Yes I do dislike that gigantic mall in the center of the city. I think it’s too big, too pretentious, and they could at least have used real plants instead of plastic.
Yet here I am telling you about another restaurant it houses.
Crystal Jade, or La Mian Xiao Long Bao, didn’t hit me instantly. First, because I am always apprehensive on Chinese restaurants that are not vegetarian due to their unrelenting usage of animal-derived stock.
When I first ate there, I was impressed only by one of its items: the little pastries filled with chopped turnips. They were so cute, that I baptized them as bunny cakes since I forgot the name anyway.
The pastry was crunchy, thin and deliciously layered. The filling was tender and delicately flavored. Although, I must warn you, my tastebuds have been very accustomed to garlic seasoning on various scales.
Well, after my second visit, I began to appreciate other vegetarian options available in the restaurant and not long after, I even took my mum there.
Interior wise: not very special. I am definitely not impressed by the line of dead ducks waiting to be cooked. but I do like the see-through kitchen, which allows me peeks of the noodle-making process. The restaurant, is, dare I say, modern-minimalistic overall, with touches of black and Japanese-inspired furniture. Think lines.
I love dumplings. and noodles. So when I noticed during my third visit that Crystal Jade has vegetarian ones, I jumped for them. They didn’t disappoint. Contrary to the bunny cakes, these ones are soft on the skin and filled with chopped, crunchy vegies. We also ate vegie dumplings at another chinese restaurant: Din Tai Fung in Senayan, a few days ago. and those ones were even better-super tender wrappings and excellent sauce, but Din Tai Fung is a notch above with its one Michelin star, and thus was more expensive.
When I feel piggish, I order the Crystal Jade’s Dandan noodles. The soup is rich with garlic, sesame, peanut, and chili. The noodle is decently made. I am pretty sure that it doesn’t contain animal stock, what with all those flavors already, but hmm, maybe I should ask next time to be sure.
And then there’s the Scallion and Garlic Pancakes. They’re a little tricky to locate on the menu, because the ones featured are the shredded pancakes, which is not as flavorful. Try to find the actual, round, pancakes, kids.
The common scenario is eating one or two slices of pancakes before taking the rest home (result of being stuffed with previous orders). And they are good for keeping over two days. Mum said the garlic was a bit too strong and my friend Ananda Ayu said it was boring,but it’s lovely for me.
At one point, I also ate at the Crystal Jade in Plaza Senayan with her. To my disappointment, they didn’t have my usual favorites, and there were less vegetarian options. I think the one there is aiming more towards “exotic” or something, what with jelly fishes on the menu and all.
I forgot what I ordered there, I think some kind of vegetable soup or something and it was, admittedly, healthier, but dang it, I want my bunny cakes and nutty noodles!
Grand Indonesia East Mall, UG floor
(Near Food Hall)
Jl MH Thamrin No 1