Crystal Jade: Is it Worth The Visit to Avenuel?

With over 10 locations in South Korea, it’s safe to say that the people here love Crystal Jade.  Even Michelin included them in their regional roundup so I of course had to go and try their food myself.  I visited the one inside Avenuel in Jamsil, and I went right as they opened because I didn’t want to wait…but there was already a long line of people, ha.  Suffice it to say, my expectations were high.

To start, my waiter brought me a complimentary side of zha cai (aka pickled mustard stem).  It came with sliced onions, and I happily munched on these babies while studying their extensive menu.  They had everything from Sichuan to Chinese-Korean cuisine so I was excited.

Do Their Soup Dumplings Live Up to the Hype?

They’re supposedly known for their dim sum so I got an order of pork soup dumplings to start, but I wasn’t very impressed.  To be honest, I’ve had much better in the states, like I’d pick Joe’s Shanghai over Crystal Jade any day, but that’s just my opinion.  Maybe their other dumplings are better?

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The Best (and Worst) Dishes at Crystal Jade

This review’s definitely off to a rocky start, but I do have one recommendation for you guys.  Their tangsooyuk (korean style sweet and sour pork) was absolutely amazing, and it’s a must try if you decide to dine here.  I’m actually not a huge fan of the dish to start with so that’s a testament to how good this was.  I usually find the sauce to be overwhelmingly sweet, but this was perfectly balanced.  The coating was also unique.  I don’t know what they put in it, but it was especially chewy (in a good way), and I couldn’t get enough.

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The other plate I got was their spicy chicken stir fry: think sautéed diced chicken with chili peppers, cashews, and onions.  The meat was tender, but it kind of tasted like something from P.F. Changs so I wasn’t a fan.  I mean, there’s nothing wrong with eating there, but I expected something much better.  I mean, I’m in Asia after all.

Then came their lyoosamsul, another Chinese-Korean staple.  This soy-sauce based dish is made with sea cucumbers, shrimp and julienned veggies.  I was really looking forward to devouring this, but it was unnaturally salty.  I didn’t complain or anything, but it was borderline inedible so definitely pass on this.

And last but not least, Sichuan style noodles with spicy chicken, preserved egg and cucumber.  This was pretty good, but it was a little bland.  The meat was tender, and the noodles had a nice texture to them, but I wanted more heat.  I don’t know guys. I’m sorry for all the negativity today but gotta keep it real.

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Would I go Back to Crystal Jade?

I didn’t have the best experience at Crystal Jade, but I’d give them another shot because I liked their tangsooyuk that much.  Maybe I picked the wrong dishes?  Maybe they had a bad day?  Welp, I’ll make sure to update this review if I go back!  Have any of you guys visited South Korea?  Let me know by commenting below.  And make sure to check out my latest post featuring noms from Bicena, a one star Michelin star restaurant located inside Signiel Hotel.

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