Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Golden Xiao Long Bao

I chose to hold my birthday dinner at Crystal Jade. Having never tried it even when I was in HK and SG, I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. After all they even have banners proclaiming “Greenhills Shopping Center PROUDLY brings you Crystal Jade la Mian Xiao Long Bao”. And I was intrigued by the long lines snaking the venue during weekends.

Parang ginto pala ang mga Xiao Long Bao na yan! I called on a Sunday to reserve for Wednesday night and I was told that their first available table was for Thursday night. Ano ito, El Bulli during its heyday? But I persevered, even with Mr. So and his tsk tsk. For my Chinese husband, eating Chinese on dinners out is about as exciting as eating restaurant adobo for Filipinos.

So finally: Dinner night. My kids Micky and Becca, especially Becca in her full Chinese baby glory, felt right at home. It’s like Chinatown! Even the chef working on the hand-pulled noodles was Chinese. Good sign. And the much awaited Xiao Long Bao! Naman!!! Ikaw na, Xiao Long Bao! It’s a soupy pork dumpling which I dipped in heavenly black vinegar. I’ve been told that the one in Din Tai Fung tastes better. Here’s my question: Is there Din Tai Fung in Manila? There you go. Till then this will do for me. I placed two orders (10 dumplings) and it’s so bitin! Mental note to come back for more.

Since I brought hubby, our kids and the yayas – we had to order family style. No individual noodle dishes tonight but hubby and I plotted to return someday. The dishes we ordered all rated highly with everyone: Drunken Chicken marinated in Chinese wine and wollberry, Poached Beef in Spicy Sauce, Stewed Pork in black vinegar with salad dressing. Ofcourse we also had the customary dumplings, steamed veggies, yang chow and salted fish fried rice. I wanted to order the crabs too but decided to wait for the Clawdaddy dinner set the next day. The mango sago with grapes and pomelo was an excellent finish.

On a side note, I am so happy that my babies are really well-behaved. No one threw a tantrum. The yayas all ate heartily (too heartily actually, haha) and the other Chinese patrons gave my baby girls adoring looks which made me so proud. But after a while Becca got sleepy. Maybe she figured: since you’re not feeding me those damn dumplings I might as well call it a night.

Mrs. So Says: Something tells me Crystal Jade will be my fave hangout for the next couple of months.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Chinese Restaurant with No Name

I first heard of it from my friend Chichi. And then in rapid succession, from 2 other people. It seems that any foodie worth his palate has gone to eat in “that secret Chinese food place”. How they found it baffles me, for the restaurant has no name in a building with no sign. Directions were sketchy: From Edsa heading to Rockwell, make a right after Metro Club and immediately hang a left. And then ask around for the Chinese restaurant. It’s the one with frosted windows and glass doors*.

But we did find the brightly-lit dive. It’s an all fluorescent number so don’t expect any ambience whatsoever. Btw that also means I didn’t get any decent shots of the food (I’m still thinking if I should get an SLR because it seems like too much work trying to fit it in my purse). The toilet paper unceremoniously dumped in every table doubles as both napkin and centerpiece. They serve their water in a used 1.5 liter plastic bottle of Coke, for crying out loud. So it’s safe to say this joint is strictly Dine and Dash.

We ordered comforting, home-cooked style Hunan dishes. People mistake the cuisine for Sichuan because it’s kinda close. But Hunan is spicier, using more dried red chilies. Plus it’s a lot more work because they marinate the dishes day-long and use multiple cooking methods. We enjoyed the Hot Pot Duck with a boatload of red chilies and bay leaves and the slivers of Cold Pig’s Ears. The token vegetable dish was a welcome addition, steamed kai lan in a light garlic sauce. It had a healthy crunch that was our belated attempt to negate all the duck and pork fat we were scarfing down. I wanted to order the Braised Pork Belly but was told they ran out so I guess I have found my excuse to return.


Food is lovely, great bang for the buck. For a party of 5 ordering 6 dishes and drinks, our bill totaled to Php 1,510. Place is clean but completely devoid of charm, service kinda sucks and the parking is practically non-existent. The thought of losing your car adds to the thrill of the dining experience. But yeah, I’d still hit it (again).

 Mrs. So Says: I miss Ho Hoi in Malate but this one comes pretty close.

*6404 Camia Street

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Price We Pay for Cuteness

So I was shopping at Rustan's the other day when I ran across these baby shoes from Heelarious. It’s a leopard satin heel with black satin lining for infants size 0-6 months. Yes, you read it right: Heel.


I always thought it odd that Katie Holmes Cruise would allow her daughter Suri to wear heels at the tender age of 4. As a mother I think it’s bad news for Suri’s developing spine. And now lookie here… baby shoes with heels. Nothing to fear, the heels are soft crib shoes and seriously, you’d be hard-pressed to see a 6-month old baby walk, much less in heels.

I was trying to decide if these would look cute on my 3-month old baby Becca when I saw the price tag, Php 1,800! Quick calculations put that equivalent to a dozen Bounty Fresh Gourmet Whole Chickens (which btw retail at Php 150 and come in 4 different flavors – Sweet & Spicy, Tandoori, Honey Butter and Honey Garlic – pop in your turbo broiler and voila, scrumptious roast to rival Country Chicken).

And so just like that I decided that unless I get someone else to buy the shoes, heels are for mommies and mommies alone.

Mrs. So Says:  My baby girl is cute enough, thank you very much.