Crystal Jade is well known both for its bevy of delicious Shanghainese dishes, in particular the xiao long bao, and also for its never-ending queues. We recently visited Crystal Jade Jiang Nan in Wanchai to try the premium label of this ever-popular restaurant chain.

Compared to Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao, Jiang Nan has slightly upmarket decor and, most importantly, it takes reservations! We were just in time to taste their speciality spring bamboo menu, which is a coveted delicacy throughout the southern Yangtze region of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Wuxi and Shanghai.

We started our meal with a trio of cold appetisers: wine-flavoured egg ($38 for 2), pickled cucumber rolls ($58) and bean curd sheet rolls ($68). We loved the gooey sweetness of the egg and the meaty texture of the bean curd rolls.

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The hot and sour seafood soup ($55) packed quite a powerful spicy punch and was our favourite of the two soups.

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The handmade fish balls in vegetable soup ($52) were a tad on the bland side. The fish balls were made of fresh grass carp and had a soufflé-like texture, unlike traditional Cantonese fish balls. We were surprised by the tofu-like texture, as we prefer a bouncier consistency.

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The sautéed Mandarin fish fillets with spring bamboo shoot and preserved vegetable ($228) were deliciously light yet flavourful.

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The beef tenderloin slices with spring bamboo shoot ($198) were on the heavier side but mouth-watering regardless. Each slice of beef was incredibly tender and we thoroughly enjoyed the sweet soy sauce.

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We wolfed down the dan dan noodles ($68) and signature xiao long bao with Kagoshima Kurobuta pork ($48 for 4) before we could grab a photo! We loved the al dente texture of the noodles, which can only be achieved when the noodles are freshly hand-pulled by the chef right before cooking, although we thought that the sauce could have used a bit more spice. The soupy steamed pork dumplings were incredibly satisfying, with a rich, flavourful broth.

We wrapped up our meal with an order of classic imperial pea pudding ($38 for 4).

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Crystal Jade Jiang Nan is a must-visit for any fan of the original Crystal Jade concept (and we love how we can pre-book). The dishes are more refined than at CJ‘s sister restaurant, and we can definitely taste the difference in the xiao long bao. The spring bamboo promotion lasts until the end of April, so make sure to try this delicacy before the season concludes!

Wanchai: Shop 310, 3/F, Tai Yau Plaza, 181 Johnston Road, 2573 8844

Yuen Long: Shop 2045, 2/F, YOHO Mall I, 8–9 Long Yau Road and 9 Yuen Lung Street, 2455 1828

This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.

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Editor-at-Large, Jetsetter Food Nomad

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