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Located on the sixth floor of the busy StarWorld hotel and casino in central Macau, Jade Garden features a bright, open dining room swathed in gold and beige tones with tables that can accommodate large groups or families, as well as two VIP dining rooms for more private occasions. The noise level can get quite high during lunch and afternoon tea, especially during the weekend, the result of a usually packed house.
Modern versions of Suzhou and Zhejiang cuisine are on feature at Jade Garden, the Macau outpost of a popular restaurant started in Shanghai. The restaurant’s most prized dish is the house special, a braised pork cooked traditional Zhejiang-style in a sauce made with five-year old Chinese wine, soy sauce, sugar, onion and ginger. Cubes of pork belly with generous layers of fat, collagen and meat are braised in the sweet sauce until the sauce becomes rich and syrupy. The pork is extremely rich and tender with equal parts lean meat and fat. Another signature dish is the sautéed river shrimp, a Suzhou regional specialty. Delicately small jewel-like shrimp are cooked through until translucent and served with a strong black vinegar that brings out the sweetness of the shrimp. The crispy chicken is served in half or full sizes and is a delight to eat, with a paper thin, crispy skin and juicy, tender meat fragrant with tea. Jade Garden’s house specialty steamed juicy pork dumplings have a good meat to broth ratio and a nice kick of ginger, but the skin could be a bit thinner. A full dim sum menu is available during lunch.
The wine selection is limited, and our wine menu arrived with many wines crossed out in pencil indicating they were not available. However, for high rollers and big winners, a selection of Chateau Lafite Rothschild is on offer. While a separate tea menu is not available, Jade Garden has a full offering of Chinese teas to complement your meal. Try the chrysanthemum for a light flowery tea, or the pu er for a stronger, earthy tea.
While a helpful English menu with photos of signature dishes is available, non-Chinese speakers may have some trouble communicating with the waiters, who are conversant in Mandarin and Cantonese but have limited English skills. Servers are eager to please, however, and it is not difficult to order using a mixture of English and hand gestures. However, due to some miscommunication, we faced issues with mixed orders which took some time to rectify. Dishes are delivered and cleared efficiently, and waiters will discreetly change dirty plates with clean ones between courses.
A meal for two will average around MOP700, although the total bill can rise exponentially if delicacies such as abalone or bird’s nest are ordered.