Saturday, September 27, 2014

Jade Dragon: Chinese Michelin-Starred Dining at Crown Towers

Just the mere mention of Chinese food when I'm about to dine out can make me go, "oh, no no!" But it's not because I don't like Chinese cuisine. Actually, my system has probably run on Chinese food for so long that I really have to veer away from it now to try other cuisines. However, when we were brought to Jade Dragon at Crown Towers Macau for lunch, I had to take off my Chinese food pseudo-restrictions. I needed to!

Jade Dragon Crown Towers City of Dreams Macau

Well, I don't know about you... But if someone tells me they'll bring me to a Michelin-starred restaurant, I'll just have to be flexible. Like, eat gluten even when I'm on a paleo diet, or even go all-carnivorous even when I'm a vegetarian. Umm, not that I am. But I'm sure you already get the point. I just can't pass up an opportunity like this.

So what makes Jade Dragon so special?

Located on the second level of Crown Towers, Jade Dragon is the second restaurant from City of Dreams Macau to be included in the Michelin Guide to Hong Kong & Macau. What's more impressive is that Jade Dragon received its Michelin star just last year, after only a year of operation. It has also been included in the Top 20 Best Restaurants of 2014 in Hong Kong Tatler Best Restaurants guide, ranking 6th place.

Jade Dragon Crown Towers Macau

Just like what you'd expect from a fine-dining Cantonese restaurant, Jade Dragon is beautifully and lavishly decorated. Every space I laid my eyes upon seemed to be glowing and picture-perfect. But since this is a fine-dining restaurant, I didn't want to disrupt other diners with my camera's shutter. So yes, I didn't get to take photos of the place.

*Interior photos by Blueplates Studios.

The Unforgettable Cantonese Lunch

If there's one thing I always look forward to at the beginning of a meal in a Chinese restaurant, it'd be the tea. And from a restaurant of this caliber, Jade Dragon doesn't offer just any mediocre tea variant. The place actually carries a really interesting selection, of which the Rose Tea and Lychee Tea intrigued me enough to order them.

Rose Tea and Lychee Tea
✓ Rose Tea and ✓ Lychee Tea
Call me greedy, but I just had to get these two variants to go along with my lunch! And unlike most rose teas I've had in the past, Jade Dragon's had a really smooth and subtle rose note that oozes with finesse. The lychee variant was also impressive. Light, subtly fruity, aromatic and refreshing, this is the kind of tea I wish I can drink everyday! I also noted how my cup was never empty for more than 2 minutes. Refill is very fast. Bravo!

Jade Dragon Iberico Barbecue Pork, Steamed Signature Live Tiger Prawn Dumpling, and Baked Turnip Puff with Yunnan Ham
✓ Iberico Barbecue Pork, ✓ Steamed Signature Live Tiger Prawn Dumpling
and ✓ Baked Turnip Puff with Yunnan Ham
Moving on, we were then served with this trio of Jade Dragon's exquisite specialties. The Iberico Barbecue Pork was so tender, so succulent, and had a beautiful, slightly sweet-savory charred flavor with subtle notes of lychee from roasting it over lychee wood. If there's a pork barbecue God, then this is probably his gift to humanity!

Jade Dragon Iberico Barbecue Pork, Steamed Signature Live Tiger Prawn Dumpling, Baked Turnip Puff with Yunnan Ham

The Steamed Signature Live Tiger Prawn Dumpling is also a winner in my book. So pretty and obviously meticulously-prepared, this chartreuse-colored dumpling is super enjoyable, with a soft yet slightly chewy wrapper and juicy, plump tiger prawn filling that will make even a non-seafood lover, grin in satisfaction from ear to ear. The piece of gold sheet on the dumpling also adds luxury and a one-of-a-kind experience. Just who eats a dumpling with gold anyway? Well, we did! *teehee*

And while the Baked Turnip Puff with Yunnan Ham doesn't look like much on the plate, it's actually another item I really loved. The turnip-ham filling inside had a subtle sweetness that was just refreshing on the palate. But more than the enjoyable filling, what I was really into was the casing -- light, airy, puffy and quite flaky. If only all the rolls and buns in the world can have this kind of addicting exterior!

