A cult favorite among Chinese food enthusiasts, Shin Restaurant has moved from its old location on the second floor of Pacific Mart to across Beach Road where Eastern Seafood used to be.
To commemorate the move and the subsequent renaming to New Shin Restaurant, chef Yan Jiagui has prepared four different set meals—pork short ribs, garlic roasted chicken, garlic pork spareribs, and grilled beefs ribs at only $11.95 each. Two more less expensive set meals are on the menu—orange chicken and sweet and sour pork that cost only $9.95 each. All set meals come with soup, fried rice, a side order of vegetables, and unlimited refills of hot tea.
Yan said his technique and skill with the wok set his food apart from other Chinese restaurants on Saipan. “My food is not salty at all as I always bring out the natural flavor of the ingredients in the dish. I never use MSG and use very little oil and that makes my food healthier and easier to eat compared to other Chinese restaurants on Saipan.”
And it shows in his gastronomic masterpieces, as New Shin Restaurant’s garlic roasted chicken is crunchy yet juicy and good to the last bite. His pork short ribs are equally divine with the sweetness of the meat enhanced many fold by Yan’s expert cooking.
“Real Chinese food in Hong Kong don’t rely much on seasoning and that’s what I always strive for,” he said.
Originally from Guanxi Province in China, Yan is self-taught and has over 30 years’ experience in the kitchen, with 15 of those spent on island.
Another favorite, especially of Filipino customers, is Yan’s Chinese sour soup. He said some of his Pinoy customers even said it’s better than their sinigang, which is the tamarind-flavored sour soup of the Philippines.
Yan’s beef dishes are also so tender that not a few customers have asked if they’re using Certified Angus Beef. Yan’s coy reply, “It’s all in the cooking technique.”
He also said the food at the Shin Restaurant is so good that a Guam hotel executive who frequently flies to Saipan has become a regular customer and has sworn off other Chinese restaurants on island. That particular customer even said Chinese restaurants in Guam pale in comparison to Shin Restaurant.
First established in 2017, Shin Restaurant originally catered to 90%-95% tourists. “[It was] seldom [that] local people patronized us because the old location was on the second floor and there was not much parking.”
That marketing strategy went out the window when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the steady flow of tourists to the island. After closing for two months beginning when the CNMI got its first coronavirus cases in March, Yan pivoted to attracting local diners to the restaurant.
Luckily, the old Eastern Seafood location was available and Yan quickly moved to lease the property and New Shin Restaurant finally opened its doors earlier this month and has steadily attracted local customers, including many Filipinos and Chinese nationals who have made Saipan their second home.
“As long as the food is good, we can still can get a lot of local customers—locals and resident Filipinos and Chinese. My thinking is let them try the food even just one time and I guarantee they will come back. Since reopening in this new location as New Shin Restaurant, no one has said our food is bad and they’re not coming back. We’ve opened this new restaurant for everybody and we all want them to try our healthy but tasty Chinese food,” said Yan.
Aside from the affordable $11.95 and $9.95 set menu, New Shin Restaurant is also currently offering a 30% off promotion in its ala carte menu.
Located beside I Love Saipan in Garapan, New Shin Restaurant sits 70 people under COVID-19 guidelines and is open everyday from 6am to 2pm and 5pm to 9pm. For more information or for reservations, call 233-8778 or 287-4577. They can also be reached through their Facebook account: New Shin Restaurant.