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In a state of hibernation. My backlog has long become unsustainable. Will probably tweet more and write less full-length stuff.


Crystal Jade - 翡翠拉麵小籠包

This is gonna be another Monster Post... this time from 翡翠拉麵小籠包 (Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao) in the Harbour City mall. Surprising how many good places there are to eat inside Harbour City. I also went to this place twice during my stay in Hong Kong. It was just so good Geoff and I had to go back. "La mian" means pulled noodles, and "xiao long bao" is a steamed pork dumpling, also known to some as a soup dumpling. As you might guess, this place specializes in these two items.

ginger and scallion noodles ginger and scallion noodles

soup noodles with fried short ribs soup noodles with fried short ribs

za zeung noodles - noodles with a chinese meat sauce za zeung noodles - noodles with a chinese meat sauce

noodles with beef in chili oil noodles with beef in chili oil I guess I'll talk about the noodles first. Noodles are a serious business in China. My dad's side of the family originates from Shandong province, an area in northeastern China. You may recognize it as the cause of the May 4th movement in 1919, when Chinese students demanded the Chinese government reject the treaty of Versailles because it left Shandong under Japanese control despite Woodrow Wilson's proclamation of national self-determination for everyone. It was also the home of Yuan Shikai, a Qing dynasty military man who switched sides and became the first president of the Republic of China after the fall of the last emperor. Historians often blame him for slowing down China's need for development at the time. See Mom, Dad, I actually do learn stuff at school. History aside now. It also happens that Shandong people know their noodles. Legend has it that my grandfather would reject noodles that were mere hours old, demanding freshly pulled ones instead. Apparently he could really tell the difference. Anyway, it was comforting to be able to see inside the Crystal Jade kitchen where there was a noodle guy pulling fresh noodles full-time. The noodles are simply awesome. I'd have to say the best was the ginger-scallion - simple and delicious. But each one was great (and there were many other variations). The chili one had just a kick of heat. The ribs were crisp and tasty. The freshly pulled noodles are just incredible. Perfect texture and taste... Don't know how else to describe it. Anyway, on to the rest.

xiao long bao - steamed pork dumplings xiao long bao - steamed pork dumplings

baked turnip bun baked turnip bun

scallion scallion "big" pancake

red oil wontons red oil wontons

pan fried pork buns pan fried pork buns

fried red bean cake fried red bean cake The xiao long bao were EXCELLENT. Probably the best I've ever had. Soupy and delicious on the inside, perfectly textured thing wrapping on the outside. I could eat these all day. The turnip bun was also great - flaky and starchy. The scallion pancake was literally called "big" so we had to try it. It was damn filling, but a good twist on the average scallion pancake - much more bready and little grease. The wontons were in the same chili oil as the beef; again, the wontons were excellent just like every form of bun at this place. The pan fried pork buns were crispy on the bottom... they could seriously challenge the ones I had in Beijing. As for the dessert, I'm normally not a big fan of red bean but this thing is one of the better Chinese desserts. Gooey, crispy, delicious. If you're in Hong Kong, go to this place. Harbour City mall.

Reader Comments (7)

I am so glad that you enjoyed all these meals.
Thursday, September 23, 2004 at 6:04PM | Unregistered Commentercangioli che
Hey, I never thought we're not getting our money's worth in your education. But it's certainly a nice bonus to see you connecting what you learnt at school with food! This is a most enjoyable post, keep them coming!
Friday, September 24, 2004 at 3:44PM | Unregistered CommenterRaphael
When I return to HK, I'll defintely take your advice and go to this ristorante.
Monday, August 8, 2005 at 6:59AM | Unregistered CommenterJames Jaw
However, you have to always wait for around 30 mins. Also you are required to share a table with unknown people. The place is always packed with people on the queue.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005 at 12:11PM | Unregistered CommenterHans
I do remember it being quite packed. One time we put our name down, then took a walk around the mall. The other we got there very early so there was still room. They didn't make us share a table with strangers, though.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 at 12:13PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Che
We just went to Crystal Jade in Central yesterday. The service is HORRIBLE! Even with nobody around on a Saturday at the Central restaurant, they would not let us sit in an area "designated" for four people when we were only a two party. The tea was also cold. After requesting the area twice, we decided that we had had enough rejections from a restaurant which showed a general disregard for customer service. We will never return to Crystal Jade again. Even McDonald's has more business savvy managers to please customers than Crystal Jade.
Saturday, August 19, 2006 at 3:40PM | Unregistered CommenterJason
Sorry to hear that, Jason. I've never experience anything but perfectly friendly, decent service.
Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 10:48AM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Che

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