Vegetarian Pen Cai from Crystal Jade
Hungry for traditional Chinese fare this Chinese New Year?
Consider popping over to one of Crystal Jade’s many outlets.
Ushering in the Year of the Snake, Singapore’s largest Chinese restaurant chain recently unveiled its 2013 Lunar New Year menu. Diners can choose from four different varieties of the traditional Pen Cai (a sumptuous one pot dish), and three new flavours of Nian Gau (a festive “prosperity” dessert).
Speaking on behalf of the restaurant group, Stella To, Vice President of Corp Comms and Marketing, shared that the CNY menu provided an “excellent option for meaningful celebrations with family and friends” for today’s busy professionals and executives. Dine in and takeaway CNY Reunion dinners have certainly been popular here in Singapore as our hectic schedules make it difficult for us to cook up a storm for that all-important meal.
Thanks to an invitation from Geri and the Crystal Jade team, I had the privilege of sampling their Lunar New Year menu last week at Crystal Jade Kitchen of Ngee Ann City. Join me on this gastronomic experience as you feast your eyes on the photos.
This watercress (xi yang cai) with honey drink was a refreshing way to imbibe my favourite vegetable.
Are these mini Chinese pizzas? Well, the combination of succulent pork, meaty mushroom, and crumbly pastry provided a nice symphony of flavours and textures.
As always, the traditional Yu Sheng salad made an appearance, complete with auspicious sounding ingredients. I especially liked the crunchy strips of fried yam and the “golden pillows”.
Here’s how the eponymous local Chinese salad looks like after the waitress has gone through the auspicious ritual.
Barbecued roast meats are always a specialty at Cantonese styled restaurants. While I’m not really a meat person, this combination of roasted duck, soya sauce chicken, BBQ pork, pig’s tongue, jellyfish and marinated duck web and wing were pretty yummy. The meats were juicy and flavourful without being overpowered by sauces or seasoning.
The highlight of the evening was the Pen Cai (or treasure pot) which came stocked with tasty ingredients like shitake mushroom, sea cucumber, fish maw, abalone, scallop, pork knuckle, black moss and more. After being stewed for hours, the aroma of the broth was rich with umami flavours. You can choose from four different flavours – Golden Abalone, Shanghai Style, Golden Abalone Chicken treasure and Vegetarian (my favourite).
Desserts came next. This green tea with red bean nian gau (glutinous rice cake) sprinkled with peanuts was a fusion of Japanese and Chinese cooking.
I liked how this nian gau with osmanthus and ginger cleansed one’s palate after the rich meat heavy dishes.
These fried nian gau with strawberry jam provided a rather unique blend of savoury and sweet tastes.
My favourite dessert was this konnyaku jelly infused with chrysanthemum and honey flavours. Guess what they are shaped to look like?
To top off our culinary adventure that night, we were each given a box of Crystal Jade My Bread Fortune Bo Lo Pineapple Tart. Isn’t the packaging above rather cute?
To enjoy the delectable delights above, make a reservation or place an order by calling +65 6512 8000 or pop over to your preferred Crystal Jade restaurant. You can also place an online order from 21 Jan until 24 Feb 2013. A copy of the menu can be viewed here.
(Do note that takeaway orders must be placed for a minimum of three days in advance and collected from selected Crystal Jade outlets.)
Let’s dig in and toss for good fortune this Year of the Snake!