Jin Feng is Taipei’s most well known braised pork rice restaurant with 30 years of experience, countless food blogger reviews, and even rumours of a Michelin star. Here’s what I thought about a little restaurant with a big reputation.
We arrived at 3pm (always a good time to turn up for lunch at a restaurant known for it’s lengthy queues) and was pleasantly surprised to get a table right away.
Jin Feng is a simple and classic local restaurant with a brightly lit interior and Chinese-style service (expect the staff to be highly efficient while casually shouting at each other from across the room – something I love about eating in this part of the world). The menu is not extensive – also a good sign. An English menu is available and the prices are very low, even by local standards. 50-70TWD (around $2USD) for main dishes, $0.50USD ish for a side. We ordered 7 dishes in total; when in Rome, as they say. The restaurant felt very ordinary in terms of cleanliness based on my experience in old local restaurants like this (i.e. not particularly clean but you’ll be fine with it if you’ve ever eaten in these kind of places!).
Braised Side Pork Rice (70TWD)
A good sized lump of marinated pork belly on top of rice. The pork tasted great – really nicely marinated in a sweet (but not too sweet) sauce, but it was pretty dry and overcooked.
The bit of pork around the fat was by far the best bit as it still had some moisture in it. The rice was OK but a little overcooked and not particularly flavourful, nor the best texture.
Braised Ground Pork Rice Large (50TWD)
A fairly small amount of finely chopped marinated pork on top of a bowl of rice and a couple of small chunks of white gourd. Tbh I couldn’t believe this was the large option – it was barely big enough for one person. And in honesty, the pork was literally 100% fat. It tasted a bit too salty, sweet and unrefined to me. Not bad by any stretch, but nothing to write home about.
Ground Pork with mushroom dry noodle (35TWD)
Again a small amount of diced pork (unsurprising I guess given the price) on top of vermicelli noodles with some bean sprouts thrown in. This tasted great – albeit with that same pure fat pork with not the best flavour, but the noodles were of a good, springy texture and when the pork juice all mixed up with them, it tasted pretty good.
Bitter melon & spare rib soup (60TWD)
Small lumps of bitter melon and a few little bits of pork ribs in a clear broth. This tasted really good but altogether quite bland – the soup is very clear, very light, and has a great delicate flavour. The bitter melon was the best bit – perfectly cooked and with a lovely firm texture, not too bitter and with a touch of sweetness. The pork flavoured the broth really nicely but the meat itself was very dry. After living in Singapore for years and being a huge fan of bah kut teh (pork ribs in herbal soup), I found the meat dry and not very tasty.
Stewed Egg with Taiwanese spice (15TWD)
A whole marinated egg cooked (boiled) in various spices. I loved the flavour of this – it kinda tastes like tea with a strong chinese herbal kick, but the egg was very dry. After eating onsen eggs in Japan, this was underwhelming.
Oily Bean Curd (10 TWD)
Possibly my favourite dish – fried bean curd marinated in spices. Really flavourful – sweet and a little bitter, with a tiny hint of that stinky tofu taste, almost perfectly cooked (maybe slightly overdone) and with a lovely texture – soft and creamy inside, slightly crispy outside. We ordered another one.
Dried Bamboo Shoot (30TWD)
Fried bamboo shoots fried with pickled vegetables topped with chopped pork. This was another great dish – the bamboo nice and al dente and with a lovely strong flavour, the pork adding a nice saltiness and the pickled veg adding some sweetness and some vinegar. A really lovely dish.
Overall Jin Feng was a bit of a disappointment – after our experience eating one of the best bowls of beef noodles I’ve ever tasted just the day before (review coming soon), and after reading so many positive reviews of this place, maybe our expectations were just too high. Maybe the food was all a little overcooked because we turned up in too late for lunch but before they had started on the evening dinner batch. And even though the total bill (270 TWD, less than $9USD) was a bargain even by Taiwanese standards, to be honest I couldn’t quite grasp what all the fuss is about.
Address: No. 10, Section 1, Roosevelt Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei
Nearest MRT: Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (Red + Green Lines)
Price: $5 USD per person