Zi Char - Crystal Jade Group (Jiangnan La Mian Xiao Long Bao)

March 09, 2016 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Zi Char - Crystal Jade Group (Jiangnan La Mian Xiao Long Bao)
1 Harbourfront Walk
#01-52 VivoCity

470 Toa Payoh Lorong 6 #01-70

200 Victoria Street
#B1-04A Bugis Junction

1 Kim Seng Promenade
#02-43 Great World City

1 Jurong West Central 2
#03-96 Jurong Point

241 Holland Avenue

391 Orchard Road
#04-27 Ngee Ann City


http://www.crystaljade.com/


Steamed Assorted Flavours Xiao Long Bao (Salted Egg Yolk, Chili Crab, Ginseng, Vegetable) (SGD $10.80)



Skillfully Crafted Chinese Small Bites

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 7
Ambience & Setting: 6
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 8
Value for Money: 6
Spent about SGD $27 per person.


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From humble beginnings in Singapore in 1991, the Crystal Jade Group has now grown internationally, operating over 120 outlets across 21 cities in 10 countries, with 8 different dining concepts. The Crystal Jade Group (Jiangnan La Mian Xiao Long Bao) is inspired by the cuisine of the Jiangnan region, offering handcrafted snacks, Chinese Zi Char, and other North China delicacies.

Ambience at Crystal Jade Group (Jiangnan La Mian Xiao Long Bao) is oriental, clean, with understated colours, and touches of rustic decor. Calming colours of turquoise, beige, and wood adorn the place, with modern, comfortable furniture spaced neatly within the brightly lit dining area. The place can get rather noisy and bustling during peak periods. While the queue system is clear and easy to use, I wish there were waiting chairs around for guests.

Service at Crystal Jade Group (Jiangnan La Mian Xiao Long Bao) is good. Staff are quick to attend to diners, be it taking orders, clearing empty / dirty tables or plates, greeting diners upon entry / exit, or refilling cups of tea. Very efficient, professional, proactive, and fast! I also note that staff work together well in serving tables, with a staff bringing the table's order, and another staff helping to present and arrange the orders on the table. However, I wish more of them could converse in English.

Food at Crystal Jade Group (Jiangnan La Mian Xiao Long Bao) is focused on North China cuisine, Chinese Zi Char, la mian noodles, and a selection of Chinese small bites. Taste is above average, delicious on its own in general, but not as tasty as similar versions elsewhere. Portions are large and filling, but I feel prices are slightly more expensive compared to elsewhere, as a single main dish will set you back about SGD $13 or so. Budget about SGD $27 per person for a meal here.


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The Tea Pu-Er (SGD $1.50) is a perfect pairing to the sauce heavy dishes here, with its cleansing, earthy, strong tea leaf flavour.

Tea Pu-Er (SGD $1.50)



Loved the Deep-Fried White Bait In Wuxi Style (SGD $7.80), with the large white bait fish having been fried till crisp and crunchy! Coated in a sweet sour sauce, each bite is addictive, making you want more!

Deep-Fried White Bait In Wuxi Style (SGD $7.80)



The Chilled Poached Chicken In Szechuan Style (SGD $8.80), or Mouth Watering Chicken, is meaty, with the chicken meat being clean tasting and fresh, coming easily off the bone. But the highlight is the sauce, not too spicy, with a robust savoury flavour, a hint of sweet salty taste, really tasty!

Chilled Poached Chicken In Szechuan Style (SGD $8.80)



While I like the texture of the Chilled Nanjing Salted Duck (SGD $8.80), being clean, smooth, tender, and fresh, I felt it wasn't salty or savoury enough. Rather light on flavour, eating this with anything else makes the taste get lost. Wish it was more salty, as the flavour is currently underwhelming. Skip this.

Chilled Nanjing Salted Duck (SGD $8.80)



The Deep-Fried Fish Skin With Salted Egg Yolk (SGD $8.80) is delicious! Amazing how they executed it as well, the savoury salty salted egg yolk sauce is thick and rich, clinging to the fish skin, which still retains its crispy texture. Non-greasy, this makes for a fantastic appetizer!

Deep-Fried Fish Skin With Salted Egg Yolk (SGD $8.80)



The Pork Dumpling With Hot Chili Vinaigrette (SGD $6.80) are tasty because of the sour, sharp, tart, spicy sauce / gravy it's served in. I like that the dumplings have fresh tasting pork meat, a medium thick skin that doesn't break easily, and a small amount of meat juice within.

Pork Dumpling With Hot Chili Vinaigrette (SGD $6.80)



Loved the Sauteed Egg White With Conpoy & Fish Meat (SGD $12.80), with its eggy, clean taste of egg white, cut through with the sharp salty taste of fish and dried scallops. Love love love!

Sauteed Egg White With Conpoy & Fish Meat (SGD $12.80)



The Deep-Fried Spinach Beancurd With Assorted Mushrooms (SGD $12.80) features a medley of fresh vegetables (broccoli, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, straw mushrooms, black fungus) along with soft, wobbly cubes of deep-fried spinach topped beancurd tofu, in a rich, savoury oyster sauce and braised mushroom gravy. Pure Chinese comfort food!

