Crystal Dragon in City of Dreams Serves the Most Beautiful Dimsum You'll Ever See!

I can guarantee that you will be hard pressed to find a more aesthetically pleasing serving of dimsum anywhere in the world. The CANTONESE STEAMED THREE DIMSUM COMBINATION served at Crystal Dragon is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.

Clockwise from top: Steamed Crystal Prawn Dumpling, Steamed Abalone and Pork Siew Mai, Steamed Crab Meat and Abalone in Squid Ink Dumpling.

I know, I know, the gold leaf on the dumpling may seem a bit “fancy-schmancy,” but hey, why the heck not? I don’t mind lining my intestines with edible precious metals because that’s exactly how precious these dumplings are! I’m so glad I pumped myself full of antihistamines before coming here!

The STEAMED CRYSTAL PRAWN DUMPLING is reminiscent of the familiar “hakaw.” This one is served in a striped wrapper that mirrors the look of shrimp meat. The PORK SIEW MAI is given an exotic upgrade by topping it with abalone, an ingredient that isn’t commonly available in your typical neighborhood Chinese joint.

My favorite among the three dumplings would have to be the STEAMED CRAB MEAT AND ABALONE IN SQUID INK DUMPLING. I had to eat this one in four bites so that I could savor every single flavor and texture. The crab meat was sweet and juicy while the abalone gave off the distinct, briny taste of the ocean. A real treat.

As if the meticulously striped black and white dumpling wasn’t enough to impress out eyes and our tongues, we were next served with yet another intricately crafted dish. The CRISPY GOLDEN SWAN DUMPLING filled with Salted Duck Egg Yolk was almost too pretty to eat! Almost.

Crispy Golden Swan Dumpling filled with Salted Duck Egg Yolk

After having the trio of steamed dumplings, it was a great textural variation to have the swan dumpling. This one was deep-fried to a golden-brown crisp. It was light and flaky on the outside but the salted egg yolk filling was rich and indulgent.

The next dish was quite a pleasant surprise for me. I went to Guangzhou, China earlier this year and discovered an amazing crispy seafood roll in one of the most popular dimsum restaurants in town. Unfortunately, the entire menu was in Chinese and I had no idea what it was called. I had never tried it anywhere else and was resigned to the idea that I would never encounter it again.

Lo and behold, Crystal Dragon serves a very similar dish! The STEAMED RICE ROLL FILLED WITH CRISPY SEAFOOD is a complex dumpling which starts with a soft, almost chewy rice paper wrapping. However, its interior is surprisingly crispy despite having been steamed. The seafood filling is enhanced with a choice of light soy sauce or a rich peanut sauce. Frankly, most of us used a combination of both sauces. Absolutely stunning!

Steamed Rice Roll filled With Crispy Seafood

Executive Chef Bong Jun Choi briefly stepped away from his kitchen duties to speak to us about our meal. I was surprised to hear that his favorite among all of his restaurant’s dishes is the soup. He explained that he believes it to have many health benefits. Who am I to argue?

Just like many Chinese soups, the BRAISED SUPREME SEA TREASURES AND SPINACH IN BROTH is a thick, hearty soup. It’s almost a meal in itself even without noodles. The mix of fresh seafood is a perfect accompaniment to the selection of dimsum that we have already tried.

Braised Supreme Sea Treasures and Spinach in broth

While each of the items we have tried so far is an explosion of flavors in our mouths, the meal called for some starch and carbohydrates. The WOK FRIED TURNIP CAKE with SPICY XO SAUCE  and WOK-FRIED EGG NOODLES with SHREDDED PORK, MUSHROOMS and CHINESE CABBAGE provided just what we needed.

Wok-fried egg noodles with shredded pork, mushrooms and Chinese cabbage

At this point, the savory part of our meal is complete. I feel like I’ve flown all the way to China and back. Here’s another look at the amazing spread:

Clearly, we were not going to leave without dessert. This time, Chef Bong Jun Choi eased our way back to the Philippines with a distinctly Filipino-inspired dessert. He made use of the best Philippine mangoes and paired it with the highly abundant local coconut. What came out was the CHILLED SWEETENED MANGO SPHERE COCONUT MOUSSE. 

The mango sphere was filled with white chocolate and as you break into it, the mango and white chocolate oozes out into the rich coconut mouse. Very Filipino and truly world class.

Chilled Sweetened Mango Sphere Coconut Mousse

Crystal Dragon is quite literally a hidden gem. Tucked away in the upper ground floor of the Crown Towers in City of Dreams Manila, it’s hidden from plain sight. However, now that I’ve told you all about it, there’s no excuse not to go. Check out the full menu on the Zomato App:
Crystal Dragon - Crown Towers Manila Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato