I don’t really know how I am going to write about this without raising any eyebrows considering the fact that my dad owns part of the restaurant but does not really handle any day to day operations. But I am going into this review as I do with all my reviews: the good, the bad…and the not so great of what we had. So let’s start:
Roast duck sandwich – very rich with the pate and has a wonderful nutty flavor. The mixture of leeks and coriander leaves create a great herbal and refreshing taste. The pickles cut the richness much like the Vietnamese ban mi with a twist (since instead of a baguette it uses a fried mantho). This one is quite interesting because I was so focused on the fact that this is a mutant cousin of the Ban Mi…it had the fillings of what a Ban Mi was, but the execution and mix of ingredients took it to a different level. The atchara or pickles on the side is your typical carrot and radish atchara but it works with this sandwich.
Great Wall chicken – this chicken is served cold with an interesting nutty flavor. It’s silky on the palate and the sauce is light and but rich tasting at the same time. I was a tad bit worried though about the amount of oil it was swimming in when it was served, but I guess the oil was part of the chicken’s dressing.
Hot and Sour Soup – This is thinner than that of the usual hot and sour soup we have in Chinese restaurants. The sourness has a kick to it but is very fragrant (I guess the vinegar used is good), after a couple of minutes the sourness dissipates a little, leaving a gentler kick compared to a few minutes before. Deep flavor of their superior stocks & ham bones are prominent and tastes almost roasted.
Egg drop Soup tastes so Japanese because of the miso. It is a cross between the Chinese Egg Drop soup and a Japanese miso soup. There seems to be quite a strong miso flavor that was a little rough on my palate and began to border on salty.
Crab and Corn has a wonderful seafood flavor with the sweetness of corn. This was the most subtle flavors of the 2 other soups we had and silky texture of the egg was interesting with the popping texture of the sweet corn kernels.
Beef with Crispy pineapple – The beef looked like it was stewed for a long time and was exceptionally tender. The batter of the crispy pineapple was not completely cooked through though which caused a slight grit in the middle of the puff. The way the pineapple puffed gave a wonderful cloud like feel on the inside and crunch on the outside. The meat was stewed and very tender, it was marinated in a wonderful spirit and achieves a melt in your mouth feel that contrasts the pineapple.
Mango Pork – The glazing technique left the outer core crunchy and the inside of the pork chewy. Although the mango purée they used did not really have a strong mango flavor as I hoped it would have. I would love more mango flavor on this one and hopefully they will use less tart mangoes next time.
Emerald fried rice – This rice has a great salted fish flavor and is quite moist and chewy. Unlike the usual Chinese fried rice that tends to border on dry, this one is soft and moist. It smells bad but tastes good.
Tigers Eye Rice – has a good roasted flavor. It was screaming duck fat at the tip of my mouth and had a nice velvetty feel. The bits and pieces all attribute to this velvety feel in my mouth (mushrooms, meat, etc). This best describes the saying “Kanin Pa Lang Ulam na” and will most likely win the hearts of people on a budget since you can get stuffed on this alone.
Waterchestnut sago pudding with mango cream – this was a very pleasant finish to our heavy dinner. Mig and I just shared one but it was quickly gobbed up. It’s a wonderful little creamy jelly with sago. The waterchestnut chips on top create a crunch in the dish and was smothered with a mango cream topping. This was very very good.
After eating in Yong Jin, I realized that no, this is not a Chinese restaurant. A lot of the food is Asian fusion, a marriage of the different Asian techniques and ingredients. Though there were some misses (the concept was good, the execution on that day was a bit under), the hits were pretty interesting since there were a lot of things in here that I haven’t eaten in any other restaurant. I think that it would be a good experience for people looking for something new and unfamiliar.
Yong Jin Asian Cafe
P. Guevarra Street San Juan City, Metro Manila