Although I haven't been to Taiwan yet, I have somehow been acquainted to Taiwanese cuisine thanks to the continuously growing number of Taiwanese dining establishments here in the Metro. And just earlier this month, my friends and I headed to Wilson, San Juan to check out another Taiwanese food destination, Yen Yen Taiwan Street Food.
Located in Wilson Street corner P. Guevarra Street stands the green and orange signage of Yen Yen Taiwan Street Food which actually started out as a business selling Taiwanese sauces, and has later evolved into a noodle cart in Shaw Boulevard, a small Taiwanese eatery in Gilmore, and today, a bigger casual dining restaurant in San Juan.
For a street food destination, Yen Yen definitely offers a lot of delectable goodies on its menu. From starters, dimsum, noodles and even to main entrées and desserts, this modern dining establishment already got almost everything covered.
To start off our meal, we first had a serving of Fried Dumplings (P140) with a dipping sauce. Although these dimsum treats might look ordinary, they're in fact boiled and then pan-fried meaty bundles of goodness. They're soft and silky, yet quite crispy at the bottom without being oily. Inside every treat is a juicy and plump filling of ground pork.
We also had the Spicy Wonton (P140), steamed wontons swimming in spicy chili oil. Although I'm not a big fan of spicy dishes, I have nothing but good things to say about this very satisfying treat. The wontons are soft, plump and very juicy even with vegetable fillings. I actually thought they're similar to kuchay dumplings, just spicier and yummier.
Next on our table is this plate of Taiwan Pork Chops (P220), two slices of thin breaded pork cooked Taiwanese-style with herbs and Chinese five-spice, if I'm not mistaken. Although I love the crunchy and flavorful breading in this ensemble, and the fact that these chops are far from being oily albeit deep-friend, I found the pork itself a little dry.
We were then served with the Crispy Chicken (P160), deep-fried fillets of dark chicken meat coated in the same spices used in the Taiwan Pork Chops. Despite having the same crunchy and flavorful breading, the chicken is my hands down winner as it was more tender and succulent. It was so good that Stacy and I even fought for the last cut!
We also got to try the Taipei Beef Noodle Soup with Tendon (P240), a hearty bowl of hot noodles perfect for the chilly "ber" months. As Yen Yen's signature dish, this item uses a blend of the Taiwanese sauces they originally sold in expos. And as a bestseller, it was indeed sweet, very savory and oh-so-delicious! The beef pieces and tendons were tender and succulent, the noodles were firm and chewy, while the broth was so flavorful and so addicting. Good thing, Yen Yen is generous enough to offer free soup refills.
To continue the noodle fest, we had a serving of Taiwan Sate Chami (P220) which is good enough for two to three people. Although I'm generally not a big fan of chami, I was taken aback and fell in love with this dish because of its sate sauce. While the firm yet chewy noodles are already topped with a colorful ensemble of meat, mushrooms and vegetables, it was really the sweet, savory and nutty sate sauce that brought everything together and made it one very memorable item in Yen Yen's menu.
To end on a sweet note, we shared a serving of Taiwan Red Bean Ice (P80), a simple yet refreshing dessert of finely shaved ice topped with imported red beans from Taiwan and condensed milk. While the creamy shaved ice is already a treat on its own, the sweet, high quality red beans even left us wanting for more. They were so good that we didn't leave even a single red bean in our bowl. As for my choice of beverage, I got the Pearl Milk Tea (P80), a creamy milk tea concoction with soft and chewy tapioca pearls.
After this trip to Yen Yen Taiwan Street Food, I've found myself into Taiwanese cuisine yet again. Everything we've tried, from the dimsum and the fried meat chops, to the noodles and even the cold treats, were of excellent quality sure to bring great value to every diner's penny. And with good food, a wider menu selection, and a bigger, better and brighter space, I'm sure to pay Yen Yen Taiwan Street Food another visit soon.
Ambiance - 3.5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Yen Yen Taiwanese Street Food, Wilson
198 Wilson St. Corner P. Guevarra St.,
San Juan City, Metro Manila