Food Review: Yong Jing's Kitchen Enlightenment (YJKE)

23/07/2018

YJKE is a lovely little Chinese restaurant on Anzac parade in Kensington. Hidden behind the doors of this establishment lies a palette of taste and cheap prices to enchant any university student - good food is the in the blood of the YJKE family, and a degree at UNSW without a visit to YJKE is incomplete!

The Menu

The first thing that strikes you as you sit down to a meal is the menu, coated in vibrant and welcoming bright red and gold. Opening the menu reveals a whopping amount of food choices! A vast array of gorgeous looking Chinese cuisine dishes dazzle the eyes and bombard the senses.

A whopping 42 pages long, nobody is ever short of choice at YJKE. They have good for everyone - be they vegetarian, vegan or gluten free.

Out of my past 1.5 years of eating at YJKE, I've never run out of dishes to try in my over 50 visits. On cold and unwelcoming nights, YJKE offers a warm laksa or a noodle soup to warm up the insides, and rice and cooler vegetable dishes on the hottest days to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. There is also hot pot, chilli soup, congee, frying plate, curry, deep fried and many, many specialty dishes available!

The Price

In addition to the taste selection, the price range of dishes is certainly accommodating. Full meals can be purchased at a very affordable $7 - $9 that leave the stomach filled to the brim, whilst those willing to treat themselves can buy luxurious and exuberant dishes for a higher price.

Many cheap and enjoyable side dishes are available too - for $2.50 you can get a youtiao that goes greatly with any of the soup dishes (my personal favourite), and many others at a similarly low price!

A pot of tea and any refills is free at YJKE, as is common at many traditional Chinese restaurants.

The Taste

The food could not be anything but a supreme crusade of unique taste.

The meat has always been succulent, with a soft melting texture to accompany. I noticed very quickly that all the meat dishes were a carefully crafted blend between the meat and the accompanying flavours in the dish. Take for example the Beef Brisket Noodle Soup (pictured with my friend Anna!):

The beef gracefully sits atop your tongue, slowly melting as the soaked up soup broth releases down your throat, breaking apart and spreading the small fatty pieces with it. The crunchy and crisp vegetables sit nicely in the soup, and have a nice solid and watery texture when chewed. The noodles aren't as soft as you'd expect, but the chewy al dente consistency is a nice touch to the softness in the rest of the dish. The little pieces of tofu skin floating in the broth give a pleasant contrast in taste to the rest of the dish, bringing a nice variety of flavours to the whole bowl. Finally, the broth brings the dish together with a flurry of warm tangy flavours that flow down your throat. Above, I've soaked my youtiao in it to get a nice crunchy texture combined with the soupy oily flavours from the broth (I recommend it!).

The Staff

Always friendly! The staff remember who walks in and out of their doors and are smiley and happy to everyone. Of the many times I've ~ordered in Chinese~ attempted to speak Chinese to them, they've always been patient and happy to hear me out!

The Takeaway

YJKE is a must try experience if you're in Sydney! I recommend going with friends and ordering a variety of dishes so you can all share the different flavours that YJKE has to offer.