Sherman's Food Adventures: Jin Jiang Shanghai Restaurant

Jin Jiang Shanghai Restaurant

Another year and another stab at the Social Media Choice for the Chinese Restaurant Awards (was named Blogger's Choice last year...).  This time around, we settled on 5 dishes to be included in the judging for 2016.  One of my suggestions made it to the ballot being the Drunken Chicken (or Wine Chicken) which is a classic Shanghainese dish that features chicken poached in Xiaoshing wine.  Now before you anoint Long's as the winner before we even start, it was our job to find the best one regardless of reputation.

My first foray brought me back to Jin Jiang located in the Best Western on Kingsway in Burnaby.  They were going through some drastic renos, so the picture of the front is a stock photo.  Without further ado, we went straight for the Drunken Chicken to start.  It definitely looked appetizing and it was pretty decent.  Featuring tender and succulent chicken with a thin layer of gelatin underneath the gelatinized skin, there was a mild hit of wine.  We liked how it wasn't too salty nor sweet, but the overall impact was not very strong.  By the same token, the Hot & Sour Soup was fairly bland and lacking depth.  Despite the strong presence  of vinegar and chill oil, there was a severe lack of salt which was further highlighted by the flavourless soup base.  On the positive side, the ingredients were plentiful with crunchy wood ear and bamboo shoots with some shrimp.

Of course we had to get a steamer of the Xiao Long Bao (which my kids now absolutely adore).  These featured a relatively thin dumpling skin where the top twirl was only slightly doughy.  Inside, there was a decent amount of soup that was sweet with a touch of ginger.  I would've liked to see a stronger wine presence though.  As for the meat, it was tender and "springy", hence being overall appealing.  The Pan Fried Pork Buns featured the same filling as the XLBs.  As a result, there was a measurable amount of juice squirting out after the first bite (and also the one we cut for the picture...  all that soup lost on the plate!).  The bun portion was soft and airy while the bottom was pan fried until golden brown and crispy.  This was one of the highlights of our meal.

Rather than going for the usual Peking Duck for the kiddies, we wanted to do something different this time.  Thus, we went for something that still involved wraps with the Shredded Pork in Chili and Garlic Sauce (crepes were an extra charge).  Well, that was a fail as the kids thought it was too spicy.  For the adults, that wasn't an issue, however, we did find it overly sweet.  The shredded pork was on point though being properly marinated with a tender chewiness and that classic rebound texture.  Now we didn't abandon ordering duck though since we got the Deep Fried Smoked Duck.  Yes, this was one of the dishes we judged last year and despite not winning, the one here is respectable.  We found the skin crispy and generally well-rendered.  The meat was succulent and full of smoke flavour (maybe a tad too much) while well-salted.

To lighten things up from the heaviness of the previous 2 dishes, we got the Steamed Silky Tofu with Shrimp.  This was predictably a very mild-tasting and easy-to-eat dish.  Curiously, the dish was not served steaming hot as anticipated.  Of course they couldn't steam it for too long as the shrimp on top would've been overcooked, but the dish was lukewarm at best.  With that being said, the tofu was silky while the shrimp was cold-water crunchy.  Lastly, we got the Deep Fried Bun served with condensed milk.  This was fried just right with a golden crunchy exterior with a soft fluffy interior.  Seeing that this has been the 4th time I've eaten here, I can definitively say the food is decent, but of course, cannot compete with the places found in Richmond.

The Good:
- Decent
- Extensive menu
- Relatively nice dining space

The Bad:
- Hit and miss
- Not a fan of the parking lot
- Service hit and miss too