25 YEARS OF AUTHENTIC CHINESE CUISINE
JADE GARDEN was easily the dining destination when it opened in 1980. Joseph Henry Ng, entrepreneur and visionary, admitted that his team pulled all the stops to make it the restaurant to-go-to as far as
JADE GARDEN was easily the dining destination when it opened in 1980. Joseph Henry Ng, entrepreneur and visionary, admitted that his team pulled all the stops to make it the restaurant to-go-to as far as Chinese cuisine was concerned.
For the first time, eating Chinese cuisine in the city was like dining in the presence of an emperor – suckling pigs with electronic glowing eyes, chicken wrapped in hardened “mud”, and Peking duck that was served three ways were the main courses. Don’t forget the indulgent shark’s fin soup and succulent abalones.
The interiors were state-of-the-art, bar none, with crystal chandeliers reflecting light in soft hues around the hall, the silverware gleaming, and chinaware pristinely white. It was as if diners were transported to Hong Kong, the country of origin of Jade Garden.
“We pulled out all the stops when we opened Jade Garden in 1980. The service, the linens, the interiors, and the dishes – all were impeccable. There was no room for mistake,” said Peter Ng, the second-generation owner of Jade Garden who also runs the family-owned Makati Supermart.
The best chef on Cantonese cuisine was flown to Manila, tapestries, china, and silver were imported from Hong Kong, chandeliers were raised, and carpets were rolled out for the opening of the Chinese restaurant in the country. And since then, Chinese cuisine was never the same again in Manila.
It has been 25 years since Jade Garden first opened its doors in Makati City’s then premier commercial district, the Makati Commercial Center with no less than former First Lady Imelda Marcos leading the guests. The first restaurant was located at the former Automat, one of the most popular dining places during that time, also a masterpiece of Joseph Henry.
Prosperity and good fortune are the hallmarks of Jade Garden’s interiors.
Records have it that Joseph Henry was introduced to Mr. S.T. Wu, chairman of the Maxim’s Caterers, Ltd., one of the largest restaurant chains in Hong Kong. The introduction was made by the late, iconic industrialist Washington Sycip.
“From the conceptualization, we have always wanted to raise the bar in Chinese dining in the country. When Jade Garden opened, no other restaurant served the way we did. A number of our staff were sent and trained in Hong Kong to master how to change plates; how to slice and serve suckling pig; the proper way to cut the Peking duck; and even how to change the tablecloth in a swift but neat manner,” Ng added.
After 25 years, Jade Garden still has the exemplary Cantonese menu to beat.
The façade of the original Jade Garden restaurant in Makati
was a symbol of unparalleled dining – reminiscent of the opulence of Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The present-day Jade Garden has a new façade and more modern
interiors but the menu remains elegant, sumptuous – still the best Cantonese dining experience.