Dumplings For Days
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For a Japanese take on Taiwanese cuisine with a modern and sophisticated twist, enter Jin Din Rou and be ready to take on a dining experience and food journey like no other.
This magnificently chic and stylish restaurant is located on the corner of King and Kaheka streets and welcomes patrons with one thing in common an intense desire to sink their teeth into Xiao Long Bao aka Shanghai soup dumplings.
“We sell close to 1,000 Xiao Long Bao a day in addition to excellent noodle dishes and other Taiwanese-style favorites,” says restaurant manager Bob Suzukawa.
And albeit delicious, do keep in mind that Xiao Long Bao is accompanied with three-step instructions and a caution label. Why, you may ask? Well, if you’re not careful, you’ll be squirting hot soup at your tablemate across from you, or on yourself for that matter, with each and every bite it is called soup dumplings for a reason.
Don’t be intimidated; the instructions are easy to follow. First simply dip the soup dumpling from the bamboo steamer basket into the recommended black vinegar, then carefully place it on your soup spoon before piercing it with your chopsticks. Soup will spill from the dumpling into your spoon, allowing you to enjoy a burst of flavors as you slurp up the soup along with the dumpling itself.
“We present you with 10 varieties of Xiao Long Bao (starting at $5.90) to choose from, such as Steamed Dumpling with Seafood Broth and Steamed Dumpling with Spicy Chili Flavor, the original Pork Xiao Long Bao and Oolong Xiao Long Bao,” Suzukawa says.
“Chen Wen Cheng is our master dim sum chef from Taiwan and he makes the Xiao Long Bao wraps by hand, along with the savory broth and fillings like pork, chicken and shrimp everything is fresh,” Suzukawa explains.
It’s evident that Xiao Long Bao is the mainstay here and takes center stage when it comes to satisfying your appetite. However, there are many other exquisite dishes prepared by skilled chefs, like Hiromasa Yamanaka, that are palate-worthy as well.
According to Suzukawa, the most requested noodle dish is the Tan Tan Noodle ($9.99), featuring a piping hot bowl of flour noodles in a thick sesamebased broth, for which the sesame seeds are grounded fresh every day.
“That (Tan Tan Noodle), along with our Sweet and Sour Pork and Ban Ban Ji (boiled chicken with sesame sauce) appetizer, are among our top sellers here,” he says.
Now, if you prefer a bit of a kick to your meal, opt for the Mapo Tofu ($9.50), showcasing an enticing blend of bean curd Szechuan-style with savory morsels of ground pork.
“This Mapo Tofu is little different than what’s served at your typical Chinese restaurant,” Suzukawa admits. “It’s spicier and the gravy is thick and not very sweet, but it has tons of flavor.
“I also recommend the Mu Shu Pork ($9.50 small, $18 large). It consists of stir-fried pork with egg and Jew’s ear, along with a dash of shoyu.”
For the lunchtime crowd, Jin Din Rou also offers a wide selection of lunch combinations, presenting diners with a sampling of dumplings, noodles or fried rice, and salad and main dish, if desired.
“We’ve started to serve monthly specials in addition to everything else on our menu and depending on the popularity we may just add it as a permanent item (on the menu),” Suzukawa says.
“For the rest of this month and into September, we’re promoting a Chef’s Appetizer Plate ($25) that varies daily depending on the chef’s choice. For example, it could be something like steamed chicken, char siu, steamed shrimp, jellyfish and squid,” he adds. “Along with that we’re also featuring Jin Din Rou Fried Chicken Legs ($18), served with shoyu and lemon sauce, and Big Crispy Fried Noodle ($13.50) with pork and bean sprouts.”
So, while Jin Din Rou’s expansive menu may be overwhelming for the indecisive diner, the trick here is to order a few delectable entrees for the table to share while taking on piles of baskets of Xiao Long Bao. There’s no MSG here, just mounds of remarkable food that you won’t soon forget.
Jin Din Rou
- 1491 South King Street, Suite 105
- Honolulu, HI 96814
- (808) 947-1133
- Open daily
- 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. (lunch)
- 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. (dinner)