Deep-Fried Spinach Beancurd With Assorted Mushrooms (SGD $12.80)



The fresh, crunchy, clean flavours of the Sauteed Baby Milk Cabbage With Minced Garlic (SGD $11.80) makes for a nice side dish. The nai bai / milk cabbage takes on the fragrant aroma of the garlic, and the slightly smoky wok hei / breath of the wok. Oddly, they also use the stem in this dish, which I rarely see. Pretty decent dish.

Sauteed Baby Milk Cabbage With Minced Garlic (SGD $11.80)



The Sauteed Sliced Beef With Assorted Mushrooms & Black Fungus (SGD $13.80) has incredibly tender slices of thinly sliced beef, in a savoury earthy gravy with carrots, shiitake mushrooms, straw mushrooms, and button mushrooms. Pairs nicely with white rice! The beef nearly melts in the mouth, yielding easily with its slippery softness.

Sauteed Sliced Beef With Assorted Mushrooms & Black Fungus (SGD $13.80)



A common dish in North China, the La Mian With Braised Beef Brisket Soup (SGD $10.80) here features excellent hand pulled la mian noodles, with a springy, bouncy, slightly chewy texture. The soup / broth is robust, with good flavour of beef, and isn't too salty. What let down this dish was the inconsistent texture of the beef brisket, it seems all were braised equally long, but some chunks were tender and yield easily, while other chunks of beef were firm and tough.

La Mian With Braised Beef Brisket Soup (SGD $10.80)



The Signature Szechuan Dan Dan La Mian (Peanut Sauce With Chili Oil) (SGD $8.80) has the same excellent hand pulled la mian noodles, but no other ingredients. What makes this worth ordering is the fragrant, nutty, spicy gravy / sauce, made with peanut paste, sesame seeds, and chili oil, it's incredibly tasty and addictive! Highly recommended!

Signature Szechuan Dan Dan La Mian (Peanut Sauce With Chili Oil) (SGD $8.80)



Felt the Steamed Beijing Pork Dumplings (SGD $6.80) was above average. What stood out was the medium thick skin which doesn't break easily, the moist texture of the pork meat, and the savoury sweet meat juices. But the meat is inconsistent from dumpling to dumpling, some were fresh and clean tasting, others had a strong gamey flavour.

Steamed Beijing Pork Dumplings (SGD $6.80)



The Steamed Shanghai Xiao Long Bao (SGD $5.80) is good, comparable to similar versions elsewhere. The medium thick skin holds moist, juicy pork meat, with a good amount of savoury sweet meat juices. Execution is pretty spot on too, the dumpling is able to lift easily from the basket without tearing. Pure comfort food, very satisfiying.

Steamed Shanghai Xiao Long Bao (SGD $5.80)



Of the 4 dumplings in the Steamed Assorted Flavours Xiao Long Bao (Salted Egg Yolk, Chili Crab, Ginseng, Vegetable) (SGD $10.80), my personal favourite is the chili crab, with its sweet, spicy flavour. My next choice would be the salted egg, with good savoury salty taste, and a crumbly grainy texture to the filling. The vegetable version is also pretty good, straight forward, fresh, and tasty. My least favourite would be the ginseng, whose herbal, sour taste I find odd.

Steamed Assorted Flavours Xiao Long Bao (Salted Egg Yolk, Chili Crab, Ginseng, Vegetable) (SGD $10.80)



Loved the Steamed Prawn Dumpling / Har Gow (SGD $5.80), with its plump, meaty sweet fresh prawn / shrimp within the dumpling. Light in texture as well, the dumpling skin is properly sticky and doesn't break easily, though I wish it could be a little thinner.

Steamed Prawn Dumpling / Har Gow (SGD $5.80)



The Pork Dumpling With Shrimp / Siew Mai (SGD $5.80) features a juicy sweet minced pork dumpling, with a slice of fresh prawn / shrimp stuffed within, and topped with crab egg roe. I find this to be very good, though I like to add the house chili on top.

Pork Dumpling With Shrimp / Siew Mai (SGD $5.80)



The Fried Rice With Prawn, Chicken & Ham (SGD $11.80) is nice! Generously garnished with chunks of tender chicken, salty ham, and fresh deshelled prawns, the eggy fried rice has a savoury smoky flavour. Good!

Fried Rice With Prawn, Chicken & Ham (SGD $11.80)


Fried Rice With Prawn, Chicken & Ham



The Fried Mixed Grain Rice In Hot Stone Pot (SGD $11.80) is visually and audibly pleasing, crackling with a nice loud sizzle when you mix the colourful bowl of rice, peanuts, corn kernels, spring onions, and salted fish. However, it's only mediocre in taste and texture, lacking the fragrant aroma of fried rice, and missing the crispy bits of claypot rice. It's also overly salty for my liking.

Fried Mixed Grain Rice In Hot Stone Pot (SGD $11.80)



I liked the Steamed Sweet Potato Bun With Custard (SGD $3.80), which has a texture that reminds me of Singaporean kueh, sticky and soft. Taste is floral, with good earthy sweet flavour from the sweet potato bun, then you get the lighter sweetness from the creamy custard. Only wish there was more custard within though. Worth ordering!

Steamed Sweet Potato Bun With Custard (SGD $3.80)



The Pan-Fried Red Bean Pancake (SGD $5.80) is among the better versions I've had. The pancake is crisp, with a thin jacket that cracks easily, while the filling of red bean is earthy and sweet, evenly spread throughout. Good!

Pan-Fried Red Bean Pancake (SGD $5.80)



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