Crystal Jade is no stranger to most foodies in Singapore. It has been around for more than 20 years and has more than 45 outlets serving various authentic Chinese cuisines from Cantonese to Shanghainese and also bakeries to feed hungry Singaporeans.
Their latest outlet at VivoCity, Crystal Jade Jiang Nan serves up traditional home-style dishes from Jiangnan, a region south of the great Yangtze River.
The restaurant’s interior is modern and atmospheric. Treading across pots of glittering lotus 0lants, bird cages hanging from the ceiling and past the lotus murals on the wall is almost like taking a scenic tour of Jiangnan, at least until the sudden clamor of a cell phone followed by a strident “wei?” jolt you out of your daydream. The restaurant also spots an open kitchen where shoppers at Vivocity can catch a glimpse at the chefs in action.
The food is clearly the draw here as we saw the place fill up with people pretty quickly. The new restaurant is staffed with chefs experienced in cooking styles found in Jiangsu, Sichuan, Hunan and Shanghai to bring you the best dishes from these regions. The menu is huge and it offers over 120 dishes including appetizers, cold plates, hot dishes and of course, the Jiangnan specialties.
Start with their marinated pig’s ear served with cucumber and chilli oil ($8.50) to open up your palate. A common appetizer in Zhejiang, the texture of the sliced pig’s ear and the cucumber gave this dish a nice crunch and the chilli and sesame oil is more about flavour than blatant burn.
Known for their steaming hot soup dumpling xiao long bao, Crystal Jade Jiang Nan offers new and unique flavours of xiao long bao. They come in multiple colours ranging from the more adventurous flavours such as foie gras, cheese, black truffle to the novel original, prawn, spicy beef, spicy chicken flavours. The xiao long baos are up to snuff, definitely handmade with a wonderfully thin skin that surrounds a bouncy bit of filling in a nice puddle of broth that was boiled for six hours. The black vinegar with thin slices of ginger adds the perfect tanginess. Go for the cheese and black truffle xiao long baos. You won’t be disappointed. They are delectable and a breath of fresh air from the usual xiao long baos. You can order their sample basket of multi-flavoured xiao long baos ($14.50 per serving) or request for a basket of xiao long baos of your choice.
Another highlight is the la mian (hand-pulled noodles) that are freshly made expertly in full view of diners in the show kitchen. Highly recommended is the La mian with spicy chicken, century egg and cucumber in Szechuan style ($11.80/small). Choose from eight different types of noodles, the combination of the hand pulled noodles and the Szechuan spicy chicken was perfect. The noodles were springy and not too soft. If you like a little spicy kick, this is the dish for you.
Their “not fried rice” ($12.80/small)`is another spectacular dish at this new restaurant. Don’t let the look, smell and taste of this fried rice look-alike dish deceive you. Cooked using tiny pieces of sautéed bean sprouts chopped to look like rice grains, diced ham, egg and vegetables, this fried rice look-alike dish tasted like the real fried rice. Both kids and adults will be amazed and fall in love with this dish.
Other must-tries include the collagen-rich braised pork knuckle served with beancurd and vegetable ($28.80) where the meat was slow cooked to perfection. They were tender, juicy and flavourful. The sautéed minced pork with French bean and preserved tamarind served with pita bread ($15.50/small) is packed with pocket full of flavours. It’s a nice change from the classic pork belly bun we used to have.
Crystal Jade Jiang Nan offers two new desserts to end your meal in a sweet note. Pumpkin cake filled with red bean paste and salted egg yolk ($4.50 for 3 pieces) and Japanese glutinous rice dumpling with fruit and cream ($3.60 for 3 pieces).
Jiangnan cuisine has none of the in-your-face spiciness of other Chinese cuisines. There are no unbearably hot chillies. What you get is delicate dishes, with natural goodness coaxed out with a little salt, sugar and soy sauce.
If you want to indulge in authentic Jiangnan cuisines at an affordable price, Crystal Jade Jiang Nan also offers set menus from S$36.80 for two persons to S$378.00 for 10 persons.
See also, more photos of Crystal Jade Jiang Nan.
Crystal Jade Jiang Nan
1 Harbourfront Walk, #01-52 VivoCity, Singapore 098585
Tel: 6221 1830
Opening Hours: 11:30am to 10:30pm (Monday – Friday) and 11am to 10:30pm (Saturday, Sunday, Public Holiday and eve of Public Holiday)
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