As much as there are great places to get Shanghainese food in the GVRD, Burnaby doesn't seem to be one of them. Sure, there is Crystal Palace and Shanghai Elan, but neither elicit tasty thoughts with the former being far below average. With the departure of Wang's in Crystal Mall, there has been a XLB black hole of sorts. Enter Jin Jiang located in the former New Age Chinese strangely nestled in the Best Western motel on Kingsway.
We started with the Wine Chicken which was a decent portion for the price. With a properly gelatinized skin and only a hint of gelatin underneath, the chicken itself was somewhat firm. It wasn't dry though and there was a mild xiaoshing wine hit. Not a bad start. Next up was the Seafood Hot & Sour Soup. We liked how there was a good representation of scallops and shrimp. On the other hand, they were a touch rubbery. As for the soup base, it was decently flavourful with some depth. I liked how there was a balance of tartness and spice where there was little reliance on chili oil. Rather, there was heat built into the broth with chili sauce.
We also got the Shredded Pork with Hoisin Sauce to go along with a couple of fried buns. The pork was not exactly chewy, yet was not overly tender either. It was pretty obvious that it was not marinated in baking soda. Depending on your preference, the texture of the pork would either be natural or not tender enough. In terms of flavour, it was mildly spicy with lots of savoury elements. There was was a considerable oil slick on the bottom of the plate though. With the same grease issue, the Shanghai Pan-Fried Rice Cake was decent. Each slice was toothsome and seasoned just enough with dark soy. There was plenty of Napa cabbage but somewhat of an absence of spinach and shredded pork.
As for the most important dish of all, the Xiao Long Bao was also decent. With a medium thick dumpling skin (which was not doughy), it was not hard to eat them. The pork filling was tender and moist while the soup had a pronounced sweetness accented by only mild hints of xiaoshing wine. Good for Burnaby I suppose. Moving along, we had the Peking Duck, much to the delight of my son. The duck skin was mostly crispy (with some soggy pieces) and it was good that they scrapped off the layer of fat. Interestingly, they stacked the crepes one on top of each other in a bamboo steamer. Totally impractical to remove as they stuck together.
The second course of the Peking Duck was the Duck Lettuce Wrap. With a noticeable dark hue, the dish was impacted by the overuse of dark soy. Hence, it was neither attractive to look at nor balanced in taste. Also, there was an uneven ratio of duck meat to crunchy veggies. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they were generous with the duck meat, but then the texture was meaty rather than crunchy. As we were dining, the whole restaurant was packed and it was a Thursday. I guess there are not too many good Shanghainese options in Burnaby considering Crystal Palace is terrible and Elan is average.
- Spacious restaurant
- Decent eats
- Decent service, but was overextended when busy
- Staff were overextended