Hot and Sour Soup with Hairy Crabmeat (MOP 228)
✓ Hot and Sour Soup with Hairy Crabmeat (MOP 228)
We then had the Hot and Sour Soup with Hairy Crabmeat next. If you've been a reader way back when I just started blogging, you probably already know that hot and sour soup is a staple when I'm in a Chinese restaurant. But what sets this bowl apart from the ones I had in Manila, was the intensity of flavors. Although the first few plates exuded such sophisticated flavors that show a lot of subtlety and restraint, the chef didn't hesitate packing this bowl of soup with flavor -- rich, (about level 6 to 7) spicy and beautifully sour, with lots of seafood goodness plus a fun quail egg. Just the way I like it.

Stir-Fried Prawns with Lobster Bisque (MOP 198)
✓ Stir-Fried Prawns with Lobster Bisque (MOP 198)
Don't let this close-up shot of the Stir-Fried Prawns with Lobster Bisque fool you. That 2-headed prawn flower is not in any way small, I tell 'ya! A size larger than a big, chunky scallop, this dish, I can say, is one of the best preparation of prawn I've had in my whole life. Super plump, super juicy, super tender with a super enjoyable bite, this prawn is just spectacular! I'd actually still gladly eat it on its own, but the smooth and refined flavor of the lobster bisque makes the whole dish even more seafoodgasmic!

Fried Rice with Azuaga Iberico Ham and Diced Vegetable (MOP 148)
✓ Fried Rice with Azuaga Iberico Ham and Diced Vegetables (MOP 148)
Normally, I don't gush over rice. However, the Fried Rice with Azuaga Iberico Ham and Diced Vegetables is so good, you can eat it on its own and still be happy. Rice -- plump and cooked perfectly, had a really enjoyable savory note. The Iberco ham and dried shrimps even added more salty and umami-tastic flavors. Seriously, I still can't believe how Jade Dragon can make even rice taste this good! Now I want this at home!

Braised Vegetable in Melon Ring, Azuaga Ham and Quinoa with Pumpkin Chicken Broth
Braised Vegetable in Melon Ring, Azuaga Ham and Quinoa with Pumpkin Chicken Broth
Seemingly more Western than Oriental in presentation, this dish fell a little short for me. Not that I'm not a fan of vegetables, 'cause I am, but the beautifully structured leafy veggie, quinoa, ham and corn kernels in melon is a little too subtle for my taste. Even with the pumpkin chicken broth that was enjoyable by the way, I still think the dish as a whole is too safe compared to the previous plates of awesomeness.

Double-Boiled Pear with Fritillaria and Apricots
Double-Boiled Pear with Fritillaria and Apricots
For dessert, we had a bowl each of Double-Boiled Pear with Fritillaria and Apricots. I'm usually not a fan of soup-like Chinese desserts, but with the mention of pear and apricots -- two fruits I really love, I knew right off the bat I'd enjoy this. And I wasn't wrong at all! Despite being a warm dessert, every spoonful was very satisfying. Slightly sweet, fruity, and with fruits and a flower that make the taste and texture more interesting.

Jade Dragon Macau Petit Fours
Jade Dragon Petit Fours
✓ Petit Fours
Since one dessert was not enough to end a meal this magnificent, we were still served with this ensemble of Petite Fours (which is complimentary when you dine at Jade Dragon) -- truffles, macarons, jellies, steamed custard buns, and green tea, lemon and milk tea ice cream in mini cones which were fantastic! And here I thought complimentary anything in restaurants means less than amazing... I was proven wrong!


When it comes to rating restaurants, I find giving 3s and 4s very easy. It's the exact opposite when giving a 5 though, as I rarely rate anything a perfect score. However, my experience at Jade Dragon easily warrants the highest rating I can give. From the very lavish and tasteful ambiance, to the thoughtful and very attentive service... And how can I not mention the exquisite, meticulously-prepared food that only uses high quality ingredients? To say that this has been a great meal is an understatement. This is probably the best meal I've had in two years, so far.

