Me and my girlfriend used to haunt the hallowed tiangge stalls of Greenhils every Sunday (until she had to move temporarily to Davao for work). It would usually be a win-win situation, as she gets to attend church service, while i get to roam the stalls looking for bargains. Early into our Sunday forays into Greenhills, we chanced upon Crystal Jade.
The first thing I noted were the reviews posted outside the front door. Very distinguished reviews from all over. This piqued my curiosity even further, and prompted us to try and get in. Take note, TRY. If you want to eat here, be early. Lunchtime is crunch-time here. It will almost always be full. So come in a half-hour early, or a half-hour late. Recently, they've started operating outside the normal meal hours, so an afternoon snack here is now feasible, but for lunch or dinner, be early.
I have tried several items here on my different visits. But only two things will end up on my order sheet every single time: the La Mian (with the peanut soup), and the Xiao Long Bao. First, I am a fan of noodles. Pasta, canton, miki, bihon, la mian, udon, soba.. Anything noodly, and i have a chance of liking it. And the La Mian with the peanut soup is absolutely, definitely, positively the BOMB. It tastes like Kare-Kare or Mole, in a soup. With perfect noodles every single time. It's a huge bowl, and is good enough for two very hungry people. I have tried to squeeze it in for 4 people in the past though, but if you want to burp happily after, assign 1-2 people per bowl. Second, my girlfriend is a fan of the Xiao Long Bao. Its a broth-stuffed pork dumpling, which you dip in vinegar (which is already in a class of its own), scoop up with a ceramic spoon - so that the membrane doesnt break, then stuff into your mouth while being careful of how hot the broth inside the dumpling is and relishing the delicious texture of the meat. It gives a happy-hurt feeling, reminiscent of S&M I suppose, as I got scalded on the tongue several times when the membrane broke and the hot broth gushed into my mouth on that delicious first bite.
Pork Rib - it's a huge order. and tasty too.
Chicken with Chili - it looks scary, but its not. The chilis are there for the flavor and not for the heat. It has a rather delicate chili flavor lacing the meat.
Roast duck - amazing in how they serve it. They carve it up in front of you, so that everybody gets a piece of the skin first, then bring it back with the flesh chopped up.
Dried Fish fried rice - well, I'd orther this in any chinese restaurant that has it anyways.
They have a very wide menu, so dont worry about children and finicky eaters. Plus it has pictures, and the orders are generally true to the photo, so you wont be disappointed.
The only downside I see, is the price. It's not exorbitant, and it wont break the bank, but it does put a good dent into your wallet. The items are priced at 250-600 PhP (with the prawns and fish taking the upper range, the duck costs more than 2k). As I said, it's not high, but its also not low enough for the casual eater when other cheaper options abound in the vicinity. All I can add to its argument, is that it is worth the price. I havent left that restaurant hungry or without my proper fill.
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