Sundays (mine, at least) are made for dimsum!
The art of the Chinese tea lunch is something I thoroughly enjoyed when I spent time in New York – I paid the Chinese restaurant Pacificana a visit that served dim sum and Cantonese style classics in a Hong Kong-ish palace setting, and my favorite dim sum joint there was a place called Golden Unicorn that is situated inside a massive building along Broadway ferrying a wide variety of dim sum via little old ladies pushing fast moving carts loaded up with all sorts of steamed buns, puffed balls, and everything in between.
Inasmuch as I miss the not-so-subtle art of getting your ticket punched every time you order a small basket of something, which also happens to serve as your bill, I still prefer being treated like royalty when I go for unlimited dim sum, picking out of an extensive menu, having chefs from China prepare everything, and have each little basket or plate presented to me with a flourish each and every time.
At Php 795 per person, I am loving the the unlimited yum cha at Jasmine, located inside the New World Makati Hote,l that also come with a pot of their premium tea, an added bonus to an already very affordable and filling lunch! My lunch companions and I thought that Jasmine tea would be apt, and spent the most part of the day chatting about bike rides, journalism, and how to schedule time with the ‘rents even when you don’t really visit them as often.
We were off to a delicious start when our server brought out one of my favorites – Seaweed Rolls! If you’ve never had this before, I know it looks really weird, but the steamed sushi looking things can be quite filling, stuffed with vegetables and seafood like kani sticks and scallops.
Something more familiar, and seemingly very popular at this Chinese restaurant (every table seemed to have it!) is the Shao Mai. The fat pieces of pork dumplings with crab roe, topped with Chinese chorizo for added flavor looked like plump little flowers, the juice oozing out with each bite.
Another perennial favorite that people can’t seem to get enough of is the Pork Xiao Long Bao or Nan Xiang. There is an art to eating this soupy dumpling – wait a while for the dumpling skin to cool before picking it up with your chopsticks, the place it in your soup spoon and take a little bite, making a hole at the top big enough to pour some of the black vinegar and ginger into, before completely losing control and devouring it.
The Wagyu Beef Mango Roll is something I pleasantly discovered during an event the hotel held for World Class Cnadian Beef, and even then, I couldn’t get enough of it! The contrasting textures of tender beef and soft, ripe mango against the crunchy deep-fried skin amidst the savory and sweet is positively addicting! May I have some more?
I size up a good yum cha by the taste of their baked pork buns, and Jasmine’s Barbecued Pork Puff scores top points! Firm yet flaky with a savory and slightly sweet filling, one can quickly go through a plate of puffs, each one giving an immensely satisfying two to three bites. This tickles the palate while each plate is just enough to satiate your appetite whilst leaving you wanting for more.
An interesting Cantonese dish that breaks from all the savory items is the steamed Sponge “Malay” Cake that has an almost chiffon-like texture, sweet enough to excite the palate without overwhelming it, and goes decidedly well with tea.
The Seafood Taro Puffs looked amazing, but by the time they started serving the fried dishes, I was already feeling quite full, and found this too rich for my tired taste buds. Yet, you still can’t help but admire the flawless execution of this particular dim sum – all the delicate flakes are still intact!
Two unlikely combinations that were magical together was the Shrimp and Cheese Spring Rolls. Served to look like fat fingers of lumpia, this is something I really wanted to eat with rice, which they did have on the menu, but seemed kind of pointless to order if I’d only be eating it with this, no? With each bite, the melted cheese oozes out of the wrapper, only to be pulled back in again by gravity and the pig piece of prawns blocking its path to freedom. Hmm… I really should’ve gotten that rice.
the last of the dim sum that was served were the Seafood Crabstick Rolls, which I got through most of pretty quickly. There is just something about kani and fruit blanketed in crumbs and deep-fried that just soothes one soul – a quirky mix of seafood and fruit that makes you want to get another, and another, and another.
The pièce de résistance that afternoon was the Mud Crab cooked with eggs and vegetables in a sticky sauce. It looked marvelous! Our server volunteered to do the dirty work of hacking into and dutifully picking out all the crab meat and my dinner companions did all the eating. This was flavorful, with the marriage of egg and crab meat making for a very filling main meal. Don’t make my mistake twice – ask for rice.
For dessert, one of my staples at any Chinese restaurant is a good mango sago, and Jasmine does not disappoint with their version of Mango Cream Sago. Sweet, fruity, and light, this makes for a fresh palate cleanser and the perfect end to a big Chinese meal.
Always wanting to try something new, we also ordered the Almond Cream Glutinous Rice Dumpling, which looks like warm little mochi balls. It would be best to wait a while before tucking into them though, I accidentally burned my tongue on the hot custard, eager to find out what they taste like.
Overall, the unlimited dim sum lunch at the New World Makati Hotel’s Jasmine was absolutely superb! With chefs from Hong Kong running the kitchen, a commitment to sourcing only the freshest and highest quality produce for each meal, and a rotating menu cycle that always surprises with new featured dishes of the month, there is always a reason to go back for more!
Jasmine is located at the 2nd floor of the New World Makati Hotel, Esperanza St. corner Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati and is open daily from 11:10am – 2:30pm and 6pm – 10:30pm. For inquiries and reservations, please call +63 2 811 6888.