Crystal Jade Xiao Long Bao and Steamboat Buffet Hot
A place where you not only get to enjoy a steamboat buffet with plenty of ingredients to choose from, you also get a free flow of Crystal Jade's signature Xiao Long Bao.
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Xiao Long Bao all day all night
If you love Xiao Long Bao, Crystal Jade has just the buffet for you. With an unlimited supply of their specialty Xiao Long Bao for only around $25, you can eat to your hearts content without busting your budget.
If you are not crazy enough to eat only Xiao Long Bao for your whole meal, the steamboat is part of the buffet as well. Choose up to 2 broths for your pot, and fill it to the brim with an exhaustive list of steamboat ingredients. You can also head to the pantry to build your own seasonings from the sauce bar.
Each night there are three sessions, 5pm, 7.30pm and 10pm. Reservations are absolutely necessary for the first two sessions, even on weekday nights, as the restaurant will be filled out just be reservations alone.
For the XLBs
Salivate is the first involuntary physical reaction when I hear the acronym XLB. It is almost impossible to satisfy my cravings for Xiao Long Baos given the lacking in my wallet all the time. The Crystal Jade at Holland Village has Xiao Long Bao Steamboat Buffet going on for years but it was only recently that I paid a visit. If there's one regret in my life, it would be not heading there earlier.
While many would associate quantity rather than quality with affordable buffet, the Xiao Long Baos are actually on par or much nicer than some of the expensive ones I've had. I had more than 10 Xiao Long Baos besides my full-pot of steamboat and that's pretty explanatory of the taste.
For the base of the steamboat, there were 6 choices. Also, the typical range of processed food for you to choose from. The desserts were actually recommendable; sago cream and osmanthus jelly.
Heading back this Friday!
Value for money
I've always found steamboats and xiao long baos expensive, so when my friend told me about this place which served free flow xiaolongbaos together with steamboats, we were eager to try it out. We made a reservation just in case, and luckily we did, because the queue outside the restaurant was pretty long during dinner time.
We were showed to a table promptly, and were excited at the wide spread of food available. From vegetables to meat, the variety and amount of food was enough to make us drool. We had to make our own dipping sauces, which was quite fun, because we got to make our own concoctions according to our own tastes. Food was served promptly, and we even got a free plate of prawns, which tasted really fresh. The steamboat ingredients were pretty decent too, even though we ordered a lot of food, we finished everything because the food was delicious.
The xiaolongbaos were of a pretty decent standard even though they were free flow. They were served piping hot, and the skin was thin but good enough to hold the meat and juice in. Overall it was a pretty good experience, and we were quite impressed by the service and standard of the food.
Xiao Long Bao Buffet
Another outlet that's a keen competition for the well-known Ding Tai Fung (DTF) Xiao Long Bao. Although the Xiao Long Baos are not made in a factory-type manner like DTF, the quality of the Xiao Long Baos are not bad.
Good for a light snack but after one too many the taste of the soup becomes a little overwhelming. The Xiao Long Baos are good paired together with the steamboat with a generous helping of vegetables and some meat.
The service was a little slow as my friends and I were allocated a corner table which made it difficult to order and ask for additional water for the steamboat.
Steamboat buffet is not a feast, it's a battle!
My friend first discovered the buffet through another friend of hers - we finally managed to book a table for two just yesterday, and found ourselves availed to an almost limitless choice of food when we sat down. My friend, coming from a vegetarian household, was spontaneously desperate for some fat, juicy, meat. She ordered three cages of xiao long bao [there are four in each cage], and we managed to polish them all off. She also got a serving of chicken, beef, lamb, and we received the standard plate of six prawns along with some Japanese mushrooms etc.
The broth for the steamboat is split into two parts--there are a selection of six soups. We ordered the pork bone broth with corn, which was rich and frothy and all sorts of yummy, with a contrasting rather light vegetable soup. We became a bit crazy after a while because she had ordered so much food spontaneously--but we managed to polish everything off. We had approximately two hours to stuff ourselves, and we did just that. We had two servings of osmanthus jelly somewhere in between the desperate chewing and slurping, which clears your palate briefly with its mildly sweet and silky texture. I had to get up and walk around Holland V for about ten minutes because I was so stuffed mid-way. There is a rather limited selection of drinks, but I recommend getting a cup of coke. Sip it a bit and walk around to burp, then you'll maybe regain a bit more room to stuff more xiao long bao in!
