Time really flies like a bumblebee the last year. Just last week it was Christmas, then the New Year and in another 20 days time, it is the Lunar New Year festivities. This year in 2012, the Chinese New Year will be ushering in the Water Dragon and in the line up for all reunion dinners and joyous gatherings, restaurants will be packed as usual with a whole line up of creative delights to welcome in prosperity, luck, happiness and good health!

Crystal Jade Dining In, the Fine Dining arm of the ubiquitous Chinese family dining restaurant will be throwing it’s doors open for this coming Chinese New Year with a twist and creativity from it’s traditional delicacies, and it comes in the name of Pagoda of Eight Treasures!

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To begin any Chinese New Year get together, there is almost always the presence of the Golden Yu Sheng ($88 large). With a variety of shredded vegetables and ingredients such as fish, crackers and sauces to go along, the modern day Yu Sheng which we have come to know of in Singapore is then tossed together with loud proclamations of auspicious phrases and jubilancy by everyone.

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Salmon, the traditional favourite ingredient for the Yu Sheng

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Huat ah!!

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Fantastic. The portion at Crystal Jade is slightly sweeter but I found that quite adequate when paired with the refreshing shredded vegetable pieces.

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Ah but then, while the Yu Sheng is a signature classic, the Pagoda of Eight Treasures ($88) is a harmonious creation from the Indonesian Nasi Tumpeng traditionally served at celebrations and festive occasions.  Created to be communally shared by all, the Pagoda of Eight Treasures comes with a centre pyramid signifying high status with the number “8” implying prosperity and wealth.

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The assortment of 7 other treasures coming along with it are as follows :

  • Preserved sausage and Preserved liver sausage suggest hope for the house to be full of wealth.
  • Chicken fillet and quail egg deep fried to golden hues to resemble gold pieces.
  • Marinated octopus implies the many ways to obtain and retain wealth.
  • Sauteed French beans symbolizing safety all year round.
  • Sauteed shrimp with mushroom while sounding like “ha” in Cantonese, signifies laughter and happiness.

A festive delight and surely something which is eye catching and different from the norm!

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Though while there are the modern creations and takes between cultures, some traditional dishes are always just as good when being served to guests. The Double Boiled Quail Soup with Chinese Herbs ($22/serving) is one which should not be missed. Light and clear tasting with a subtle savoury richness emanating from the whole quail, the bird in its entirety represents completeness.

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As a proper end to the previous year and a good beginning to the new one, this is one dish that is warm and satisfying.

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However, from the entire meal, the one dish that really impressed me the most would be the Steamed Sea Bass with Preserved Vegetables ($12/serving) . Upon serve, the delicate sweet and slightly salty scent from the preserved vegetables is unmistakable. And when the first portion of fish tickles the tastebuds, I was almost imagining the entire dish to be the made from the richness and smoothness of cod. The vegetables itself accentuate the light clean tasting flavours of the fish, and the light sauce draped all over, act as a catalyst in bringing the flavours together in one harmony.

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The word “fish” in Chinese is a homophone for “surplus” and it signifies a family’s wishes for abundance of wealth and prosperity the whole year round!

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And before one ends off the meal with the sweet satisfying flavours of dessert, there is the Braised Dou Miao with Assorted Dried Seafood ($12/serving). The whole dish itself is created with plenty of well sounding phrases accompanying it. Dou Miao being seedling, posses an outlook of spring and a positive start of the new year. And the sauce braised with an assortment of rich seafood such as abalone, fish maw, sea cucumber and conpoy, signify the treasures which this one dish can contain in abundance and prosperity. Though if it was me, I would really love the Steamed Sea Bass more.

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As a light and sweet ending to end the entire occasion, the Dessert Combination of Glutinous Rice Cake with Coconut and Fried Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Grated Peanut ($2.40/serving) can be served. The Glutinous Rice Dumpling which is moulded into a round shape and traditionally consumed on the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, symbolizes family togetherness.

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The traditional Nian Gao or Glutinous Rice Cake also makes an appearance but this time round with coconut essence infused within and grated coconut as a beautiful garnish. A very flavourful dish with the unique sweet fragrance of coconut and the soft chewiness of the Nian Gao, makes the end of the meal a symbiotic completion. The Rice Cake has an enduring cultural history and it is considered good luck to eat Nian Gao during the New Year because it symbolizes raising oneself higher each coming year.

If my reunion dinner this year were to be held in a Crystal Jade Dining In, the dishes that I would order would definitely be the Pagoda of Eight Treasures because of its uniqueness and the Double Boiled Quail Soup and Steamed Sea Bass with Preserved Vegetables for its flavourful embraces. The Nian Gao is also a must have as the subtle scent of coconut is so everlasting and delicate that it makes it impossible to have only a single piece. Crystal Jade Dining In is a nice choice to begin with, and with the restaurant overlooks the harbour towards Sentosa. Imagine a beautiful sunset and the waves lapping across. While within the restaurant, rambunctious laughter and joy burst forth in festivity.

Thank you Crystal Jade and Linea Communications for the invitation.

Crystal Jade Dining In
1 Harbourfront Walk #01-04
Vivocity
Reservations : 6278 5626