About $500,000 was needed to upgrade the kitchen and dining areas after a series of well-publicized sanitation issues finally shut down Bryn Mawr’s once-beloved Yang Ming. Now that the money is spent and the work is done, partners Sunni Lee, Salina Ko and Ming Fung are quick to point out that the experience at Jin Ding rivals that of its sister spot, China Gourmet, their popular dim sum restaurant in Northeast Philadelphia.
Amid lingering pandemic fears, Jin Ding’s takeout business is thriving, and Lee is more than ready to welcome the dine-in crowd. “The pace has been slow but very steady in our race to win back lovers of made-to-order Asian cuisine,” she says.
And Jin Ding’s buns, dumplings and rice rolls don’t disappoint. Served in a bamboo steamer, the six-piece dumpling sampler is a great place to start. The doughy eight-piece soup dish is a personal favorite. Among the other soup standouts: Cantonese wonton topped with dainty needle-like enoki mushrooms, minced chicken with corn, and a selection of tofu options. The seasonal pumpkin soup with butter and onion is also worth a try.
Poultry, seafood and meat selections include Kung Pao chicken, Mongolian beef, General Tso’s chicken and other standbys. Noodles and fried rice options are well represented, along with lo meins. For something less obvious, I recommend the seafood in a flower basket, the pan-fried salmon steak, and the lamb chop with black-pepper sauce. Vegans can opt for fried and braised tofu and a spicy eggplant presentation.
Jin Ding’s rehabbed 120-year-old space seats 250. Most desirable are the cushy semi-circular private booths on the first floor. Alas, the interior retains the same dated Yang Ming color scheme, with mirrored walls, frosted glass and Asian-themed décor. The front-of-house staff is exceptional, and it has a few dedicated Yang Ming holdovers. Happy hour specials should be back by now, and the place can easily accommodate private parties.