I haven’t been to Greenhills in ages. Hubby wanted to go here because he received tips from online folks that this is the place to go to in Manila for Xbox repair. You see, it’s not only a haven for clothes and accessories but also the latest in mobile phones and electronics equipment. I think they sold the iPhone 4 here, even before it was offered by Globe to its subscribers.
Greenhills also equals food. The whole area is peppered with restaurants boasting of good food to try. And at present, one resto packs them in – Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao which is an overseas branch (franchise?) of a chain based in Singapore.
We arrived at Crystal Jade about 5 p.m. and there were already people seated outside & waiting to be seated inside. Ugh. I got a number which indicated our place in the queue and went to shop in V-Mall. Wow. I couldn’t recognize Virra Mall anymore, which was quite popular in the 80s and 90s, before the advent of the present day supermalls.
Alas! After close to one hour of gallivanting in V Mall, our turn to be seated in Crystal Jade was yet to come. In fact, it was close to 30 minutes after arriving from the mall before we were let in. Or one and a half hours of waiting, overall. It was a good thing that we can see the chefs doing their work by the glass window. At this point in time when Crystal Jade is new and very much in-demand, eating here is not for the hungry or impatient 😉
I got feedback from my friends that service during Crystal Jade’s first opening days was really bad. But it wasn’t so during our visit. The waitstaff were attentive and service was fast, so fast in fact that the first to arrive in our table was the dessert 😀
The red bean paste pancake (P128) was worth trying out, especially as I love red bean or azukin, in Japanese cuisine.
I liked the deep-fried souffle ball with red bean paste better (P138). I couldn’t quite forget the fluffiness of its dough which melted in my mouth like marshmallows.
For the appetizers, we had cold cucumber with minced garlic in sesame oil (P180) and the smoked fish (P188). They were good, although I was quite taken aback with the fish, since it was served cold. Maybe that was how it should be.
For a place like Crystal Jade, it’s a sin not to try their house specialty, steamed soupy pork dumpling or xiao long bao (P158). So I placed an order good for five pieces. But perhaps, Crystal Jade wasn’t prepared for somebody like me who just tasted the divine dumplings of the original Din Tai Fung. Their xiao long bao fell short of my expectations because it wasn’t soupy enough and the steamed wrapper seemed too thick. Hopefully, the lack of ‘soupiness’ and texture isn’t consistent for all the servings. Maybe the kitchen was just rushing too much that night.
The rest of the dimsum, like the pan-fried Shanghai pork bun and the deep-fried scallion pastry didn’t make too much of an impression either.
To be fair, we did like the main courses and their la mian or noodles. I was restraining myself from ordering fried rice, even though the kids had it steamed. I had my tasty fresh shrimp wanton soup (P150) while hubby had his noodle in spicy & sour soup ( P288). Imagine the latter to be the usual hot and sour soup with noodles in thick sauce. It was actually very good.
I was actually at a loss on what to order for the kids who were used to their kiddie comfort food (read: spaghetti & fried chicken). But the sauteed chicken with sweet & sour sauce (P288) was a good alternative.
I also couldn’t get enough of their sauteed string bean & minced pork (P248).
The overall ambiance of the place reminded me of Hong Kong. Even the noise of the diners enjoying their food (it was mostly the Filipino-Chinese crowd that night!) The one bad thing is that the toilet is still being constructed, so you’d have to make a walk to V-Mall itself, when nature calls. However, I’d readily go back to this place to savor more of their food. Hopefully, there’d be less crowds, and the serving of xiao long bao will be better 😀
Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
Ground Floor, V-Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center
Greenhills, San Juan City
Tel. No. 570-6910, 570-6912
Operating hours: 11 am to 10 pm