Shop 22, Level 5
Paragon Shopping Centre
290 Orchard Road
+65 6738 5535
What does one do when they have a spare five hours to kill in Singapore before they have to catch a flight back to Jakarta?
They go shopping, of course!
And would you believe it, I went shopping for clothes and for make-up. After all, I couldn’t resist the Ciate nail polish advent calendar kit box thing (and yes, I know that I could never be a beauty blogger). All that effort, though, got us hungry and so I decided to take my siblings for yum cha – once they had consumed their weight in ‘meh’ fries at some fry stand, of course.
Crystal Jade is a pretty big deal all over Asia. There are around a hundred stores all up serving predominantly Cantonese food, though Teochew and Shanghainese dishes make occasional appearances. In the heart of Singapore alone, there are no less than five Crystal Jade restaurants. And from the sounds of it, all restaurants get packed during the yum cha rush on weekends.
We were lucky to score a table for three at the Paragon Shopping Centre branch just after 12:45pm. We had to be back at the hotel by 2pm, though, so we decided to just keep things simple by ordering a handful of dishes. It wasn’t going to be hard though as Ken isn’t a fan of yum cha food (yeah, how the hell are we related?) and plus, both of them were still semi-full from the fries. The idiots.
Like most yum cha restaurants in Hong Kong, each table has an order pad where you write down your selection before giving it to the waiter.
We were given some roasted peanuts to nibble on while we waited for our food. Always a nice touch, I thought at the time.
I’ve never encountered a wu gok that came with a chicken filling rather than a pork filling so this was new to me. I think it worked just as well; it was probably slightly less sweet than the pork filling which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
We ordered two portions of XLBs. They were magnificent – we loved the perfectly delicate skins while the filling struck the right balance between sweet and moorish. They were definitely some of the best XLBs I’ve had.
For some reason, our bamboo prawn dumplings took almost 40 minutes to arrive. This annoyed me a little bit because you’d think a yum cha restaurant would be better prepared for an onslaught of har gow orders on a Saturday afternoon.
Just as I was getting the waiter to double-check on them, Ken was like, ‘Shush, Chibs, I’m sure they’re doing the best they can!’ Now, I’m a pretty understanding diner; I know how hectic it can get in the kitchen and if a dish takes longer than usual to arrive, I don’t normally make a big song and dance about it – unless, of course, the wait has been unreasonable. Such as this 40-minute wait for one steamer of har gow.
But anyway, we did end up getting our har gow. They were okay, but you could tell that they rushed it as the skins were very soggy. Not cool.
In the end, we didn’t think our meal at Crystal Jade Golden Palace was worth it. Sure, the XLBs were fantastic but we were let down by the har gow (and the wait for the har gow) and the bill. I can understand being charged a service fee (we were in a nice restaurant in Asia, after all) but I wasn’t too pleased about being charged for what I assumed were complimentary peanuts. Hell, we didn’t eat that many either – probably a couple each? This sort of begged the question: Would diners still get charged for the peanuts even if they don’t touch them? And how would the restaurant know whether the diner ate the peanuts or not? Do they count them or what?
So that concludes my very short Singapore foodie adventures. Hopefully there will be a lot more in the near future. In the meantime, let’s go back to Indonesia…