And while dining at Jade Dragon can easily set one back MOP 1,500 or P8,400 (though the food and experience can justify the price), I can definitely say with confidence that I won't let this be my first and last time at Jade Dragon. On our (the beau and I) nth anniversary, we'll definitely celebrate here. So Jade Dragon, I shall return!

Taste - 5/5
Ambiance - 5/5
Service - 4.5/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4.5/5

Jade Dragon, Crown Towers Hotel
Level 2 Crown Towers Hotel, City of Dreams Macau
Estrada do Istmo, Cotai, Macau, China
(853) 8868 2822
COD Macau Website


  1. This place looks so grand. I bet the food is very nice as well!~ Wonder how much will it cost!

    1. I believe dining here can easily set one back about MOP 1,500, or $188? This is actually a lot of money, especially in Philippine pesos... But, it's not everyday that one can dine lavishly at a fine Michelin-starred resto, so I think for VERY, VERY special occasions, it's pretty worth it. :)

  2. How elegant! The food looks so delicious.

  3. The food is superb and the place rocks! Chinese food at its best while the plating's excellent.

  4. I love the interiors .. this is my kind of restaurant. I know where to go when I'm in Macau. My howe will love this too. He's Chinese and is a huge fan of fancy Chinese food.

    1. Oh, then you'll definitely have a great time at Jade Dragon! :D

  5. Now I'm wondering if we have Michelin Starred resto in the Philippines haha, that would be awesome. Do we? Everything looks great, especially the food! I'm so jealous! What camera do you use? I love your pictures!

    1. Unfortunately, we don't have any Michelin-starred resto in the country yet. But I'd like to believe that we'll have one pretty soon. :D Thanks for the compliment! I use a Canon EOS 550D and just kit lens for this post. Now I use the same slr with a 40mm f/2.8 stm lens. :)

  6. First, let me just say that I LOVE Chinese cuisine. Second, not only do the dishes look fantastic, the ambiance of the place is fit for royals too.

  7. I, too, is kind of staying away from Chinese cuisines because I've been eating that for almost half my life. But you're right! Even I, when invited to this kind of restaurant, I will forget my "kaartehan" and give this a shot!

    The place is indeed picture-worthy and so are the food! Great plating and the way you rated it,they not only look good on the plate, they also taste great!

  8. This place looks like a place I would love to eat in. Loving the ambience and the food looks really good too.

  9. So jealous!!! I love Macau and their sense of taste there, a beautiful mix of European and Asian cooking styles and ingredients.

  10. Just the look of the photos made me want to try the food. Even if it's not michelin ranking, I will want to try out the dishes.

  11. Wow! You gave a 5, that means the foods are delicious! Just by looking at them makes me want to fly to Macau

  12. Your food descriptions are very vivid. Together with the picture, I feel like I can taste the food already. The ambience looks Michelin already! And of course, the price so high, only for very special occasions.

  13. Amazing restaurant that serves great food, just looking at your photos makes me envy you so much

  14. This sounds like a fabulous place to dine! I love how opulent it sounds, and looks elegant. The food would be great!

  15. This place is really pretty! And the food makes me hungry too >.< Love your post ;)

  16. Your food reviews has gone international Sumi. You were really able to show us the fine treats at Jade Dragon.

  17. Ambience and food it totally great here. I love Lychees but never heard of Lychee tea it is something unique which they have come up with here.

  18. I am drooling just by looking at those pictures. Jade Dragon seems a great place for a fine dining date. Hot and Sour Soup with Hairy Crabmeat is something I love to try.

  19. This is an interesting place. Having those achievements in one year of operations is something! This is another place, students of hospitality industry should visit.

  20. I guess the problem with restaurants like this is that the food is great but the price hardly makes it worth the experience. I would probably try this when I get the chance because I'm a sucker for fine dining like this! Haha! :D

  21. Oh wow, that sumptuous treat was mouth-watering. Such a nice posh place to relax and enjoy a nice romantic meal or two with your loved ones.

  22. Overall the food quality and presentation is very fine and delicate. Though I never try the restaurant but all the food looks tasty to me. Hope that I can visit Jade Dragon one day.

  23. Exquisitely made dim sum, looks so delicate.

  24. everything looks delicious! it will be difficult to resist a Michelin-starred dining experience, i know i cannot! :)


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