Clean and honest eating
Mother’s Day is here, so before anything else, I would like to greet our family’s own Wonder Woman, The Amazing Carmelita, a Happy Mother’s Day!
Quick shout out too to the heavens, to the Inquirer’s much missed mom Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, whose spirit reigns supreme. I’m sure you can hear her warning everyone to make sure to vote Monday against any semblance of dictatorship.
And Happy Mother’s Day to the moms running for president and vice president: Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, Senator Grace Poe and Congresswoman Leni Robredo.
Mother’s Day lunch today will certainly be lively with election fever running high in this sweltering heat. Try not to choke as your friends and family campaign passionately for aspirants who are jokes.
Lazy Susan debates
In our family, lively discussions best go with Chinese food. Whether at the high brow Summer Palace in Edsa Shangri-La (best everything), Jasmine in New World Hotel, Lung Hin in Marco Polo, Li Li in New World Manila Bay, or the more accessible Chinese restaurants like Hei Shin Lou on Pasay Road (a favorite for their roast duck), Gloria Maris (best hakaw), or Hap Chan (best prices), there’s something about Lazy Susan that makes for lively conversations and great family bonding.
Recently, I was able to brave the horrendous Fort traffic and revisit Crystal Jade, a luxe resto serving Cantonese-inspired cuisine on High Street, BGC.
By no means is Crystal Jade new to the neighborhood. It’s a Singaporean creation founded in 1991, now with over 120 outlets in 21 major cities in Asia and the US. In the Philippines, the group of tycoon Jacinto “Jack” Ng of Rebisco brought in Crystal Jade to Greenhills in 2010, then to BGC in 2013. The Greenhills branch will close in July this year although they are targeting to open five more branches in the coming months.
Fresh xiao long bao
You are likely familiar with this restaurant.
You might even be a regular.
I, for one, have loved this restaurant even when we would just experience it in Singapore. I have always appreciated the clean flavors of their offerings—MSG is only available upon request—and of course, for their signature xiao long bao.
The xiao long bao is made fresh daily for lunch. Evening dim sum is offered when the day’s production is not consumed at noon and in keeping with the Chinese tradition of having dim sum for brunch, not supper. So you can be sure your xiao long bao was never frozen.
On our last visit, I was won over by their Double-Boiled Crab Claw Soup. The superior broth is succulent, having been cooked for a full day in herbs before being poured into the coconut shell to be tempered by the coconut meat and filled with mushrooms and one fat piece of crab claw.
Pampanga food lovers will take delight in a dish similar to the Binukadkad na Plapla, but here, it’s made with garoupa. The fish is presented two ways: filleted with salt and pepper or sauteed with ginger and broccoli. It’s a very pretty dish although I would be game to even have it all just with salt and pepper.
The Sauteed Diced Beef feels like salpicao but with Chinese flavors. The Stewed Pork in Black Vinegar surprisingly gives all the joys of pork without making you feel guilty.
Dim sum buffet
But what I would look forward to the most is their dim sum buffet that will now be available on weekends. The dim sum breakfast buffet will be available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. for only P688 net. In the afternoons, Crystal Jade is also offering a dim sum buffet but only on Saturdays and Sundays and for P788++.
I think this is a great deal because one order of xiao long bao is P210 on a regular day. But with the buffet, you will also get steamed pork and shrimp dumpling with crab roe or siew mai (siomai), steamed barbecue pork bun, steamed glutinous rice with conpoy wrap in lotus leaf or machang, steamed chicken feet, steamed pork rib in black bean sauce, steamed cream custard bun with salted egg yolk (the millennial fave), steamed rice roll with barbecue pork, deep fried yam dumpling with scallops and mushrooms and pan-fried carrot cake with dried shrimp.
And you can obviously eat unlimited amounts.
My only wish is that they would tweak the menu a little to make it a dim sum and champagne buffet. After all, Sundays are for champagne brunches, right?
Mother’s Day special
As with most restaurants, Crystal Jade also has special 8-course menus with duck, pork, garoupa, and a variety of other specials to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Wherever you celebrate, or even if you don’t, I hope you are able to give your mom a hug today, whether real or virtual or spiritual—and shout out a big thank you for giving love and life.
Happy Mother’s Day to all moms!