Thursday, December 26, 2013

Crystal Jade Golden Palace

Chinese New Year tastings have begun...Crystal Jade Golden Palace invited me to a tasting of their very innovative menu for the Year of the Horse.

Chinese New Year celebrations start with the now famous Yu Sheng...a tradition these days and a must have. And to differentiate, chefs have been innovating on the ingredients.

Here we have pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, white sesame and peanuts are added to a salad of fresh vegetables and slices of sweet mango.

Fresh salmon and amberjack fish slices, topped with gold leaf flakes are drizzled with Crystal Jade's special plum sauce and hazelnut oil. The mix is then tossed by the diners, and as each of the ingredients symbolice abundence, wealth and health, the participants get to enjoy the blessing for a great start to the new year.

A very interesting, and special fish is next

The Amadai fish is specially imported from Japan, deep fried to a golden brown and covered all over with crispy shimmering scales. The first time I ate fish scales was in Guy Savoy, a 3 star Michelin restaurant at their main restaurant in Rue Troyon in Paris. Amazingly, Crystal Jade's chefs have recreated a very similar dish...though the French dish was not deep fried and this was, the scales looked and tasted very similar. Very light, crispy, very delicately flavoured. The fish itself is elegant, mild and with shichimi powder...a harmonous blend of chillies, orange peel, peppercorns, sesame seeds, dried ginger and seaweed...the taste is sublime. Very nice. Wonderful mouth feel.

A lobster was next

The Chinese name for lobster is Dragon prawns, and dragons are auspicious to the Chinese. Canadian lobster, which I had once in Vancouver, and explained to me by the restaurant owner as superior to Boston as it is more flavourful, more tender meat, is used. The shellfish is seared with hot oil, and gently simmered in superior stock containing halibut. The chef describes this style as yin yang cooking, and explained that it ensures sweet flavours of luscious, firm, white flesh of the lobster sealed by the scalding, and then infused with the goodness and mildly sweet taste of halibut. Eating the lobster, I would declare he was very successful. Reminiscent of the one I had in Vancouver.

A pork dish was next

Wouldn't be much fun if its just plain old pork served, pan fried, right? And of course that won't be a case for the inspired team at Crystal Jade. Strips of kurobuta pork from Japan, sauteed with 2 different varietals of mushrooms, a tricolor of capsicums, and cordycep flowers. The dish is light, yet bursting and overflowing with flavours. The pork was very tender, and suitably mild, allowing the palate of the mushrooms, capsicum and flowers to highlight the dish. A light, organic raw extra virgin coconut oil permeates with a light, fragrant, and yet very creamy foundation. Very nice.

Having been delighted with the first 3 dishes, the fourth brings the meal to a crescendo

Scallops, seared and braised with sea cucumbers in a superior stock. With two sprigs of sauteed asparagus to provide a bit of colour and extra flavour. The combination rests on a bed of sweet corn, wheat and barley as a substitute for traditional rice as a starch. Beautiful flavours meld together in a very nice symphony.

And finally the sweets...a trio of the familiar, the traditional with a twist and the innovative.

First the innovative, black eyed pea cake, steamed

The traditional with a twist, steamed carrot cake

And the familiar with a twist...CNY glutinous rice cake, steamed

A truly superb meal. Worthy of a consideration for the upcoming Chinese New Year.

Many thanks to Samantha of Crystal Jade and JJ of Pinstripes for hosting and the invitation.

Crystal Jade Golden Palace
5th floor Paragon Shopping Center

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