The ‘Ber’ months in the Philippines puts everyone in a celebratory mood, and whilst the upcoming Christmas season brings ginger lattes, quezo de bola, and holiday ham to mind, we seem to forget that are other festive ways to eat through this jolly season. Crystal Jade Dining IN, the upscale Singaporean franchise along Bonifacio High Street, reminds us that there are other very delicious ways to celebrate the holidays – such as with crispy Peking duck, melt-in-your-mouth braised pork, and wine jelly with fruit, for instance.
Indeed, Crystal Jade Dining IN has a couple of celebratory chef recommended surprises up their sleeves this month of November, along with three party menu sets suitable for groups of four, six, and ten that is sure to put everyone in a celebratory mood – Cantonese style-y.
Being invited to savor the best of the chef-recommended line up, it was humbling to see and taste the fantastic dishes the Singaporean chefs in the kitchen came up with, and the level of perfection each dish looked, plated and served at the table.
Opt to serve guests with a comforting bowl of Double Boiled Cabbage Soup with Bamboo & Fresh Mushroom soup, just the thing one needs to warm up after walking around High Street now that the weather is getting colder. What looked like a simple cabbage soup was just what I needed to get myself ready for the feast that was about to ensue. Made with premium broth, the bamboo pith and forest mushrooms lent the soup a hearty, earthy flavor.
Unusual but absolutely delectable were the cups of Fried Crispy Chicken with Goose liver & Mango Sauce. With each bite, you get the crunch of the fresh lettuce cup underneath as well as the crispy roasted skin on top, while sandwiched between them is a layer of sweet mango, a dab of hoisin, and a creamy slice of decadent foie gras.
When celebrating any occasion at a reputable Chinese restaurant, ordering the crowd favorite, Peking Duck, is always recommended, and at Crystal Jade Dining IN it is done two ways. The first is Peking Duck Pancakes, where your server expertly cuts into the duck, breaking into the crispy skin and getting just the right size of rectangular pieces of burnished skin with a thin layer of fat underneath – all of this done without disturbing the meat underneath.
The crispy, crispy skin is wrapped along with a stick of cucumber and scallions for extra flavor and texture, with a dab of hoisin. I prefer mine with a bit more hoisin sauce. Oh, how I have a few fond memories of being around family gatherings during special occasions and a few of these duck pancakes!
Up next was the Sautéed Prawns with Wasabi Salad Sauce, something I will probably be coming back to Crystal Jade for again, and again, and again. The fat pieces of breaded shrimp are covered with the spicy wasabi sauce, leaving a mild heat in your mouth that tries to make its way up your nose with every bite.
The Braised Pork in Special Sauce is one of the more awe-inspiring things on the menu. Also known as Dong Po Rou, these little pork parcels were named after the revered artist and poet Su Dongpo, who was said to have accidentally created the dish after he forgot about the pork belly he was braising on his stove while being too engorossed in a game of Chinese checkers. This is served with mantou buns, either fried or steamed, depending on your preference. A server then cuts up the mini slabs of pork into bite-sized chunks using kitchen shears, to make for an easier time when making little pork buns with the mantou bread.
Another chef recommended dish that made quite the entrance is the Steamed Live Garoupa Roll with Chinese Sausage in Two Kinds of Sauce. This was not only very pretty on the plate, but has an array of different flavors, with each side giving different, subtle flavor profile. One side had a garlic-ginger topping while the other was topped with hoisin, the lapu-lapu’s firm texture holding up really well with all the sauce, the perfect compliment to the bok choy.
One of the most colorful bowls that afternoon was the Fried Assorted Grain Rice in Hot Stone Bowl, a fried rice bowl of sorts filled with rice, barley, corn, and minced pork.
The duck done the second way was Shredded Peking Duck, stir-fried with an assortment of vegetables. Admittedly, I found this a bit dry, but it went really well with the rice and the remaining dong po rou sauce – I ended up mopping up all the lovely stuff with the shredded duck for additional flavor.
Winding down with dessert, I was expecting the usual fresh fruit or mango sago that usually comes with Cantonese cuisine, but the glass filled with Chilled Red Wine Jelly with Mixed Fruits was something new and interesting, and can only be found at Crystal Jade Dining IN. This was slightly sweet, but still had a strong taste of alcohol, which was actually very plesant – just not something I would recommend be fed to the children at the table.
Available from November 1 – 30, 2014, one can choose between three sets chock-full of Crystal Jade Dining IN’s Chef’s Special Recommendations:
- Set Menu A (Php 5,288+) is good for 4 persons and has the following dishes: Fried Crispy Chicken with Goose Liver & Mango Sauce, Pumpkin Thick Soup with Diced Seafood, Asparagus & Beancurd, Sautéed Prawns with Wasabi Salad Sauce, Pan-Fried Minced Pork with Salted Fish, Baked Assorted Mushroom with Black Truffle, Fried Assorted Grain Rice in Hot Stone Bowl, and Chilled Mango Pudding.
- Set Menu B (Php 10,800+) is good for 6 persons and has the following dishes: Peking Duck (half), Double Boiled Crab Claw Soup with Superior Mushroom in Fresh Coconut, Pan-Fried Stuffed Scallop with Minced Shrimp, Braised Beef Oxtail in Hotpot, Steamed Live Garoupa Roll with Chinese Sausage in Two Kinds of Sauce, Sautéed Shredded Duck with Beansprout, Steamed Rice with Seafood & Abalone in Lotus Leaf, and Chilled Red Wine Jelly with Mixed Fruits.
- Set Menu C (Php 12,888+) is good for 10 persons and has the following dishes: BBQ Combination with Suckling Pig (two varieties), Double Boiled Cabbage Soup with Bamboo Pith & Fresh Mushroom, Sautéed Cuttlefish & Prawn with Capsicum in XO Sauce, Live Garoupa Served in Two Ways, Sautéed Seasonal Vegetable with Crab Roe & Crab Meat, Brasied Crab with Vermicelli in Pot, Yang Chow Fried Rice, and Chilled Mango Sago Cream with Pomelo.
To make your visit even more special, guests with a minimum spend of Php 5,000 will be given a complimentary Braised Pork in Special Sauce dish, while groups of 10 or more with a minimum spend of Php 10,000 will be given two servings of the Dong Po Rou.
Crystal Jade Dining IN is located at Bonifacio High Street Central along 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For inquiries or to make a reservation, please call +63 2 808 5233.