Monday, January 21, 2013

Chinese New Year Treats: Crystal Jade Kitchen

Chinese New Year is feasting period. Many pencai is a favourite, as is the ubiquitious yu sheng. Today's feature is on Crystal Jade Kitchen's offering...affordable CNY treats.

The Crystal Jade chain is one of the larger chain Chinese restaurants in Singapore, if not the region. Boasting of 100 restaurants, they pride themselves in being able to cleverly carve out the market segment not only into various regional cuisines, but also in price levels. Smart marketing. The CJ Kitchen is the regular, eat everyday restaurant. Prices reflect this, as does the level and quality of the ingredients. But the cooking is still quite good.

This restaurant is somewhat within the bowels of Ngee Ann City, in Basement 2. But a nice neat restaurant with a bakery store.

We started with a curious dish...a Chinese pizza of sorts...with pork floss, chinese sausage on a pastry.

Interesting methot. The flavours meld well...the bahu providing nice dry, crisp flavour and ably supported by the flavourful chinese sausage.

The yu sheng, done in traditional lohei...

Usual ingredients, with salmon raw fish. Each ingredient symbolises a certain aspect of wishes for the New Year. And the tossing is to bring luck and prosperity to the participants.

The platter of BBQ meats was served next

Comprising of roasted duck, soy sauce chicken, BBQ pork rib with honey sauce, jelly fish, marinated Duck Web and wing and pig's tongue...this dish was rather tasty, and an excellent appetizer.

The main course was, of course the pencai

Comprising multiple layers of abalone, black moss, pork knuckle, fish maw and served with a whole chicken, pig's tongue, radish, sea cucumber, conpoy, dried mushroom, lotus root, deep fried pig's skin and preserved meats. The dish is, of course, by the list of the ingredients, very rich. The broth infused with the flavours of all theingredients, and is quite robust. I really liked the radish, which, humble as it is as a vegetable, quietly sits and absorbs all the flavour.

Dessert was rather interesting...a twist of the traditional nian gao...or new year cake.

In interesting flavours...clockwise from bottom left...nian gao with strawberry jam; nian gao with green tea, red bean and raisin; nian gao with osmanthus and ginger; and the crysanthemim and wolfberry ingot of Konnyaku jelly. The nian gao with osmanthus and ginger was my favourite of the evening. The nian gao were all, perhaps modernized...less sweet, but retaining the sticky consistency of traditional nian gao...perhaps to suit the healthier palate desired by diners these days.

This was an invited media review. Thanks to Samantha of Crystal Jade, and JJ Koh & Geri of Story3 for the invitation and kind hospitality.

Crystal Jade Kitchen
Takashimaya Shopping Centre
#B2-38

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