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Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao, Hong Kong

Since Mark came home a few months back for his month-long vacation, he would tell me every now and then about how he wants us to go on an out of the country vacation, to Hong Kong specifically. I of course didn't take that seriously because 1) he has already been to Hong Kong in 2012 and 2) going out of the country entails a lot of planning and preparation and I guess you know by now that we both suck at that. Haha! I know I told you that I always want everything planned but I just don't know how to do the planning haha! Well yeah I'm weird like that! Hahaha! :p

IMG_9265With Mark's Mom at the Hong Kong International Airport

So the days passed and we already got to enjoy different getaways (which were all unplanned) and everything turned out to be so much fun. And although I was also hoping that we'll push through with the Hong Kong trip, we still got no specific plans so I just told myself to not entertain the thought. It was just after our Anilao getaway, barely a week before Mark gets back to UAE, when I finally knew that he was serious with the out of the country vacation.

With time already running out and with both of us not really good into organizing trips, we just let the professionals do the planning for us. We hired the services of Missy Diva Travels. We told her details like the dates that we want and the places that we'd like to go to in Hong Kong and she took care of everything. Will tell about the details of our experience with Missy Diva Travels in my next posts.

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Mark's Mom posing for some pictures while waiting for our guide. :)

Our flight was scheduled early morning and we arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport on April 7, Monday, around past 7am. We met with the guide who'll take us to our hotel and because we were advised that the bus that will pick us up will arrive at 9am, we first decided to have breakfast at the airport.

IMG_9256Our first Hong Kong group selfie! On our way to the Immigration :p

We didn't see any familiar restaurants at the airport except for McDonald's and Starbucks. Although I knew that we also have Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao here in the Philippines (in Greenhills), we definitely wanted to try something new, those that we haven't tried yet, plus all of us really love Chinese food, so we chose to have our first Hong Kong food trip here. :)

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Another thing that led us to this restaurant is the bulk of diners, mostly travelers of course, coming in and out of the place. A staff welcomed and greeted us as we went into the restaurant. She then ushered us to our seats. The place was obviously filled with fellow travelers but we were still able to score a table for three.

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Crystal Jade is a casual dining restaurant which offers Peking, Sichuan, and Shanghai cuisine. It's menu has a wide variety of Chinese dishes, from dimsum to noodles to large plates of Chinese food.

I initially thought ordering would be a breeze because the staff who welcomed us spoke in English. Well she just actually said "Good morning! Welcome to Crystal Jade!" as we entered and I guess that's just a couple of the few English sentences that she knew.

And although the items on the menu had English translations, I just don't know if they have a different Chinese name because the server doesn't seem to understand when I ordered using the dishes' English names. And so we just had to literally point to the picture of the dishes that we want. :p

Crystal Jade understands that everybody is in a rush, so everything (ordering, food delivery, and such) occurred fast. Our food came in a few minutes after we placed our orders.

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Mark and I are really not the adventurous types when it comes to food. But between him and I, I can say that he is the more adventurous. Just like when he went for this lemon water with chia seeds instead of his usual coffee or hot chocolate for breakfast. I guess Mark was expecting it to have a hint of sweetness, but it's just water with lemon so it really tasted bland with a little citrus-y kick. The chia seeds added texture though, it's as if you're eating tapioca.

I on the other hand went safe and opted for their milk tea. There was mild sweetness and creaminess and I loved that the tea wasn't overpowering.

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We just had a light breakfast and chose congee and soup plus some dimsum. Mark's Mom had congee with chicken strips. Though the picture doesn't give justice, Mark's Mom approved of this dish. It comes in a huge serving too!

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Crystal Jade's specialties are La Mian and Xiao Long Bao which we got to try. Mark had the beef noodle soup and because I'm just too lazy to check the rest of the menu, I also ordered the same.

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I love how the color of the beef and the onion rings were so vibrant that it gave "life" to this rather simple-looking dish. Simple as it may look, this dish was bursting with flavors!

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The La Mian, hand-pulled noodles made from the finest ingredients, was indeed something for Crystal Jade to boast about. There were actually a a lot of choices for the La Mian dishes, but our beef noodle soup was good enough. The very long noodles have a nice "bite" with a subtle hint of sweetness. The beef broth was very tasty and just had the right amount of saltiness. I also loved that it wasn't too oily unlike other beef noodle soups that I've tried. The beef slices though very flavorful and mostly tender had some parts (I guess those with tendons?) that were a bit chewy. The green onions added texture and enhanced the flavor of the tasty soup.

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Another specialty is the Steamed Soupy Pork Dumpling "Xiao Long Bao". And yes, it lives up to its name. You can taste the rich pork broth inside the dumpling. I love that the skin was light but doesn't easily get punctured. You may choose to eat it whole using chopsticks, letting the soup burst into your mouth, but I love and enjoy eating it using a ceramic soup spoon. I'll bite a little, poking a hole in the dumpling, sip out the soup, and then dunk the rest of the dumpling in my mouth. The combination of textures, the smooth and soft dumpling skin plus the tender and chunky pork meat, feels like heaven on my mouth. I think I can eat this all day! Yum! :D

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Our noodle soups came in huge servings (one bowl is actually good for sharing) so we had the rest for takeaway. We asked the server to have our soup wrapped for takeaway and we were handed with microwavable bowls and a plastic bag. Apparently this is how they do it in Hong Kong, which I think is an advantage for the diners because they'll get to see what's going into their takeaways as they get to wrap their own food. :)

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Besides the minor struggle that we had when we placed our orders and the somehow snobbish servers, of course because of language barrier, everything in our dining experience at Crystal Jade turned out well. Crystal Jade has a clean modern Asian design plus an open kitchen wherein diners get to see how their food is cooked, which are both very conducive to a sumptuous meal. Although I wasn't able to take note of the prices, the food was reasonably priced as we only paid for around HK$300 for our breakfast.

Dining at Crystal Jade was indeed a good welcome to us. It actually made us more excited to look forward to more food trips in Hong Kong. :)

CRYSTAL JADE LA MIAN XIAO LONG BAO, Hong Kong International Airport
Arrivals, Meeters and Greeters Hall
Level 5 Terminal 1, Hong Kong International Airport
Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong, China SAR
852-2261-0553
kriskamarie
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