Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dim Sum Run Down: Jade Garden

I saved the best for last! I had ranked Jade Garden in one of my previous posts as having one of the best shrimp dumplings in Hong Kong. Using the quality of shrimp dumplings was really a good benchmark for the quality of a restaurant's dim sum.

There are several Jade Gardens in HK (all owned by the giant food and restaurant group called Maxim), but their menus and quality are different. The one I like (see address at the end of the post) has two dining areas: one has push carts; the other doesn't. I like the push cart side better because I like to see what yummy goodness comes around.

The dining room with push cart service

Although the two dinning areas operate differently, both rooms are equally nice and use the same beautiful tea pots, cups, dinnerware and utensils. They were sooo cute that I felt like I was having afternoon tea at a nice restaurant or hotel. They made my experience that much more enjoyable.

The cutest and most beautiful dining set I've seen at dim sum

Everything we had was good except for two items: red bean soup and roast pork. The red bean soup was too pasty (many restaurants tend to use cornstarch to thicken up this sweet dessert, but that should not be done at all); the roast pork was tough and not flavorful at all. I think the fact that they have really yummy shrimp dumplings there more than makes up for those weaknesses. How can you not love the flavorful shrimp filled inside a tender glossy wrapper? In fact, Jade Garden named these babies 水晶鮮蝦餃, meaning Fresh Crystal Shrimp Dumplings. I think that is the perfect name and description.

The best Shrimp Dumplings I had in HK - note their crystal-like quality & appearance

Other standouts (and there are a lot) from the restaurant include the following:

  • Steamed Vegetable Dumplings - Filled with various types of mushrooms, carrots and celery. You may think they're filled with boring vegetables. Don't be fooled. These were very tasty. And the dumpling wrapper was beautiful - look how you can see the filling through it?

Far from being a boring Vegetable Dumpling

  • Dumplings with Seafood and Vegetables (海皇豆苗餃) - These are similar to shrimp dumplings, except for that they are filled with scallops and pea shoots as well. These were exceptional.

They should name these "Crystal" Seafood Dumplings

  • Mini Abalone Tart (鮑魚撻) - Once you bite into it, your teeth sink into the abalone's tender texture, then you're hit by the tasty juice in the tart. It was good, but I could do without the tart, which I thought distracted me from enjoying the luxuriousness of the abalone.

Beautiful abalones presented on their tarts/pedestals

  • Custard Bun (流沙奶皇包) - What's been popular with Custard Buns ("Lai Wong Bao" 奶皇包) these days is a variety where a bun's custard filling oozes out once you bite into it. Hence, the descriptive words 流沙 are added onto its name. Sooooo very good.

I'm speechless about these Custard Buns

  • Red Bean Jello (紅豆榚) - I've never had these before. They looked so beautiful and delicate. I was most impressed by the large size of the red beans. These were light and at the right sweetness.

The sizable beads of red bean shown clearly between slices of the Red Bean Jello

  • Deep-fried Taro Puff Filled with Scallop and Seafood (帶子海鮮芋頭酥) - I've had many taro puffs before, but none like these. These were soooo good! Light and crispy outside; tasty seafood inside, all topped with a thin slice of scallop.

These Taro Puffs were my favorite!

This place is definitely a must see & eat when you're in Hong Kong.

Jade Garden (翠園)
1 Hysan Avenue, 3rd Floor (香港銅鑼灣廣場二期3樓)
Causeway Bay, HK

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