Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Jeremy's 1st Birthday @ Crystal Seafood Restaurant

*Disclaimer....asking me to translate chinese dishes into english is like asking a blind man to describe the Mona Lisa. Deal with it.

So it was my little cousin's 1st Birthday and it was time to celebrate.

Jeremy - future Prime Minister! Look how proper he is sitting!

For convenience sake, we (3 cars totalling 12 people) headed off to Crystal Seafood Restaurant located conveniently opposite Strathfield train station next to the Plaza. Being a Tuesday night, booking wasn't necessary and we got promptly seated. Within 5mins, we received a plate of complimentary prawn chips.

Every kid loves prawn chips.....every big kid loves prawn chips! Every big kid like me likes chips fullstop! How could you resist the light crispy prawn chips.....especially when they looked like this???

MmmMmm oily goodness

Of course....being a responsible adult.....I limited myself to 2 whilst my nephews demolished the rest. The usual complimentary soup was served.....and I loved it! It wasn't heavy laden with MSG like all other chinese restaurants, and I really love this soup normally anyway. I don't know what the veggie is called in English, but the literal translation is Foreigner/English Vegetable "Sai Yeung Choi".

I would've had another bowl if the good stuff didn't come out so soon......

Crispy skin Dove/quail

MmmMmm......this was GOOD. The skin was crispy, and the meat was tender and juicy. I'll ignore the layer of fat that makes it so moist since I am on my healthy eating attempt #3129...

Pipis in XO sauce

The one thing that annoys me about alot of asian restaurants is that when they cook Pipis, they boil them until they are almost cooked and the shells are opened, then they quickly coat them in some sauce and thats the extent of their cooking. Admittedly its hard to try and stir fry the pipis alone without firstly boiling them, but some places do such a dodgy job of hiding that fact. The last time we came, they had precooked the pipis, and then just drizzled some sauce ontop resulting in a dish of cold pipis that is barely coated in sauce. This time it was much better.....maybe because we knew the guy.....but the pipis were nice and hot (Temperature wise) and all the pipis were nicely coated in the XO sauce. I would prefer it a tad more spicy...but then I would probably prefer everything a tad more spicy.....

Snow crab in a Ginger and Shallot sauce

OK......sauce may not be a good word to use......because there was no sauce. The reason we order this dish is so we can have the sauce with boiled rice afterwards. Disappointed I was......the taste was nice.....just not enough sauce.....I love my sauce. And this had no sauce. We would rarely order crabs when we go out to a restaurant, simply because my mum can cook better crab than any restaurant out there for 1/3 of the price. But since its hard to buy snow crab anywhere, we decided to order it, especially since theres this chinese thing about seafood and birthdays etc. For those who haven't had snow crab before, I recommend getting this deep fried and then served Salt and Pepper style. The Snow Crab on first glance looks like some anorexic crab that has been sitting in the tank for too long. We were hesistant to order it the first time we saw it, but fell in love with it when we tried it. The shell is incredibly thin. Not as thin and edible as a soft shelled crab. But deep fried properly, you can eat almost 75% of the shells. The meat is soft and sweet and is actually quite meaty despite its looks.

Mandatory Salt and Pepper Squid

This is something the kids love and is a must have. I'm not a huge fan of 95% of the salt and pepper squids served in the restaurants as MY MUM MAKES THE BEST SALT AND PEPPER SQUID IN THE WORLD!! (For those of you who don't know, both my parents are chefs, and so were my grand parents. We ran a restaurant for close to 25years before we sold it for my parents retirement). This, like any other squid has a soft floury texture (whilst the ones my mum make is light and crispy like a good beer battered fish...only better). The squid was tender and not overly salted.

Honey Chicken

We probably would never have ordered this dish 4 years ago. But ever since selling the restaurant, we don't make this anymore. Well.....my mum doesn't...except for very special occassions, and even then she doesn't make it because its fattening. However, the kids love it, so we order it. Again, not as good as my mum's, but the chicken was nice and tender. The batter was a bit soft for my liking, and like alot of other restaurants, they just drizzled some honey onto it making it quite sweet. I still prefer this over those ones where they serve more batter than chicken.

