Monday, June 4, 2012

Media Tasting @ Crystal Jade Jiang Nan (VivoCity)

I enjoy eating, a l o t. 

My blog and instagram(@ivygsy) are always about food most of the time. Trying out new dishes or eating my usual comfort food brings simple joy to me. It has always been said that chocolate/sweets makes people happy but for me, great food makes me happy! Imagine my joy when I was invited to Crystal Jade Jiang Nan's media tasting. I know I'm in for a good lunch. 

I believe the dishes served during tastings and those served to the public fare the same. At the same time, I'll pen down my most honest review :) Before I move on to the food, hold up and let me share with you a little bit about Crystal Jade Jiang Nan!

Featuring casual, popular everyday fare from south of Yangtze river, the new Crystal Jade Jiang Nan @ Vivocity serves up authentic Jiangnan dishes including Marinated Pig's Ear with Cucumber, Braised Pork Kncukle Served with Beancurd and Vegetable, and Poached Eel with Flour Skin in Spicy Hot Soup. Multiple flavours of Xiao Long Bao are also a key feature on the menu. 

From street food to dishes from village restaurants to home style snacks, Crystal Jade Jiang Nan's menu demonstrates the brand's continued focus on delivering authentic, quality Chinese food at affordable prices in venues where friends and family can gather and dine on any occasion. 

The set menus, designed for diners who want affordable, quality regional Chinese cuisine, range from $36.80 for 2 to $378 for 10.

Crystal Jade has selected four Jiangnan styles - Sichuan (川菜系), Jiangsu (苏菜系), Hunan (湘菜系) and Shanghai - for this new restaurant.  

The design concept of this new restaurant allows the public to catch the chefs in action, displaying their swift moves in making xiao long baos, la mian and etc. 

The setting and restaurant environment is just as crucial as good food which these encourages return visits. This restuarant is simply spacious and brightly lit with modern Chinese decorations. It's perfect for gatherings with families and friends. 

Made a new friend, Yina, lovely girl with chatty & outgoing personality. We broke the ice almost instantly! 

Beverages were served and I opted for Hong Kong Milk Tea. Look how cool this drink was presented with dry ice flowing out from the centre of the flask. The milk tea was then poured into this slanted drinking glass cup. The gimmick was interesting, chilled milk tea was strong yet smooth. Thumbs up from the milk tea lover!

I am now ready for the dishes. Bring it on. 

Marinated Pig's Ear with Cucumber , $8.50 (Small)
A common appetizer in Zhejiang, pig's ears spiced with chilli oil are mixed with fresh cucumbers and sesame oil for flavour and texture. 

I have to admit that I ain't a fan of the gelatinous outer texture. Nevertheless, this serves as a great appetizer to many with its appealing flavour - the pig's ear well glazed in chilli oil and sesame seeds. Fret not for it's spiciness is quite mild!

Deep-fried White Bait "Wu Xi" Style , $9.80 (Small) 
Wu Xi is famous for its wide variety of fresh seafood. White Bait is coated with sugar and deep fried to an irresistible golden crisp. 

I obviously went for more of this for its crispy golden white bait with maximum crunchiness and crispiness was an addiction albeit a tad too oily for me. I wouldn't have stopped myself for subconsciously popping these into my mouth one by one if not the need to leave some space for the rest of the dishes.

Honey Walnut , $7.80 (Small) 
Walnuts, said to contain protein and essential fatty acids, are made sweet and crunchy by baking whole walnuts with sugar and honey. 

Honey walnuts make a great snack, if not a beautiful appetizer before meals!

 Steamed Beancurd with Egg Yolk, French Bean, Carrot & Black Fungus Served in a Cup , $8.00 (per cup)
A Shanghainese favourite is revitalized with fresh egg yolk and carrots for added colour, fibre and nutrition. Diners can spice it with a choice of scallion oil, chilli oil, extra virgin olive oil or black vinegar. 

This dish wouldn't be complete if it's on its own (Too bland for my taste bud to taste anything). That's when the dressings come into the picture and make wonders! We may add a little bit of everything (oil/vinegar dressing) or simply stick to one of those. The scallion oil was my favourite. It added a delectable taste to the entire dish, fragrant and tasty. 

 Crystal Jade Multi-flavoured Xiao Long Bao , $14.50 (per serving)
Our popular xiao long bao now come in a variety of new flavours. We use only the finest ingredients and natural colouring. Each tray comes with Crystal Jade's Original Xiao Long Bao, Prawn Xiao Long Bao, Spicy Beef and Spicy Chicken Xiao Long Bao for an authentic Sichuan experience. We also have Foie Gras, Cheese and Black Truffle Xiao Long Bao. 

I almost couldn't compose myself when one of my favourites was served. How can anyone resist this? At least it's just too tough for me. 我爱小笼包! It's kind of embarrassing that despite the love, I'm actually trying out these multi-flavoured xiao long bao for the first time. Finally! Anyway, we were advised to try those those with a lighter taste before moving on to the stronger flavoured ones i.e. spicy chicken/spicy beef. 

I took my first pick on the Foie Gras and I love how it is rich in taste yet not overpowering. Cheese and Spicy Chicken was surprisingly good too. Given a choice, I would personally go for the multi flavoured xiao long baos instead of just purely original ones. I love the good array of choices in flavours; You'll never get sick of having too many xiao long baos! 

