Yangzi Jiang :  By Neil Robinson

Yangzi Jiang, a Cantonese restaurant that pleases by variety

Cantonese cuisine is known for the use of fresh ingredients, particularly fresh seafood and a wide range of meats. Spices are commonly used sparingly, and sauces are usually light compared with other Chinese cuisines, in order not to obscure the flavours of the main ingredients. The delicate flavours can be very pleasing, but those accustomed to the more robust flavours of Thai food may find the food a bit bland.
Yangzi Jiang is a bit different. The large menu includes not only traditional dishes, but also some quite spicy ones, particularly on their Cantonese home style menu. I dined there recently with a group of ten people, both Thai and farang. This was my second meal there, since first trying it last month. With a large group, and everyone ordering different dishes, I got to sample some items that I might not otherwise have thought of trying. The inevitable result is that I found a few dishes that seemed to me less successful. More important, I found quite a number that pleased me, and a few new favourite dishes.
Two, in particular, of the dishes stood out as really pleasing everyone - we ended up ordering multiple plates of each. These were the roasted pork neck with honey (140 baht for a small plate, and 280 baht for a generously large plate) and the sauteed string beans with minced pork and XO chili sauce (120 Baht). The roast meat had a good, clear, but not overly strong pork flavour and a fine tender texture. It was served on a bed of what appeared to be lentils, and which were firm enough to be almost crunchy. The string beans, from the Cantonese home style menu, were nice and firm, in an appetizing spicy meat sauce.
Another example of a dish that pleased me was the stewed eggplant, again from the Cantonese home style menu, and again with a spicy minced pork sauce (120 baht). A couple of dishes that seemed less successful were the hot and sour soup (85 baht per person), which was not hot enough for my taste, and the Yunnan style sliced chicken (130 baht small, 260 baht large), which I found a bit fatty. One or two dishes really divided opinion. The best example of this was a sour bamboo dish. Some really loved its strong flavour. Others found it not to their taste. We took a vote and the split was exactly 50/50. Tastes obviously vary and the advantage of the variety of dishes offered here is that you can find something to please your particular palate.
I sampled three desserts: lemon sorbet, rum raisin ice cream and a deep fried pancake with banana and mashed dates. Again, I found a couple which I really liked, but one unsuccessful item. The pancake, which I am told is traditional in Hong Kong, was delicious, sweet, fruity and crispy. I also liked the refreshing sorbet. The rum raisin ice cream, on the other hand, gave the impression of being almost dry, if you can imagine that in an ice cream.
The restaurant building is in an attractive oriental style. I hope you can see how nice it is from the photograph. There is ample parking. We ate in a spacious upstairs room, and were attentively waited on. The cost per person was 440 baht, including water, but not alcoholic drinks. This seemed very reasonable in view of the amount we ordered and the quality of the food. We brought our own wine - another nice thing about Yangzi Jiang is that they are happy for you to do this and do not charge corkage.
Their address is 10 Nimmanhaeminda, Soi 5, within walking distance of the Rincome. Tel: 053 225 313.
I’d like to hear from you on your experience of this restaurant. Please contact me at: [email protected]
Next week we will go from Canton to France, to try the restaurant that many think offers the best European food in Chiang Mai. Then, the week after, it’s back to northern Thailand and the announcement of a new leader in the race for best khao soi. I hope also to include readers’ recommendations for khao soi places, so please let me know your favourite and why you think it is one of the best.


Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken “cordon bleu” is a simple, yet satisfying dish for both the cook and the diners. “Cordon bleu” is from L’Ordre des Chevaliers du Saint Esprit, a 1578 AD elite group of French knights. Apparently the group became known for their extravagant and luxurious banquets, known as “cordon bleu” (blue ribbon).

Cooking Method
Flatten chicken breasts with the heel of your hand. Wrap a slice of ham around a piece of cheese about 5 cm long and 0.5 cm wide and then wrap the chicken breast around the ham and cheese.
Dip the breasts in flour, then in the egg wash (the beaten egg in 100 ml milk) and then in finely crushed bread crumbs. Brown in hot oil about 4 minutes a side.
Finish the chicken cordon bleu in the microwave on medium for around one minute to ensure the cheese has melted.

Ingredients                 Serves 4
Skinless, boneless chicken breasts 4
Ham slices                                    4
Swiss cheese                         50 gm
Egg                                               1
Milk                                      100 ml
Bread crumbs                        2 cups
Cream of chicken soup            100 ml
All-purpose whipping cream     500 ml
Mix together and stir constantly over stove on low heat. When sauce is hot, pour into dish to be served over the chicken cordon bleu.