Shenyang's Manchurian hot pots
By Niang Chen
Translated by Alicia Yu
258-3, MeiDe St, North Dist. (ShangDe St intersection); 0917-392-509
Hours: 11:30 am-2:30 pm,
No service charge.
Out of great love for her daughter--who moved to Taiwan after getting married but missed the authentic Manchurian hot pots of her hometown--professional chef Li Li-Ying also decided to travel to this island from thousands of kilometers away to cook for her. This extreme example of motherly love has also benefited Taiwanese gourmands as they have the chance to savor Shenyang's Manchurian-style hot pots.
The first taste of this specialty is marvelous and guests are usually soon addicted, adding to the growing popularity of this restaurant. Spicy hot peppers, Sichuan peppers, chili and other peppers, plus onions, coriander, garlic cubes, sesame, chili oil and white vinegar create a golden sauce with a mildly-sour flavor and somewhat pungent fragrance. After adding this sauce to side dishes like "Saliva Chicken" (steamed chicken with chili sauce), Chinese Beef Tripe, and Beef and Squid, you will feel an aromatic, numbing, sour flavor that becomes sweet, as the chili oil spreads inside your mouth for an unforgettable sensation.
The signature Manchurian Hot Pot uses naturally fermented Napa cabbages and Chinese herbs. Boiled in the smooth, slightly-sour broth, the thick pork belly becomes tender and mellow--an authentic northern Chinese flavor.
While a side dish and a plate of handmade dumplings are a top, cheaply-priced workers' option, the double-flavored Yuanyang Pot and various meat dishes complement the self-made "Lapi" (also labeled "Liangfen", a Chinese starch jelly dish usually served cold with a savory sauce) and cold dishes create a perfect family banquet. All these dishes represent the northeastern Chinese passion and flavors of Little Shenyang.
Note: To avoid longer waits, reservations are recommended.
Right: Jelly-like Crystal Aspic (NT$150) is rich in
colloids and purely made of pig skin and pork.
Right: Spicy Hot Saliva Chicken (NT$80) uses fresh, sweet chicken
soaked in a spicy sauce. The spicy-sour fragrance is addictive and
the female owner notes that the sauce is the very soul of this dish.
Unfinished sauce can be taken home and enjoyed with noodles.
Left: Marbled Beef Slices (NT$280), Lamb Slices
(NT$260), Pork Collar Butt Slices (NT$240),
Pork Belly Slices (NT$220) all are exquisite
pairings with the wonderful broth. The pork belly
slices are first broiled with fresh water, simmered
with Chinese herbs for 1-2 hours, then cooled and sliced. Swirl the
slices in the Manchurian hot pot, use chopsticks to pick up the shredded
Napa cabbage inside the pot, and dip it all in the Manchurian hot pot
sauce, made of sesame, Chinese chives and fermented bean curd. This
is the flavor that the owner's daughter was homesick for.
Right: Cold "Lapi" Platter (NT$80)
This hand-pulled, translucent"Liangfen", mixed with a fragrant,
pure sesame sauce and fresh,
crispy shredded cucumbers, is
aromatic, chewy, refreshing and
Left: The double-flavored Yuanyang
Pot (NT$700, served with pork
belly, spicy hot tofu, duck blood)
uses an antique, bronze cooking
pot over a coal fire. The
Manchurian and Spicy hot
pots are both NT$380.
Right: Cold Squid Platter (NT$150),
Cold Beef Platter (NT$150)