Sunday, January 19, 2020

Post Party Dim Sum

We were sorting out where to eat the day after the Michelin Gala dinner and at the end "settled with" Jade Dragon under the same roof. Well I suppose "settled with" may not be an appropriate description, given the restaurant just kept the highest 3-star rating at the Michelin Guide for 2 years in a row.

I have never been to the restaurant ever since Chef Kelvin Au Yeung took over as head chef so this is a great opportunity to check out his food as well (with our previous visit being mid last year). And the original plan for a quick lunch with a small group of friends became a long meal with 10 - a long story why it became so, but anyway, the unexpected turn of event also meant we could have more dishes to share with this impromptu, post-party lunch gathering.

We let Chef Kelvin work out our menu with a few specific requests in addition. After the amuse-bouche of pickled cucumbers and smoked eel, first to come were a few dim sum dishes. Both baked items were outstanding, including one filled with sautéed Australian wagyu and the other iberico pork. The xiaolongbao was served in a fancy bamboo basket and filled with juicy minced pork and Japanese kegani (hairy crab) meat. The har gau (shrimp dumpling) and Cheung fun (rice flour roll) were given a colorful twist with the green Jade Dragon Dumpling mixed with minced chives and the red rice flour roll stuffed with crispy prawn made using brown rice for their unique colors. Both were tasty beyond the fancy appearances.

When Chef Kelvin suggested to bring us rabbitfish soup I didn’t expect an extravagant version filled with delicacies. Rabbitfish, or lai mang in Cantonese, is a common and humble fish species found in every local market, known for its rich flavor if cooked properly. Here chef carefully picked the meat from the tiny fish and turned that into a milky soup done Shunde-style mixed in with shrimp roes and well-aged dried mandarin peel to rid of the fishy flavor and for the pleasant aroma. On top was a piece of big fish maw and a quenelle of caviar, adding to the flavor, with tofu stuffed with crab meat underneath. The soup was rich and hearty and filled with such complex flavor in what looked like a simple bowl. Impressive.

We continued with more dishes, some from the open-fire barbecue done in a special room near the restaurant entrance, plus a couple seafood dishes. The huge piece of mantis shrimp was pound flat, dipped in batter, deep-fried and served with a lobster sauce. I love its slightly bouncy texture and the well-seasoned meat. The French Gillardeau oysters came in perfect sizes and were done Cantonese style, deep-fried with a wet batter for the crispy and fluffy texture - no additional seasonings needed.

I secretly hoped Chef Kelvin will prepare us some char siu as I believe the restaurant serves one of the best versions in all of Hong Kong and Macau and here it was, a large plate of it, roasted just before being brought to our table. The meat from Iberico pork collar cut has the perfect texture, tender and juicy, and it’s finished with a light maltose glaze and a lightly charred crust. A textbook example of a perfect char siu and just the way I wanted. I personally thought the roast goose was on the lean side, but the skin was done crisp with a hint of lychee wood smokiness after being roasted in the wood fire.

What a surprise when more dishes came our way (and more surprises when we managed to finish them all) – it’s the first time I had the roast suckling pig stuffed with sticky rice at the restaurant, and I thought it was outstanding, with the crispy skin cut into bite-sized portion and wrapped around the tasty sticky rice. I also love the pickled radishes served along side to balance the fatty flavor. And we finished with sautéed watercress with garlic, probably one of the more straight-forward dish of the day but tasty nonetheless.

“Just a few desserts to share,” what Chef Kelvin casually mentioned turned out to be an sumptuous spread of desserts which filled the whole table. My favorite was the baked sago pudding topped with white truffles – the aroma from the truffles did work well with the sweet and warm custard. I also enjoyed the bowl of double-boiled almond cream with egg white for the soothing flavor, and of course, the baked egg tart done the traditional way with the fluffy pastry shell. We finished with a platter of Chinese petit fours, including the crispy peanut candies and also small piece of jelly candies made of ginger juice.

It’s another long story when we faced an unexpected long delay on our journey home after the meal, but at least all of us were well fed and satisfied with such top-class dishes from start to finish. It’s truly worth a special trip, and better when this time we only needed to walk down from the same building.

(Our host was more than kind to pick up the bill so I guess this counts as a sponsored meal)

More pictures can be found in my Flickr album:

When? December 18 2019
Where? Jade Dragon, Level 2, The Shops at The Boulevard, City of Dreams, Macau
Menu Highlights? Jade Dragon Prime-Cut Barbecue Iberico Pork Collar

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