Crystal Jade Dining In: Best Dim Sum since my Hong Kong Trip


Crispy Roasted Pork Belly $9

What is your favourite part of the pig? Well, mine are pork cheeks for braising, pork chops for Tonkatsu, pork ribs for Bak Kut Teh and Pork Belly for anything. Well, not really anything. Pork belly is good for Kong Bak, Char Siew, Bacon, and of course Sio Bak. Amongst these, if I were to pick one particular dish that I would order for my last meal, it has to be roasted pork belly. But not just any roasted pork belly, it has to be a roasted pork belly like the one in the photo above and served with a dash of mustard.

This type of "Sio Bak" should not be confused with the more familiar Sio Bak (Roast Pork) that we commonly see at hawker centres. Yes, in essence they are both pork belly seasoned with salt and five spice powder and roasted, but there is a world of difference in the execution and consequently the taste of the dish.

Firstly, you will notice that for this Sio Bak, the rind is very fine, thin and crisp. This is something that none of the hawker variety can achieve because it needs to be roasted in a commercial gas oven rather than a charcoal oven. There is also a special technique which they employ to make the rind so thin and crisp like a potato chip. Then there is the way they cut the pork so that you don't get the chunky bottom layer which can sometimes be quite dry. The result is a one inch cube of Pork Heaven.

I had this type of Sio Bak in Hong Kong two years ago and there is not many other pork dishes that makes me savour each mouthful like this one does. Unlike other recipes, I feel that this way of cooking the pork allows one to really taste the original flavour of the meat. There is that wonderful crunch of the pork rind followed by a thin layer of fat which has been rendered to have the texture of butter and then the juicy, tender and savoury meat itself where you can really taste the nutty flavour of pork. If there is only one way to cook pork belly, this has to be it. 4.75/5


Har Gao $4.80 for 4 pieces

Our visit to Crystal Jade Dining In was quite unexpected. It was an afternoon after Church and we and the Godfamily just wanted to bring the kids somewhere to celebrate ieatprincess' birthday. Regular readers of the blog will know that I seldom like to blog about places that everyone already knows about, but I felt that the Dim Sum I had that day really hit a level that was quite unexpected even for Crystal Jade.

It turns out that though Crystal Jade is a very big chain of restaurants, the different restaurants have their own chefs who determine the final quality of their dishes. So even though the standards at Crystal Jade is already quite consistent across the board, somehow this particular restaurant has just that extra "Ooomph" that is worth blogging about.

My most memorable Dim Sum was at the Federal Palace restaurant in Hong Kong two years back. Since then I haven't found another place for Dim Sum that could rival that experience. Most of the Dim Sum I had in Singapore had been very good. Some, like the one at Cherry Gardens were quite exquisite but at the end of the day, I wasn't looking for expensive high class Dim Sum. All I wanted was a place where I could bring the family for the classic Dim Sum favourites again and again.


Baked BBQ Pork Bun $3.60 for 3

So I was very pleasantly surprised when I found that the Dim Sum at this particular restaurnant seem that have an extra "H" factor ("H"=Hong Kong). The Crispy Roast Pork was the first dish and I confess that after that dish I was already won over. But the rest of the dishes that followed was also very good. The Baked BBQ Pork Bun is one of the best I have tasted. The bread was so wonderfully soft that you could almost leave your fingerprints on its delicate surface as you handle it. One bite and you would be rewarded with instant gratification from the buttery soft bun perfectly complementing the sweet charsiew filling. Give me 10 of these and a cup of Teh Tarik (no they don't sell this here) and I would be very happy. 4.75/5


Baked BBQ Pork Pastry with Preserved Egg $3.80

This is the first time I am having a Charsiew Sou (Charsiew Pastry) with preserved egg and I have to say that the combination actually works very well. The Pastry is very good. Nice and flakey and served nice and warm. 4.25/5


Steamed Glutinous Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf $4.20

I would also highly recommend the lotus leaf rice here. The glutinous rice has got just the right texture and has been infused with a wonderful special smoky leaf flavour which makes it very palatable. 4.25/5


Steamed Radish Cake with Conpoy and Egg White $3.60

When it comes to Radish Cake (or what we like to call Carrot Cake), I really enjoy how Hong Kong chefs would make sure that the texture is soft and smooth and that the cake itself is adequately flavoured. I think the photo speaks for itself. This is one radish cake where you can really taste the radish. Now this is one thing I cannot understand. Why is it that most places don't put more radish into our radish cakes? Afterall it is not as if it is an expensive ingredient like conpoy right? 4.5/5

Conclusion

My current favourite place for Dim Sum. The food is excellent and reminds me of the Dim Sum I had in Hong Kong. Rather than trying to add exotic ingredients to make their Dim Sum special, they simply make very good Dim Sum. The prices are resonable and the service is quick so there is really not much to complain about except that I get too full too quickly. The view from the restaurant is remarkable as well. It is directly opposite Universal Studios in Sentosa and would be quite a sight when Universal Studios is completed.