"Sing Barn" 2 dishes - Stir fried with Snow peas

Steamed with Ginger and Shallots

I don't know the english name for "Sing Barn" as I never have to go to the fish markets. I just eat it. The fillets stir fried with snow peas were a bit bland for my liking. But then thats why they give you oyster sauce for dipping. However, I hate dipping it in oyster sauce so I just ate it as is. The steamed fillets were much much MUCH nicer. Tender and sweet.....and plenty of sauce for me to eat with my rice.

MmmMmmm FOOD!

Golden King Prawns cooked in Egg Yolk

This was my absolute favourite dish of the night. The king prawns were deep fried in a light batter, and then tossed in a "sauce" made from salted egg yolk. But because it was a salted egg yolk, when cooked, the yolk kinda dries up and gives it a nice aromatic taste. Really hard to describe......but omg it was goooooooood!!!

"Ging Do" Ribs/Sweet and Sour Ribs

I don't see much difference between the 2 dishes, except the peking ribs aren't as sour? I don't know. Its all relative. The sauce was nice and rich, sweet and sour enveloping the crunchy battered pork chops pieces that was moist and tender. MMmmMmm another favourite of the kids.

Sea Cucumber stir fried with oyster mushrooms and sugar peas

The feast!!

My nephews didn't realise that there was going to be a cake so they stuffed themselves during the mains. Oops!!

Cake from Michel's Patisserie

Ewww thick fatty icing!

Complimentary fruit - Is watermelon supposed to be that colour?

Taro Coconut Sago Dessert

OooOoo this was nice. I hate that fake over-sugared artificial coloured red bean paste they serve at alot of restaurants. THIS was good....but I like my taro so soft it practically melts into the dessert. My cousin likes it with a little bit of bite. Each to their own. But I wouldn't turn down a second serving of this if I could fit it in!

Jelly and Cookies

Ok....I know I said cookie.....but I really have no idea what it is. I took a bite from both ends...and I still have no idea what it is. I think its a cookie of some type.....I just don't know what. I thought the dark side would be red bean flavoured......its not. I though the other side will be coconutty.....or eggy.....or even like the top of a pineapple bun.....its not. I really have NO IDEA what it was supposed to taste like......except a cookie of some sort.

Despite the weaknesses of some dishes, we walked away with our belts a few notches looser feeling content and ready for bed.

Crystal Seafood Restaurant



Ayako1984 said...

Sai yeung choi is watercress. Well, a type of it anyway =)

When's your next training session for volleyball?! Would love to butt in and have a go =D

SoRMuiJAi said...

Ahhh thats right! Must've had a brainfart moment!

Volleyball will be when we hire an actual court!

AteLate said...

"Ging Do" is Peking Ribs with special sauce. "Sing ban" is either snapper or bream i think, but don't quote me on that one. Well thats what they call it in zee restaurants. Love the sago and taro, one of my all time fav desserts...looks so good I can almost taste it ! hehehe

SoRMuiJAi said...

Bream is "Larp Yue".....snapper is "Sek barn". "Sing ban" is blue isnt it? Or is that "Dong sing ban". Either way, its good fish!

As for the peking ribs vs sweet and sour ribs...unless you have 2 dishes side by side, I can't tell the diff. Both reddish, both sweet and sourish, both with pineapple, both OH SO YUM!!!

Too bad no left overs...and too bad I didn't get to order my favourite "Heung so arp". The Deep fried taro paste with duck dish! MmmMmm

Victoria A said...

OMG!!! The quail made me lick my lips.. by the time I finished looking at all the photos, I'm severely dehydrated from salivating :D~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

petals said...

Mmm...deep fried taro paste and duck...i love the mushy goodness of taro!

omg...its only 8:30am and im hungry!!! (I just finished my breakfast!)

SoRMuiJAi said...

I want those prawns again......damn they were good!!!

Ayako1984 said...

Vicki...they're not quail..they're baby pigeon...=P and sing ban is coral trout (i looked it up) hehe..

SoRMuiJAi said...

Actually, the restaurants list the dish as quails for the gwai lo. The only reason I put dove in is because we tried breeding them ourselves and purchased live ones from the poultry guy, and he sold them as "doves". But then my parents couldn't go through with the slaughtering and gave up on breeding them and just bought them dead off the guy! hehehe