Monday, September 18, 2017

A Delightful Feast for the Senses with Crystal Dragon's New Dim Sum Creations

Intricate and tasty bite-sized pieces of steamed or fried pockets of heaven, it's really impossible to resist the wide variety of steamers with freshly prepared dim sum. Tracing its roots from the Silk Road, the iconic Cantonese delicacy which literally translates to "touch the heart," is elevated to a whole new level by Executive Chinese Chef Bong Jun Choi and his team with their new dim sum creations at City of Dreams Manila's Crystal Dragon...  

A refreshing sip of tea followed by the fresh and vibrant notes of delicate dim sum is always a welcome treat, and Crystal Dragon at City of Dreams Manila masterfully recreates authentic dim sum with an innovative flair that first feeds the eyes before the palate for a sensory dining experience like no other. Read on for a few visual bites of Crystal Dragon's new dim sum creations...  

Inside the elegant interiors of Crystal Dragon, our lunch began with a refreshing Lobster Dumpling Soup (R) with its fresh notes (for more on Crystal Dragon, see my previous posts, Authentic Cantonese Flavors with an Elegant Spin at Crystal Dragon and #CNYatCOD: Chinese New Year at City of Dreams Manila's Crystal Dragon).

Fresh from the Abalone Specials of the previous month, Executive Chinese Chef Bong Jun Choi weaves his own spin on this prized seafood, a favorite at the royal court during the Ming Dynasty, with his Steamed Abalone Sao Mai Dumplings (P 480). Topped with a succulent abalone, the steamed dumpling offers rich yet delicate flavors with the briny notes of the abalone adding both flavor and texture with each bite.

No visit to Crystal Dragon is complete without their signature and popular dim sum item, the Cantonese Steamed Three Dim Sum Combination (P 390), a trifecta of flavorful dim sum offering distinct yet varied notes with Steamed Scallop, Mushroom, and Spinach Dumpling, Steamed Pork Dumpling with Yellow Chives and Water Chestnut, and the Steamed Crab Meat and Abalone with Squid Ink Dumpling. The vivid colors provide a visual clue on the flavors, rich yet delicate, subtle without overpowering the palate.

Another Crystal Dragon favorite is the Steamed Rice Roll with Seafood (P 280) served with a tasty peanut sauce. Wrapped in a thin steamed rice roll filled with a succulent combination of seafood, each bite delivers fresh and delicate notes.

The courteous staff at Crystal Dragon pour a special sauce over the steamed rice rolls to complete the dish. Adding to the play on contrasting textures, each steamed rice roll has a light layer of crispness playing well with the soft roll. It's dishes like these that elevate your dim sum dining experience, but there's more...

Executive Chinese Chef Bong Jun Choi replicates a forest patch of earthy mushrooms surrounded by fresh greens with the Steamed Barbecue Pork Bun with Tea Tree Mushrooms Coated in Oak (P 260), another creative execution and a feast for the eyes. The usual pork bun is suddenly transformed, making it different and special yet comfortingly familiar. The mildly sweet, smoky and savory richness of the barbecued pork filling and the pillow-soft texture of the bun combine for a hearty and filling dish.

But Executive Chinese Chef Bong Jun Choi has even  more surprises up his sleeves with yet another elegant dim sum creation. The Deep-Fried Prawn Spring Roll with Minced Truffle and Fish Roe (P 310) is almost too pretty to eat with its graceful swan-like form. The graceful shape of the swan's head, made from a crisp egg biscuit, completes the illusion. One bite releases a rich blend of complex notes from the succulent prawn, truffle and fish roe filling capped by the airy and light crispness of the outer layer. Flavor and form come together in a perfectly executed dim sum creation.

Finally, our dim sum feast is rounded out by the last dish, the Deep-Fried Crispy Pastry Roll filled with Cod Fish and Foie Gras (P 300). The pastry shell is light, flaky and buttery with an airy crispness contrasting with the soft cod fish followed by the distinct indulgent notes of foie gras. Definitely different, and just one of many must-try dim sum creations at Crystal Dragon. 

But if you're still hungry for more, Crystal Dragon offers a variety of savory main dishes to satisfy any appetite like the best-selling Wok-Fried Chicken with Walnut and Hoisin Sauce (P 520)...

...and a beef dish prepared in that elegant Crystal Dragon style.

The Smoked Tea Beef Short Ribs served with Pickles and Fried Homemade Bun (P 2,580), is unbelievably fork-tender that melts in your mouth, lining your palate with the savory richness of premium Australian grass-fed beef. Paired with deep-fried mantou buns and pickled potatoes with a hint of heat from the chili to temper the bold notes of the beef for balanced flavors, it's another must-try dish high up on the list when visiting Crystal Dragon.

Cap your feast at Crystal Dragon with one of their sweet dim sum creations, the Oven Baked Egg Tart with Cheese (P 240) for that perfect ending pairing well a cup of soothing hot tea. The velvety smooth texture and the flaky tart delivers an indulgent sweetness followed by just a whisper of salty notes from the cheese for another delightful contrast of flavors and textures.  

One final treat from Crystal Dragon's kitchen, an indulgent plate of decadent sweets of chocolate, preserved fruit and chilled snow skin moon cake for another memorable dining experience at Crystal Dragon.

And while at City of Dreams, why not celebrate the bountiful end of the autumn harvest with some traditional delicacies? Don't miss out on City of Dreams' Mid-Autumn Festival Exclusives with their indulgent Moon Cakes offered from September 1 to 30, 2017, filled with sweet and dense white lotus paste covered in a soft pastry shell.

You can order City of Dreams Manila's exclusive White Lotus Seed Moon Cake with Double Egg Yolk (P 3,998 net per box) until October 4, 2017. Packed in elegant boxes containing four decadent moon cakes, you can call 800-8080 for orders and reservations at Crystal Dragon or Cafe Society. Craving for dim sum? Make it a delightful feast for the senses with Crystal Dragon's new dim sum creations...

Crystal Dragon is located at the Upper Ground Floor of Crown Towers Manila, Tower 1, City of Dreams Manila, Aseana Boulevard corner Macapagal Avenue, Entertainment City, Paranaque City or call 691-7772 or 800-8080 for more information.

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