlic (P250), sauteed with oyster sauce (P250), or sauteed with century egg & salted egg (P300).

The boys like it; they call this "mini-trees that you can eat".

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Deep-fried Diced Chicken with Dried Chili (P288).

I like super hot chicken dishes like the one in the Hunan place, but this one did not even register on the chili scale (not even level 1). This should be renamed to "Crispy Chicken with Chili on the Side". I don't recommend this for chili lovers.

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Red Bean Paste Pancake (P128).

One of the unique desserts in Crystal Jade. It's ok and simple -- just fried pancake with red bean paste inside. If I could, I would have ordered ice cream from the nearby Haagen Dazs to make this dessert ala mode.

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Deep fried Souffle Ball with Red Bean Paste (P138).

The picture in the menu looks a lot better. These buns look depressed. It's basically the same dessert as the pancake with red bean paste, only this time they come in soft, spongy buns. I'll skip dessert next time.

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The La Mian and Xiao Long Bao are really good. Better than any Chinese restaurants in Manila but I don't think it would match with Hong Kong's. Budget P500/head when you eat here :)

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
Unit 117-121 (near Haagen Dazs and Goodwill Bookstore)
V-Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center
Greenhills, San Juan City, Metro Manila
Website: www.CrystalJade.com
Telephone: +632 570-6910, 570-6912
Operating Hours: 11am to 9.30pm.
Reservations are accepted for a group of 8 or more only.

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Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for our meals, and we are not connected in any way with the owners of the restaurant.

P.S. There is no additional service charge so make sure to put in tip for the guys. Also, expect long lines during lunch or dinner so be there early at 11am or 6pm. Best time to go probably is 3pm-5pm when there is no line but I heard they are closing down during this time :(

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anton!! your own little dumplings are adorable hehe :D

hay! i'm pretty sure there would always be long lines for this resto so thanks for the tip on the best times to go :D

I like your lolo's shirt. Animo La Salle!

Anton, walang roast meats?


Good question. I did not see any roast meat :(

Sent from Mobile

Mouth watering over that soupy pork dumpling hawawawawawwwwwww....

Thanks for posting! Will pass by tom.

kumps,

was in the area earlier.

according to the sign at the door,
they are only open 11am-3pm and 5pm-9pm

maybe to let those chefs grab a siesta,
or to have their make-up retouched : )

i sure hope their standards will be up to par with the Singaporean branch

ang bilis mo talaga, Anton!

Hey anton,
do they have drunken chicken dish served here?

ingrid

The waiters were referring to the Deep-fried Diced Chicken with Dried Chili as the Drunken chicken but I think it is probably different.

wow, isang araw pa lang they changed their operating hours na kaagad...

this type of open kitchen is not new. used to see the same in a pulled noodle shop/restaurant in SM before. Forgot the name na since it was way way back.

That elderly gentleman wearing the green shirt says it all!!! :-)

Hope I can check this out soon when I return to Manila. I'm really craving for some good Chinese now!!!

I especially loved the noodle in spicy peanut soup :)
We'd definitely come back for more!
http://jotan23.blogspot.com/2010/09/crystal-jadess-xiao-long-bao-is-now-in.html

@Jenny Singson Que commented in Facebook and I'm reposting her comments in this blog post:

hi anton. crystal jade is a must whenever we are in hongkong. we love it that's why were so excited when we first saw the sign outside the soon to be resto. braving the long queue (very very long, indeed), we were able to have our lunch there today. hmmm.... i know i shouldn't, but i can't help but compare it with hk. for me, the taste of the xiao long bao and lamian didn't even come close.

I was deeply disappointed with the food especially after waiting for 1 hour. The filling of the dumpling is very inferior as it was too fatty with no taste of meat whatsoever!!! The pulled noodles were not chewy nothwithstanding the fact they were made from scratch. The proces are way too high although I would not hesitate to eat there if they can guarantee the best quality and client satisfaction! I will not go back to that place. Start pulling those noodles but stop pulling our legs!

My wife and I have been there twice since it opened. Almost everything we ordered was excellent. I actually thought the sesame oil noodles went great with various dimsum. We each have our own order of Xiao Long Bao to keep the peace.

Words of advice: call for reservations or prepare to wait a long time to be seated.

