In September, I visited my family in Hong Kong. I’ve been to HK a couple of times, so I’m not that interested in taking in the sights. Instead of waking up early and dragging my aching feet to different historical locations, I know wake up luxuriously late and walk around town in search of new and delicious food adventures.
Behold, my family and I’s excursion to one of the famous Crystal Jade establishments in the department store beneath our apartment (yes, our apartment is actually on top of a freaking department store filled with anything from high-end cosmetic shops to a movie theater–this has to do a lot with the lack of space in a country filled with close to seven million people alone. Things are packed together, whether they be residences or entertainment plazas).
Crystal Jade is known for its clean, quality traditional Cantonese and Teochew cuisine. The restaurant’s specialty is definitely the dumplings and noods (a.k.a. noodles).
5 We ordered a variety of noodles in different soups. This one was lamian noodles with dried shrimp and peanut in a thick, spicy sauce. The soup reminded me of a pimped up egg drop soup, thick and rich with a hit of salt from the dried shrimp and a nuttiness from the peanut.
6 Lamian noodles in spicy and sour soup, also known as suan la tang mian. Suan means sour and la means spicy or hot. The sourness comes from a good dose of vinegar, but is not overpowering at all. It’s actually quite addicting, the spicy and sour flavor mix. In fact, I remember not being able to stop spooning the mixture into my mouth.
8 This dish is probably one of my favorites OF ALL TIME. I place emphasis on OF ALL TIME because I have loved this dish since first stumbling upon it in a random restaurant in Qingdao, China. Sauteed french beans with minced pork is the bomb. Forget the squeaky, soggy (or overly crunchy) beans in your memories. These beans are cooked perfectly in a hot wok, and I don’t know what the Chinese do to the beans but they’re just so delicious I can’t even. Sometimes dried, salted greens are put into the mix, which elevates the beans to another level. The salty niblets of pork complement the beans perfectly. Seriously the perfect side dish ever. Wow okay I got a little carried away there. On with the next dish.
9 The dumplings must be enjoyed with the soy sauce and ginger. Before biting into a fresh dumpling, let it cool in the soy sauce for a period of time and then pop one into your mouth. I know some people poke a hole into the dumpling, but I find biting into the whole dumpling and have it gush out rich meaty juices is much more fulfilling.
13 Fried Shanghai noods with shred pork and cabbage. Probably the most meh thing we ordered. We usually get stir-fried wide vermicelli noodles with pork in other eateries (a must-have while in HK) and this one was just normal compared to the other ones we have had. The noodles were more like dumplings than noodles, the bite wasn’t chewy or elastic at all.
All in all, it was worth a long wait. Good job, Crystal Jade, for providing delicious noodles and dumplins to the world (there is a lone franchise in SF, USA if you’re wondering, and slew of them in Asia). The best thing about the restaurant is the fact that everything is incredibly clean, the interior as well as the dishes themselves. I think it’s a perfect place to bring guests for a nice, clean lunch or dinner. Of course, the dishes are a bit on the more pricier side (30 something HK dollars for side-dishes and 40-100 HK dollars for main dishes) compared to some street eateries, but nonetheless a good place to start when trying out Cantonese dishes. If you see one, do try it out!
Until next time, happy eating! (recipes coming soon) 🙂