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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

In the Kitchen with executive chef DJ Tangalin: Chinese five-spiced pork belly

In this episode, executive chef DJ Tangalin of JRDN, located in Tower23, showcases his surf & turf-inspired dish, Chinese five-spiced pork belly.

Tell us about this dish?

The dish was inspired by the restaurant's design and location. We've got the beautiful ocean front view, Baja shrimp, sitting on this gorgeous wood accent restaurant represented by the pork belly.

Why is this dish a good addition to the menu? It showcases a lot of different techniques and our love for deep, bold flavors. Plus, it's delicious.

Describe the taste to someone who hasn't had this dish?

It hits all part of your palette. from the sweetness of the shrimp, slow poached in butter; to the aromatic seasoning of the belly glazed in apple cider vinegar and molasses; to the pickling of the raisins and the smoothness of the purple cabbage puree. Lastly, you get a nice crunch from the crackers.

What contribution does the housemade old bay crackers add to the dish?

We are they type of restaurant that takes pride making everything from scratch. The crackers add texture to the dish and umami flavor.

How are they made?

By combining flour, egg, raw shrimp, and old bay seasoning. We make a dough and pass it through a pasta roller. After that we hand cut it and fry it like chips.

What's a good beer and/or cocktail to pair with this dish?

Something along the lines of a stout beer. We carry Modern Times Black house stout. A rye based cocktail would also be a good match. We have a cocktail called "The New Fashion",which is a spin on the Old Fashion.

Chinese five-spiced slow roasted pork belly

Price: $15

What kind of experience will a diner get at JRDN?

When you come eat at JRDN you know your going to get dishes that are well thought out from the seasonality of the ingredients to the flavor combination all the way to the artful plating of each dish. Service is top-notch and we make diners feel welcome by creating an experience that is worth returning to over and over again. We love it when we get new guests that come in because their friends or family recommended us. For me, that is the ultimate compliment.

About DJ Tangalin

Are you from San Diego?

Born and raised in the Philippines, lived in Hawaii then moved to New Jersey where I went to culinary school. I then traveled and worked in NYC, San Francisco, Healdsburg and finally ended up in SD about 3 years ago.

How long have you been working at JRDN?

Almost a year and a half. Started as a Sous Chef then got promoted to Executive Chef a year ago

Are you planning on adding more dishes to the menu?

Our menu changes as the season does, so expect something new as often as mother nature allows us to provide it.

What inspired you to become a chef?

Making people happy through food. Food brings friends and family together. JRDN, as a team, loves being part of people's journey in life -- from a couple's first date to their wedding, to baby showers all the way to birthdays and retirement parties.

What's your favorite dish to prepare?

My favorite right now is Sea urchin paired with caviar, lime sorbet, and pico de gallo. It really showcases San Diego's bounty and flavors. It's light, refreshing and it highlights local product.

When you're not coming up with delicious food items for JRDN, what do you enjoy doing on your spare time?

Spending time with my beautiful wife, Jazel, and my two years old daughter, Addyson Eve. We are also expecting a baby boy this June.


Tower23 Hotel, 723 Felspar St., Pacific Beach. (858) 270-2323 or

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