We got to catch 师傅 live in action at making of xiao long bao from scratch. 

There was a certain level of stress with many pairs of eyes focusing on the tensed up 师傅 who eventually got comfortable and engrossed once he was at work. The xiao long baos were skilfully wrapped within seconds! 

The curious ones, Yina and I went forward to lift one of those up for a feel. They were so full and heavy yet securely wrapped in paper thin skin.

 Spicy & Sour Soup with Beancurd , $9.80 (per serving) 
The classic Sichuan hot and sour soup with a difference: a "snow mountain" of fresh, soft beancurd gives this soup a smooth, pleasant texture. 

The different versions of hot & sour soup that I've had most of the time were usually dominated by only one flavour, it's either just too hot or too sour. This was amazingly good, hot with a bit of kick and a tinge of sourness, achieving a fair balance of these two flavours. 

Braised Pork Knuckled Served with Beancurd & Vegetable , $28.80  (small) 
The meat absorbs the rich flavour of the various sauces through slow cooking. The result is tender, juicy and flavourful meat. 

This was the highlight of our lunch. I seriously need not say more. Our eyes were fixed on the dish while waiting for the pork knuckle to be deboned. I totally enjoyed the succulence and tenderness of the pork knuckle and the best part was pork meat being free from any obnoxious smell, something which I'm afraid of after a bad experience. It was simply delightful and Yina's boyfriend was more than glad to help clear everything off the plate!

P.S. The usual portion comes with 4 beacurd instead of 10.

Poached Eel with Flour Skin in Spicy Hot Soup , $18.80 (small) 
Popular in Chongqing, the spiciness gives the eel a lift. Eaten on a cold day, this soup can keep the body warm. 
For diners who prefer beef, we have Poached Sliced Beef with Flour Skin in Spicy Hot Soup at $15.80

When our individual portions were served, the sight and smell of the soup was so alluring. I took my first sip and thought it wasn't as spicy as I've expected not until the kick came in after a few mouthful. The chili oil may be slightly too oily for me and the spiciness kind of overpowered the taste of eel. I cleared the soup anyway!

Sautéed Minced Pork with French Bean & Preserved Tamarind (Served with Pita Bread) , $15.50 (small) 
Minced pork is cooked at low heat with tart preserved tamarind and eaten with "pita bread": plain yet tasty pockets made of flour and sesame. With one bite of the meat-filled bread, diners experience four different flavours. 

I enjoyed this dish for its perfect combination of the pita bread pocket and its fillings. Pita bread was baked to a nice crispy-ish outer layer and soft inside with slightly moist filling. I won't leave this out on my order list upon my return visit!

 Sautéed Bean Sprout with Diced Ham, Chicken & Egg , $12.80 (small)
Legend had it that during the Qing dynasty, the emperor challenged his chef to serve fried rice without using rice. The dismayed chef, inspired by children at play, cooked tiny pieces of bean sprouts chopped to look like rice, diced ham, egg and vegetables for the emperor. Initially angry with the chef, the emperor was all smiles after one bite of "Not Fried Rice".

The unique name of the dish, 不是炒饭, sparked my interest and excitement to try this. Fried Rice? Not Fried Rice? So it's Fried Rice but not exactly Fried Rice?

It is somewhat like fried rice with the only change to be the rice being replaced with bean sprouts chopped to tiny pieces so that the overall dish resembles that of an actual plate of Fried Rice. Every mouthful of 'Not Fried Rice' was crunchy & tasty. Diet conscious people will love this for sure since carbohydrate was omitted while the fragrance and taste of fried rice still remains!

La Mian with Spicy Chicken, Preserved Egg & Cucumber in "Sichuan" Style , $11.80 (small) 
Another Chongqing specialty, handmade noodles (or la mian) is served with cold, spicy chicken, century egg and crunchy cucumber for a fresh, "ma la" - tongue numbering - experience. 

Handmade noodles was QQ and savoury, very springy to the bite. Though I don't fancy cold, spicy chicken, I loved the noodles just by its own. It was so refreshing and I ended my last course feeling extremely satisfied. 

Diners will be spoilt for choices given the various types of la mian available for order. Isn't this awesome?


Thank you Crystal Jade Jiang Nan for having me at the luncheon and being such a great host, allowing us to taste &  enjoy all kinds of authentic Chinese food in Jiang Nan style. 

Thank you Lenne, Joh Ju & Geri for invite :)

As I rubbed my stomach with all smiles, I'm thankful for this sumptuous spread for lunch!  

Crystal Jade Jiang Nan (Vivo City)
1 Harbourfront Walk, #01-52
Opening Hours: 11.30am-10.30pm (Mon-Fri)
11am-10.30pm (Sat, Sun, PH and eve of PH)
Tel No: 6221 1830


  1. I like pig's ears! Hard to find good ones now.

    The Multi-flavoured Xiao Long Bao seems to be similar to what Paradise Dynasty came up with. The ones at Paradise Dynasty is well..a fab.. lets hope Crystal Jade version is better.

    Ps: comparing Crystal Jade and Paradise Dynasty version of original XLB, I prefer Crystal Jade!

  2. Yes Yes! Go try it and share your reviews in your blog too! :D