Restaurant Review: Carnival’s JiJi Asian Kitchen [PHOTOS]

JiJi Asian Kitchen Carnival

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Many cruisers will pass on specialty restaurants, using the logic that they can get plenty of great food for free in the various dining venues around the ship.

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JiJi Asian Kitchen on Carnival Panorama.

And while that’s true, passengers bypassing JiJi Asian Kitchen are missing out on one of the best meals at sea and one of the best values.

What Carnival ships have JiJi Asian Kitchen?

What Makes It Unique?

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Jiji’s Asian Kitchen

JiJi provides a complimentary lunch each day with limited options. However, the restaurant truly shines during its for-fee dinner service.

Upon entering the dining area, guests are immediately immersed in the restaurant’s rich culture. The color scheme is warm and manages to be both bright and muted at the same time.

The restaurant encourages good conversation over a leisurely meal and isn’t too loud or boisterous. And let’s not forget about the meal itself.

What’s On The Menu?

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Slow-Braised Pork Belly

JiJi is not a restaurant with an extensive menu, but what it does have, it does exceedingly well. Once seated, diners are given a slate-like menu and a special pen to make their selections.

Our servers would be glad to help customers who are unsure about ordering spicy dishes. We have several options available to cater to everyone’s preferences. As per our dining policy, every guest must select an appetizer, an entrée, and a side, which will be served family-style and can be shared among the group. Finally, guests can choose their dessert to complete the meal.

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Spring rolls

As mentioned, the menu is not extensive, with only seven appetizers and six entrees listed. But good luck deciding between them after reading the descriptions of each.

We were a bit indecisive about what to order during our recent visit to a restaurant. However, our friendly server was incredibly helpful in guiding us through the menu.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed some complimentary shrimp chips served with four different sauces, each with varying degrees of spiciness.

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Appetizer-wise, we went with the slow-braised pork belly coated with a caramel chili sauce that was more than big enough for two and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

For our second starter, we selected Najing-style duck – which is first slow-cooked and then flash-fried in a wok – served with mango cakes and a spicy green chili sauce.

For our main course, we opted for some classic dishes. The Kung Pao chicken and peppered beef were perfectly cooked and accompanied by sides of Himalayan basmati fried rice with baby shrimp (a chicken version was also offered) and Hakka-style rice noodles. Since the portions were generous and full, we decided to skip dessert.

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Kung Pao Chicken

There were three dessert options available, and we decided to try the rose crème brulee and the fried wontons in tapioca pearls and coconut milk.

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Fried wontons in tapioca pearls and coconut milk

The crème brulee was prepared perfectly and tasted classic. However, the fried wontons were a bit chewy and tough. Nevertheless, the liquid in which the wontons were floating was so delicious that we felt like drinking it in a glass.

carnival cruise Rose crème brulee
Rose crème brulee

Fortune cookies were served alongside mango and berry-flavored fruit rolls that acted as an excellent palate cleanser in the Asian restaurant.

Is JiJi Worth The Cost?

If you are asking that question now, it’s possible that you haven’t read our review thoroughly. However, considering that the cost is only $24 per guest ($6 for kids 11 and under), we believe JiJi Asian Kitchen is one of the finest Far East specialty restaurants we have encountered on a cruise ship.

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