I’m fully alive when I’m travelling in a foreign country. In completely new surroundings, with unknown sights, sounds, smells and culture, I pay attention to everything.
It’s possible to have that same experience in my home community if I make the effort to step out of my routines and explore a new location. Andrew, Shelley and I did just that last week when we had lunch at Jin Jin Cuisine Dumpling at 416 20th Street West in Saskatoon.
The outside of the building is unassuming, but Mike, a new friend, had told me that they served great food. We ventured in the door and were grateful that the chalkboard menu in Chinese was supplemented by a bilingual paper menu.
The restaurant is owned by a Chinese couple, Yang Wei Fang and Yao Yu Shang. The husband cooks and the wife looks after front of house. Her English is pretty basic, but she’s friendly and helpful. We explained that we were vegetarians and she kept repeating “no meat” as she wrote down our choices.
Mike had recommended some dishes and we also ordered a dish that the owner recommended. The first dish to arrive was the pan-fried cabbage dumplings. Shaped like small perogies, they were absolutely delicious. Next up was the special – a stir fry with vegetables, noodles and strips of omelette. Another hit! Next came the green onion pancakes and the leek-filled steam buns. Way too much food, but piping-hot and tasty.
I went back to Jin Jin Cuisine Dumpling last evening with a friend as the restaurant we’d been planning to visit was closed. The “stir fry” dish is called rice noodle pancake, and it was equally delicious the second time around. Yang Wei Fang told us that it’s their most popular dish.
We also had a tureen full of a soupy dish of scrambled eggs, tofu and tomato that was excellent and a refreshing accompaniment to the starchier dishes.
The dumplings don’t contain meat, but I’m not sure they’re vegetarian as Yang Wei Fang kept warning us about something they contained. Unfortunately, we couldn’t understand her. But I didn’t really care – they were delicious, and it was liberating not to know exactly what I was eating.
I encourage you to visit Jin Jin Cuisine Dumpling. You’re in for a treat.
My thanks to Mike for recommending the restaurant. I’m continuing my exploration of foreign destinations on 20th Street in Saskatoon with visits to two more restaurants. I’ll keep you posted.