Shop B221A, Times Square
Ph: (852) 2506 0080
Ten countries, and with ten branches in Hong Kong alone, the Jade Crystal Group is a dining behemoth that I would be happy to see in Australia. Having eaten at a few branches over the years, and a variety of dishes, I can state that the standard is good, and it is consistent. It is also better than most similar places in Sydney, in my view.
Hot and sour soup (HKD35)
This photo is deceptive, as it was a good sized serving. Not too hot, nor too sour or vinegary (and I do like my vinegar), nicely balanced, and not containing the excessive cornflour that this soup sometimes seems to 'attract'. I'd have liked a bit more chilli component, but that's a very subjective preference, as I tend to like this soup with a bit more of a punch.
Xiao long bao (HKD28)
Well pleated, the skin thin and transluscent, the sweet rich broth so tongue scorchingly hot (as I like it) that you have to wait until it cools down enough to eat, this mainstay of the cuisine and cult bun (not a dumpling, as many seem to call it) is a form of comfort food, and Crystal Jade's hit that comfort spot. I've commented on the consistency of the restaurants, this is one example of this.
Panfried Shanghai buns (HKD24)
I grew up eating frequently eating these buns, and the ones that I ate were similar to these in size and the texture and thickness of the bun. Through to adulthood, I thought of these buns in this way. Sydney, however, seems to like them with a much thicker and more fluffy bun than I am used to, and that I like. To me, the thickness of the exterior should be thinner, the filling more substantial, proportionately, to the typical Sydney exemplar, but perhaps this is a matter of regional variations. These were good, the bottoms nicely browned and lightly crisped, the filling generous and flavoursome.
Three visits during my time in Hong Kong, and I only remembered my camera on the final visit. Ah well. The missing dishes were all noodle ones, including Dan Dan Noodles, and they too, are recommended.
Crystal Jade gives consistent quality and value for money. They are popular, so at some of the branches, including this one, you may have to queue during peak hours. The turnover is fairly quick, however, so it's worth the short wait.