Mooncake Festival Feast at Crystal Jade Dining In

The Mid-Autumn Festival is probably one of the most anticipated Chinese traditions the world over. Why, you ask? Well aside from the abundance of mooncake, it’s also the season of dice games. And where there’s a dice game, there’s bound to be tons of prizes! It’s a really great opportunity for family and friends to get together and have fun just playing and seeing who wins all the awesome prizes. My Dad likes to organize dice games with some family friends and when we all play together, there is never one dull moment!

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival that celebrates the moon at its roundest and brightest. Families gather to appreciate the moon, pray to the Lunar Deity Chang’E for longevity and good fortune; and of course, to play the dice game or pua tiong chiu.

I truly can’t think of any better combination to fun than good food, which is why it only makes sense that Crystal Jade Dining In would usher in this year’s Mooncake Festival with their special menu that will surely be the perfect accompaniment to an evening of boisterous dice-playing!

For those who don’t know, Crystal Jade was originally founded in Singapore in 1991 and has expanded to over 21 major cities in Asia Pacific and the US. Their main focus has always been offering delicious and high-quality dishes that will showcase Asian culture and heritage. Yes, I admit, as a fine-dining restaurant the prices are definitely up there, but I can honestly say that you will get what you pay for.

I remember the first time this restaurant came to Manila. Their first branch was opened in Greenhills, and there would always be a super long line of people waiting to get a taste of their famous xiao long bao. But Crystal Jade is about so much more than delicious dimsum. I was invited to Crystal Jade Dining In at BGC recently to sample some dishes from their Mid-Autumn Festival special menu, and now I’m giving you all a sneak peak of what to expect!

The dishes served to us is actually part of the “Set C” in their 4-set Mid-Autumn Special Menu. Lots of great stuff on there as you can see, but the highlight of the Mid-Autumn menu is the Fresh Garoupa Fish, which is indeed one of my favourite dishes of the afternoon!
Let’s eat at Crystal Jade Dining In! >>

Matcha Macarons with Red Bean Filling + My Japan Travel Video!

I feel like it’s been forever since I posted an actual recipe on this blog. My backlogs are officially out of control because I’ve been cooking and baking a lot but not posting too much recipes. But since my most recent series of travel diaries are officially done-ish, I think we can go back to regular programming.

As a celebration for finishing my travel posts, I thought I’d post about these scrumptious Matcha Macarons with Red Bean Filling just because I’m in the mood to indulge you guys with something special and pretty and yummy. :)

Macarons are NOT hard to make although admittedly they can be finnicky if you don’t take certain things into consideration. I’ve written a bunch of personal tips and tricks I’ve adapted in my macaron-making here and here so I won’t repeat them at length, but I will take you on a step by step walkthrough of this recipe because I really want you all to try it out.

I know a lot of people aren’t fans of red bean but I figured we’re making matcha macarons– might as well pair it in a classic manner! If you really detest red bean then go ahead and fill these with a white chocolate-matcha buttercream as I did here.

Before we head on to the recipe, I’m just going to do a SHAMELESS plug: I’m finally done with my travel video! It’s all about my Japan trip last April (the subject of all the aforementioned travel posts) and I really enjoyed looking back on all the things I saw there as I put this together. And now I miss Japan terribly. GREAT.

It took me less than a day to edit this, but the tough part was actually sitting down to start it haha! I kept putting it off but now I’m in the mood to edit more videos, and I think you’ll be seeing a baking video up soon. Yay!
Get the recipe! >>

Japan Travel Blog April 2015: Snapshots of Odaiba in Tokyo

I must admit, the time we spent in Tokyo felt more like an afterthought rather than an actual leg of our Japan tour. It was SO SHORT. So short.

I don’t even know if I’m well-equipped to blog about it, because the time we were here slipped right through my fingers. There could have been so much stories about Japan’s utterly diverse capital, but we didn’t have any time to visit its popular spots like Shiunjuku, Harajuku, Akihabara, Tsukiji Fish Market, Yoyogi and Ueno Parks… And so much more! There was a quick stopover at Ginza for a bit of shopping (hello 10-storey Uniqlo!), but mostly we got a few hours to ourselves walking around Odaiba way out in Southern Tokyo just because we lived there.

All the more reasons to return, just like my friend Rainbowholic would always tell me.

The corner of Odaiba that I was privy to was a rather quiet one, which to me is odd since I’m so used to seeing images of Tokyo crawling with all sorts of interesting people. We lived in the Tokyo Nikko Hotel, which is a quick walk away from several shopping malls. So I guess you can imagine how little time we spent indoors. And did I mention the view from the hotel windows are superb? Behold the iconic two-storey bridge that connects Odaiba to the rest of Tokyo.

The Rainbow Bridge is probably the most iconic structure in the Tokyo Bay area.
Let’s explore a bit of Odaiba! >>

Japan Travel Blog April 2015: Tokyo DisneySea (Part 2)

Despite dividing my Tokyo DisneySea adventure into two, I don’t think I’ve managed to really convey just how big this particular Disney park was. Again, since I haven’t been to Tokyo Disneyland I don’t really have enough to compare the two against each other. But I can tell you honestly that maybe the reason why I didn’t find DisneySea as nostalgic is because none of the characters familiar to me from my childhood are really highlighted here in a way. Except maybe for Ariel.

The rides were just okay for me, but if you take the experience as a whole, there is absolutely no one who could say that this park isn’t spectacular just from appearances. Literally walking through all the different ports of call is teleporting yourself to a completely different magical world. The details are spot on and have the meticulousness I’ve come to appreciate from every Disney park I’ve ever visited.

In this post I’m going to share the two structures in DisneySea that I deem as the most impressive ones– frankly maybe some of the most impressive I’ve seen in any theme park– including the DisneySea counterpart for the usual Beast’s/Sleeping Beauty Castles in the Disneyland parks: King Triton’s Castle at the Mermaid Lagoon.

I think one of the major selling points of the Disney theme parks is how they manage to really capture certain places and concepts and actually turn those ideas into reality. If anything else, I really enjoyed walking around this theme park and looking around at all the buildings, and the people too of course, for the Japanese have a really special love for the Tokyo Disney parks for sure!
Let’s explore Tokyo DisneySea some more! >>