China: Numbingly Spicy Hot Pot

We had chosen ShuJiuXiang(蜀九香) for our last dinner in Chengdu. ShuJiuXiang is famous for its Sichuan Mala hot pot(麻辣火锅). Mala in Chinese literally means numb and spicy.

We arrived very early, so the restaurant was still empty.

Our table

Enlarge the menu if you read Chinese

At first, we were keen to try out the JiuGongGe(九宫格) style, where the pot was divided by 3x3 grid. It was invented so that everyone could cook their food at their own space. But some said it was used to cook different food as the cooking time needed was different.

But luckily we went for the normal twin broths, non-spicy and spicy. I will explain that in a short while.

marinated rib(九香排骨)

special duck intestine (极品鹅肠)

thousand-layered tripes(千层肚)

Meat balls(香菜丸子)

cow's throat(牛黄喉)

Tea Tree Mushroom(茶树菇)


Beer to go with the spicy hot pot

The food was fresh and the broth was spicy. It was not the normal spicy, it was numbingly spicy. Sichuan chili gave the broth a fiery burn while the Sichuan peppercorn gave an sensational numbing effect on the lip and tongue. For the second half, we only cooked the food in the non-spicy broth. Now you know the reason when I said we were lucky that we did not order the JiuGongGe. :)

Steamed and Fried Chinese Bread with condensed milk(金银馒头)
We made second our second order and you could see that all of them was not spicy food.

chive spring roll(韭菜春卷)

complimentary dessert was cherry tomato

Visit ShuJiuXiang for an unforgettable Sichuan Mala hot pot experience.

ShuJiuXiang Hot Pot Restaurant 蜀九香火锅酒楼(南府店)
53 Nanfu Street, Renmin South Road 4th Section, JinJiang

China: Best Sichuan Fushion Dishes

Soon, it was our last day in Chengdu. By the time we checked out our room and left our luggage at the lobby, it was too late for breakfast. We hopped into a taxi and went for brunch.

DaRongHe(大蓉和) was not only a name of a Chinese restaurant, it was a food business that owned an imposing building in this food street.

The street was none other than the famous Yipintianxia Commercial Food Street, JinNiu(金牛区一品天下美食商业街). Chengdu government had gathered all the good reputation restaurants in this street.

We were told that the restaurant would only open at 12 noon, but then we could have some Chinese tea at their tea room while waiting.

Everyone ordered Pu Er(普耳), recommended by the waitress. It was awesome, with natural and soothing aroma. But later we found out that it was the most expensive Chinese tea that we ever had, each cup was charged at RMB68. There were other cheaper tea options, but we did not pay attention to the price. Anyway, this was definitely the higher grade Pu Er.

We also ordered a bowl of noodles to share. The great bite and springy noodle offered good mouth feel. The environment in the tea house was so relaxing. It would be better if we could have more time to enjoy our expensive cup of Pu Er.

When it was 12, we moved to their Chinese restaurant at another floor. The beautiful and classy ambiance in the restaurant promised a comfortable and luxury dining experience.

table setting

The menu was in photobook style. All the dishes looked so inviting!
Steamed Bighead Carp Head with Chili and Red Pepper(开门红) at RMB58 was one of their signature dishes. If you were scared by the red chilies, scare not. This restaurant served tasty fusion Sichuan dishes which was less spicy.

The other signature dish was Bull Catfish Casserole(石锅三角峰), also priced at RMB58. The previous dish used a lot of red chilies and this dish used a lot of green chilies.

We were indecisive between the two fish dishes, red or green?

We went for green. It was a plate of sizzling green chilies when it was served. The whole plate was covered with green chilies.

The noodles had great springy texture. I actually suspected if they were the same noodles as the bowl we had at their tea room. But the photos told me that they were not the same. :)
The little fish was fresh and sweet, mild spicy with the nice aroma of green chili.

The bone dish(一把骨) was also a must. I left out the menu for this dish, but I remember it was priced at RMB10. The price was for one serving, and glad that we ordered one for each person. This dish was surprisingly good, the meat, tendon and bone marrow were so flavorful, creamy and gelatinous.

Next dish was Ronghe Jar(蓉和一品罐), priced at RMB68. The waitress did present the dish in jar, exactly like the left picture in the menu. She then poured it into the plate in front of us. I did not able to capture that as I was enjoying my piece of bone.

I could only said that this was a jar of goodness in great gravy. Thumbs up to the chefs in RongHe.

The last dish we had was Steamed Silver Pout Meatball(四喜银鳕鱼狮子头) at RMB68.

Luckily we were in a group of four, because the dish had only 4 meatballs. Just perfect!

It was not the normal pork meat balls, it was a mixture of codfish and pork. Nicely done. We almost wanted to order another plate.

It was definitely a great meal. The bill for four came to a total of RMB240, which was about RM30 per person. There was no way to find similar restaurant with such reasonable price in Malaysia. I would like to recommend this 5-star restaurant with 3-star price to everyone that travel to Chengdu. Give yourself a treat!

DaRongHe 大蓉和
Shuhan Road Yipintianxia Commercial Food Street Session B Block 1, JinNiu

china: stepped back in time

Who would expect an ancient tea house hiding in a modern shopping mall?

We were indeed confused when the address brought us to Parkson Mall(摩尔百盛) in Sha Wan(沙湾).

We took the escalator to third floor and found Shun Xing Lao Cha Guan(顺兴老茶馆). The classic entrance was a big constrast to the futuristic design of the mall.

The moment we stepped into the tea house, there was a breath of tradition and antiquity. The whole tea house was furnished beautifully to provide a great sense of old Chengdu.

The tea house was splitted into two areas, one for dining and another part for the performance. It was still early for the show, so we decided to try out their Chengdu snack set. There were 4 snack set to choose from, each set included more than 10 different Chengdu snacks in mini portion, priced at RMB58, RMB68, RMB88 and RMB128. It was good that one could sample many different chengdu snacks at a time. We ordered two set for sharing.

I had made an effort to label the first few snacks that I could recognise.

More snacks were served.

The waitress had filled our table with all the unique Chengdu snacks. It was an express way to learn and savour all Chengdu traditional snacks. It was fun!

After that, we proceed to the performance area, which I had called to book a table at row 4 that morning. First row @ RMB98, second row @ RMB88, third row @ RMB78 and the following @ RMB58. If you were willing to pay more, then you could take the front seat.

Our table for four.
It was exactly the same environment as in the tea house that was commonly found in Chinese historical drama. In the drama, the rich people would watch the show while sipping a cup of Chinese tea. It was cool and I like it!

My tea

Snack to mumble during the show

The performance started at 8pm sharp with a traditional dance.

It was followed by acrobatic performance.

turning a pot with her legs

turning a table with her legs

turning seat cushions with her legs

amazing tea art

drama performance

another traditional dance

Lively hand shadow performance

music instrument performance

Finally, it was the world famous face-changing performance.

face changed!

I was a bit disappointed as the face-changing was only 10 minutes out of the total 45 minutes performance. But the overall experience was a good one. And most important of all, it was cheaper compare to other places in Chengdu(I dare not say it was cheapest, but it was cheapest when I was making comparison).

Shun Xing Lao Cha Guan 顺兴老茶馆
258 Sha Wan Road, JinNiu(inside Parkson Mall)
Tel: 028-87693202(Pre-booking is required for the show)