Post Script: I was back again yesterday just before posting this and the food is the same as the first time I ate there except that the charsiew buns were even better than I remembered and I readjusted the rating from 4.5 to 4.75.

If you are heading there, do look for the restaurant manager, Jane and let her know you are a blog reader! She will take good care of you!

Crystal Jade Dining In
VivoCity #01-112

62785626

20 comments:

tj han said...

Yeah, along with Botak Jones, Crystal Jade is my favourite chain restaurant, simply for the same reasons of it being good and inexpensive. I prefer the even cheaper ramian version of Crystal Jade though. This branch you talked about sounds good, will go!

ieat said...

The reason I blog about this one is because I felt the chef at this particular outlet is quite outstanding even by Crystal Jade's standard.

My mother in law commented that the dim sum here is much better than the Parkway Parade branch.

Derrick said...

hmmmmm... on leave tomorrow, already hatching plans for dim sum.
was initally thinking of going to Peach garden at Orchid Country Club

although already planning for dim sum later this weekend.

anybody want to join me ?

cherns said...

Thanks for the post ieat! Will have to check this out over the weekend :)

liverpool1965 said...

if you're visiting again ieat, ask if the pastry chef who made tarts at their previous branch at Orchard Emerald is still around!...wifey always prefers the egg tarts there!

Pong said...

Aiya, I should have come here instead of going to Red Star. Standard drop drop drop!

Philip said...

Had gone there for my Boss & staff Birthday Lunch.

yes, the Sio Bak is definitely a MUST TRY in Vivocity Crystal Jade.

The service is very gd too + have a nice view of the in progress IR in making as per mentioned by IEAT.

Cheryl said...

Peach Garden at OCBC centre serves a similar roast pork belly dish with mustard as well :)

I typically can't stomach the Sio Bak in hawker centres because of the scary layers of fat, but the one at Peach Garden had the same description as you had of Crystal Jade's. Slurp!

ieat said...

Oh yes, I had the Roast Pork at Peach Garden in Thomson before and that was really good too, but that was pretty long ago. Glad to know it is still good!

Derrick said...

hmmmm, perhaps it is time to take a short visit to vivocity for dim sum this weekday....kekeke

J2Kfm said...

hi, nice post.
last meal to be THAT particular Sio Bak (siew yuk)?!! hehehe ...
looks almost too perfect to be eaten eh? i'd take the average ones on the streets anytime though.

Cuddlefish said...

Love going to crystal Jade chain of restaurants. Yes it might be everywhere. but i always have found that crystal jade serves pretty much up to standard food that leaves me wanting for me everytime.

I've been craving for crystal jade since god knows when already. and i just went two wks ago x)

the paragon branch is pretty good too :)

Jyoan said...

Hmmm, I don't keep going around w.r.t Crystal Jade. I only remember the worst one is Causeway Point. Jurong Point is probably the normal standard. I like Toa Payoh's one.

Now that I've read this, got to check out Crystal Jade at Vivo! Wonder if it's still the same. Like many others, this is one chain that I never get tired of.

Jyoan said...

Went there today.

All that I tried were very good except for the fish fillet. That was weird, a bit like cardboard.

I love the oven baked char siew bao too! But my bro says not nice at all. =(

Thumbs up for bean curd skin wrap shrimp and minced pork, almond tofu with avocado, fried green tea sesame paste ball, bittergourd juice and even the no sugar chrysanthemum tea!! The tea is so pure, so tasteful.

This is one of the Crystal Jades that the staff are very good at utensils & cutlery settings too.

Service was so-so only though.

Christopher said...

I like Crystal Jade's carrot cake!!!! Anyone knows if its done by the chefs or supplied by some supplier.

Lingz said...

Eh I Eat, went there this morning (4 September 2010)

ordered

1. century egg porridge (very bland - so bland we had to add soy sauce - porridge aint as sweet as the usual crystal jade outlets - very disappointing)

2. egg tarts (very good - no complains)

3. scallop and prawn chee cheong fan (omg, nothing inside at all - severely disappointed, only good thing was that its smooth, but so what, it was below par)

4. sharks fin and crab roe dumplings (terribly bland)

5. some fried vegetarian and egg plant crap (tasted awful - mcdonalds would be much better)

6. Char Siew pork buns (good and soft but not my thing, more char siew would be better)

pity i didnt order the things u did.

maybe it'd have made a difference.

but i wasted 1 morning's worth of calories and feel terrible.

thereafter - even though the food was so bland, i still felt severely thirsty.

Doctor, can u please go and review that place again?

i think the standard dropped!

ieat said...

What a coincidence! I am going tomorrow!

Jyoan said...

Lingz, wow okay. So many things not good?

I ordered those that ieat posted...

Was tempted by the prawn stuffed chee cheong fun, but didn't order that time.

Lingz said...

Eh, Dr I eat, so how? still good?

:(

ieat said...

As far as I know, we have never been dissapointed there. I think I have been there around 10 times already.

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