The food is quite good, but the place is more Chinese (Shanghainese/Sichuan) comfort food than gourmet dining, so more affordable. Also, because we ate there on its 2nd day amidst a huge, unmanageable crowd, the food was understandably not "fresh-off-the-fire" piping hot when it got to the table as how it should always be. Will try it again once the crowds have somewhat thinned out.

Our sentiments exactly... will try it when the crowds die down, 

Hi Anton, i saw you there on their opening day... the line was too long, but its worth the wait!!! :-)I also tried their crispy lemon chicken, it taste good but my personal fave is the Noodle with Dried Shrimp and Peanut in Spicy Sauce.... yummy!! :-)

They look so delicious! I love Asian cuisine! im an artist and i do Cheek Face Paint Designs and sometimes i find it necessary to bribe my models with food like this!

went there last saturday night and the people waiting outside were A LOT!
so we just gave our names and went around for a bit then got a table after 40-45 mins of waiting. (one group of 5 was waiting there for an hour already)
the soupy pork dumplings are REALLY good! complements well with gingery sauce.
the noodle making and noodles were equally impressive (thanks anton for the tip on the noodles)
the fried chicken with fried peppers was fragrant, crunchy on the outside and moist inside
but their yang chow rice was just so-so

We were lucky to get a reservation and our lunch was very stress free. I loved the noodles too. Here's my take on lunch at Crystal Jade http://www.shootfirsteatlater.com/2010/09/lunch-at-crystal-jade-la-mian-xiao-long.html

So excited when I found out this restaurant was opening in Greenhills. I love their Harobour City, HK branch which, like its Manila counterpart, is also always full. My favorite La Mian is the one with a spicy beef soup (http://chinkee-onebigbite.blogspot.com/2010/03/yummy-yummy-la-mian.html). Will surely visit them after a few months to see if the local version tastes just as good:-)

Holy Heavenly Dumpling!

At last! something new in Greenhills! We're just a few minutes away from that place, thanks for sharing Anton! Can't wait to try this out with my gf this weekend! ;)

Just got back from Crystal Jade. Bottomline, am disappointed. I thought the long lines is a giveaway that food is good. We were the first in line but unfortunately the kitchen managed to skip 3 of our orders. After waiting for a long time, we called the attention of the manager only to find out they forgot to log 1 of our orders. After 15 minutes, we found out again that 2 of our orders were not logged. Beef with Broccoli was too salty. Lamian dishes were ok. Been to their HKG and SIN outlets and sadly, am not impressed with their resto here. Birth pains? Let's see.

Btw, groups of 10 or more has the advantage of advanced confirmed booking. Less than 10 diners will have to queue outside.

Ate twice already, I always believe that the hk crystal jade is superior than the Singapore branch. Overall I would say my expectations were too high. It's ok but doesn't deserve the long queue outside. Hk crystal jade parin!

Btw the hk jades menu is very different than sings. Wala cla mga slice spicy beef. Ina parin hk chefs.

I love xiao long bao! the mix La Mian is nice also. Good to see that they have finally opened a branch in Manila! Enjoy!

I've tried Crystal Jade in Singapore, Malaysia and Shanghai. Never tried the newly opened branch here but I am not too excited given that the prices here appear to be more expensive than that of the branches abroad. I will try this once though as I miss the Szechuan style la mian - the one with peanut sauce.

You are definitely kidding me with this review. This place is utter crap with the super expensive dishes and small serving sizes. You want good Xiao long bao? Go to Suzhou in Ongpin or Malate, that place is a lot better and its so much cheaper. I do not understand how you can say this place is any good overall, you better check your palate for Chinese food before doing any more of these Chinese restaurant reviews.

OMG, what did these guys do, go to Singapore and say let's strip the ingredients and flavors down and fool the Filipinos. What the heck! The Crystal Jade group should not have lent their name for this place which clearly does not serve their kind of food. These same places in HK and Singapore are always packed but they never shirk on quality while the place in greenhills seems to thrive on trying to give you an inferior product. The service is also quite bad and being packed is not and will never be an excuse. Let's avoid this place until they bring up the quality to what we know is possible.

Went there last Saturday for dinner. We find the food expensive vs serving size. Taste is average. Banawe and Ongpin restos are much better in terms of size, taste, and price. We would attribute the crowd as curious to try out the place. The replies above from others say it all. Just want to add that tea should be served free.

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