After eating from an endless number of street food vendors and hole-in-the-wall joints, we wanted to try something a little different. The Shin Yeh chain of restaurants seemed to fit the bill, offering home-style Taiwanese dishes in a higher-end atmosphere.
Shin Yeh started out as a small restaurant in a back alley of Taipei back in 1977. The restaurant, which translates to “flourishing leaves”, now has several locations across Taipei including one on the 85th floor of Taipei 101. After experiencing great success in Taipei, they’ve also expanded into Singapore and China.
Mike and I visited the original restaurant located in the Zhongshan district. Reservations are recommended as the restaurant can get insanely busy. If you don’t speak Mandarin, I recommend asking your hotel concierge to make the reservation for you.
The restaurant was interior was bright, clean and spacious, unlike the hole-in-the-wall joints we had been frequenting. And also unlike many previous places we had eaten at, Shin Yeh has English menus! The menu is really extensive so we had a hard time narrowing down what to order, especially since there was only the two of us. I recommend coming with a larger group as you’ll be able to try a larger variety of dishes – all dishes are served family-style.
We started out with the Fresh Spring Rolls – with bean sprouts, cabbage, grated peanuts and sugar (160NTD or $7CAD). I absolutely loved this sweet and savoury combination. The slightly chewy wrapper encased a very a light and refreshing filling of veggies. It’s one of the most popular dishes at Shin Yeh, so don’t miss out!
Up next was the Pan Fried Turnip Omelette (185NTD or $8CAD), another popular dish at the restaurant. It consisted of a fried egg stuffed with crunchy bits of turnip inside. While I really enjoyed the turnip filling, the egg was just way too oily which leaves me a little torn about this one.
We also ordered the Deep Fried Oysters (185NTD or $8CAD) which consisted of a plate full of lightly fried oysters. I really enjoyed the light batter which wasn’t too greasy. The oysters were accompanied by a dish of white pepper salt for dipping making them extra addictive.
Since we were nearing the end of our leg in Taipei, we knew we had to try the 3-cup chicken before we left. The name stems from the fact that the recipe calls for 1 cup of soy sauce, 1 cup rice wine and 1 cup sesame oil. We decided to give Shin Yeh’s version a try which they translated to Wok-Seared Chicken with Basil and Ginger in Clay Pot (680NTD or $28CAD) in English.
The dish looked and smelled promising but unfortunately the boney pieces of meat were a tad dry from being overcooked. Flavour-wise, it was pretty tasty (and spicy) but the overcooking of the meat kinda killed it for me.
We ordered a bowl of Sweet Potato Porridge (30 NTD or $1CAD) to supplement our dishes. It was essentially plain congee with chunks of sweet potato in it. On its own, it was quite bland but it serves the same purpose as a plain bowl of rice at Chinese restaurants – you eat it along with other dishes like the 3 cup chicken.
At the end of the meal, you’ll receive complimentary Mochi along with your bill. These mochis were covered in peanut powder and were a nice little sweet treat to end the meal with.
Overall, I felt Shin Yeh was a little hit and miss. While the flavours of each dish we tried were undeniably tasty, the execution of some fell flat.
At a glance:
- Higher-end restaurant chain which originated in Taipei in 1977
- Numerous locations across Taipei including one on the 85th floor of Taipei 101; also expanded into Singapore and China
- This post is based on the original restaurant in the Zhongshan district
- Featuring home-style Taiwanese dishes; very extensive menu (available in English)
- Accepts reservations and credit cards
- Favourite dishes: fresh spring rolls and deep fried oysters
- Overall, flavours were great but execution was hit and miss
Ratings (out of 5):
- Food: 3 stars
- Service: 3 stars
- Atmosphere: 3 stars