Atmosphere wise, it was quite typical of any steamboat place you would find in Singapore, maybe a bit more organized. There were booths for smaller groups of people, and rounded tables for the larger ones. They don't use the traditional metal pot for the steamboat, but rather they have an electric stove with a pot on top. Don't worry, no one's going to catch fire. Attendants do come around once in a while to refresh the soup level in your pot--you will never run out of food, just time! It wasn't stuffy or hot either, because they keep the room well ventilated and cool with air-conditioning, so make sure to get comfortable and eat to your heart's content. By the end of the meal, I almost couldn't get out of my seat!
But, we finished off with a bowl of sago cream--it isn't much, just sago in cream. However, it was a small bowl of it, mildly sweet, to clear your palate and bring a sense of calm back into your being with its simplicity, ha! And if your metabolism is super fast or you need the loo, there is one near the back, so no worries about that, ha!
Arrive hungry, leave believing you've eaten your money's worth!
Eat all the xiao long bao!
It is pretty much on the pricey side at approx $28 per head during dinnertime, especially when we consider that it is basically a steamboat buffet that would probably cost approx $16 - $18 at most at other places. However, the Xiao Long Bao makes it slightly more worth it, considering that an average person can eat probably about 3 servings which would probably amount to near $20 if it were ordered ala carte.
I would probably recommend that you eat more Xiao Long Bao than steamboat to make the money spent worthwhile. This place is ultra popular so I would recommend booking 1 to 2 weeks in advance at least, in order to get a place!
Mediocre food and service
My family and I just visited the branch at Taka, and were disappointed by the experience.
There was a long line to enter the restaurant, although that was to be expected on a Saturday night. We ordered, but inexplicably our main dishes (La mian) came first, instead of our appetizers (Jellyfish and Cold Chicken).
The food was average at best. The jellyfish was extremely salty due to the sauce, while our Steamed Pork Ribs weren't very good. The Xiao Long Bao was okay, but it wasn't spectacular. The Steamed Kai Lan with Garlic was quite expensive too, at $10.50 for around 8-9 stalks.
Overall, the food isn't the best, and the service is a bit lacking. I would not recommend this place.
A value for money steamboat buffet
The XLBs seemed to be smaller and the skin seemd tough and dry. Perhaps the outlet knows its a buffet so they decided to compromise on the standard? Otherwise the steamboat selection is really delicious, especially during the rainy weather. There is a wide variety of sliced pork, beef, which i personally spammed in my order because they were thinly sliced and tender. There were also a variation of vegetables, carbohydrate-heavy food.
Note:The Holland V XLB buffet is always crowded and requires prior reservation. There are 3 timings for the buffet and the later it gets, the price becomes slightly cheaper
Not the best xiao long baos
Holland village's xiao long bao buffet used to serve extremely yummy and juicy xiao long baos. However, in recent few times when I visited the restaurant again, the xiao long baos weren't as good as they were before, which was disappointing. The meat was hard and the skin was thick. There was little, or not no juice in the dumpling at all, which is the opposite of how a good xiao long bao should be. In fact, if your ordered ala carte xiao long baos, they taste different from what was served during the buffet.
If you are searching for good xiao long baos, I would not recommend this place. But if you're not fussy, and are just looking for a place to have a hot pot of good broth and meat in holland village, no harm trying, I would say. However, reservations are a must especially on weekends. And because their dinner slots comes in different timing blocks ,you probably would not be able to stay there and catch up with your friends there the entire night
Don't go there for xiaolongbao
Having a steamboat buffet and stuffing your face with xiaolongbaos at the Holland V Crystal Jade has become one of the most popular 'bonding' activities around - be it with family or friends. Steamboat and free flow XLB below $30, what more can you ask for?
I have personally gone there for the buffet countless times. The funny thing is, every time I eat there I swear not to return again, only to find myself calling the restaurant for a booking three months later. The XLB is only so-so, the place extremely crowded and noisy and after a while you realise you have no idea what you're eating anymore.
But a good thing to note is the buffet also offers other side dishes and desserts, which are surprisingly good. Personally, I love the osmanthus jelly there. My family prefers the red bean pudding.
All in all, a must try if you haven't gone there before, but don't go there just for the XLB.