Johor Kaki Travels for Food

Tony Boey johorkaki@gmail 🇸🇬 Dairy of Singapore active senior. Best years of food, travel, lifestyle

Jiangsu Cuisine @ Nanjing Impressions Restaurant 南京大牌档.夫子廟 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I've heard good reviews of Nanjing Impressions in Plaza Singapura (Singapore) but haven't got a chance to try it. So, I was delighted to try it in Nanjing itself (near the Confucius Temple). It was one of my best memories of the beautiful historic city, capital of Jiangsu province and Old China.

The first thing that struck me about Nanjing Impressions was the ambiance and atmosphere inside. It was full house with a long queue waiting outside. Though it was indoors, it felt very much part of the hustle and bustle of the busy Nanjing Fuzimiao 夫子廟 shopping and dinning district outside.

Nanjing Impressions seemed to bring the excitement and energy of the streets of Nanjing Fuzimiao 夫子廟 inside.

Nanjing Impressions is a relatively young restaurant founded in 1994. It successfully recreated the dining experience of early 1900 (late Qing) Nanjing in ambiance, atmosphere, service and most importantly in taste and feel of traditional Jiangnan 江南 and Jiangsu 江苏 dishes. Nanjing Impressions now has over 40 outlets throughout China and overseas, including in Singapore.

The action in the open kitchen was frenetic but it was well organised and well oiled. Despite the crushing crowd, the orders were taken quickly and dishes served promptly.

We had one of the several private rooms inside Nanjing Impressions. A bit compact but still comfortable for 10 people.

招牌盐水鸭 Jinling Salted Duck is to Nanjing folks like Hainanese chicken to Singaporeans. Salted ducks are served in many restaurants and there are many salted duck specialty shops.

The Jinling duck is seasoned by hand rubbing with salt and spices, rested for 3 hours, poached in stock with spices for 2 hours, and then hang dried for 5 days before serving (at room temperature).

After trying a few salted ducks during my Jiangsu trip, I like Nanjing Impression's rendition of this iconic dish.

The meat was tender but firm with juice in its fibres. It was mildly savoury salty with no duck gaminess at all. The skin added a slightly different layer of salty-savoury flavour to the duck.

金牌响油鳝糊 Small eels cooked in a sizzling bubbling thick savoury stock. These small eels are very popular with locals (you will see them sold everywhere). The pencil shaped eels deboned with skin on were tender but still had a slight spring. The savoury sauce was quite robust but there was still a subtle earthly taste in the eels. The savoury stock and eel's natural taste combined well to make a tasty dish that is perfect with boiled rice.

老坛酱香肉 Pork belly with a thick layer of fat served in thin slices. The meat and fat were tender and juicy, and deeply infused with the savoury sauce flavour. I can still taste a bit of natural sweetness in the fat.

清炖狮子头 I have eaten many "Lion Head" which is a large minced pork ball but this is the first time I tried it served in a clear soup - it is usually cooked in a savoury brown broth.

I like Nanjing Impressions' version the most as I can taste the natural sweetness of the pork. The finely chopped pork ball was pillow soft as there was a rather high proportion of fat inside. But, the pork was fresh and delicious.

天王烤鸭包 This was my first time eating a xiao long bao filled with chopped roast duck with minced pork (instead of pure mince pork). The stock filled "Heavenly King of Roast Duck Dumpling" was tender and delicious. The roast duck dumpling tasted savoury in layers which was more intense (and more delicious) than its pure pork counterparts.

金牌煎饺 Meaty minced pork pan fried dumplings.

鸡汁长江白鱼 Fresh white fish from the Yangtze River that runs beside Nanjing, steamed with chicken stock and splashed with hot oil just before serving. The gently savoury sweet chicken stock complements the soft white fish's natural sweetness. As it is a river fish, it is boney and there is a subtle earthy flavour. I like it.

地锅小公鸡 Baby Rooster Stew with Special Sauce served with Crispy Sesame Bun. Can't remember much of this dish except that the bite size pieces of chicken were quite fibrous and had quite intense salty-savoury taste. The sesame bun was salty-sweetish.

江米扣肉 Although the glutinous rice was done a little too soft for me, I like the layers of savoury sweetness from the brown stock and melt-in-your-mouth stewed juicy pork belly slices embedded inside.

招牌虾黄豆腐 Tofu with savoury sauce and shrimp roe. Interesting layers of savouriness from gentle (tofu) to robust (shrimp roe).

玉带丝瓜 Sautéed Silky Gourd with Garlic. I love this humble dish of thick strips of loofah gourd sautéed with garlic and brown stock.

The limp, floppy bands of loofah gourd were soft yet had a nice springy crunch. The loofah was sweet with a green taste which was complemented by the gentle layers of savouriness from the garlic and brown stock.

渔舟唱晚 Deep fried small battered fish. Nice crunchy savoury nibbles.

Traditional Sweet Taro Seedling in Lotus Starch with Osmanthus... . What can I say... nice sweet "soup" to round up the lunch on a sweet note.

4-Star (out of 5). Nanjing Impressions is one of the best memories from my short stop in Nanjing (7 cities in 7 days trip to Jiangsu). Awesome ambiance (if you are OK with crowds), delicious old school Jiangnan/ Jiangsu food, efficient service, great location right there at Fuzimiao 夫子廟 pedestrian street. A recommended food stop in Nanjing.

Restaurant: Nanjing Impressions 南京大牌
AddressQinhuai Qu, Fuzimiao, Nanjing, China 大石坝街 48号 (5 minutes walks from the Confucius Temple & within the pedestrian street beside China Construction Bank)
GPS32°01'15.2"N 118°47'34.0"E | 32.020891, 118.792763
Tel: 400 1877 177 | 025-68216777
Hours11:00am - 14:30pm | 17:00pm - 23:00pm (11:00am - 23:00pm on Sat & Sun)

Non Halal

Date visited: 12 May 2018

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