Sunday, October 25, 2009

Huang Cheng Lao Ma Hot Pot

I'd often walked by the architecturally interesting building on the south side of the second ring near the Zijing cinema complex without any clue that this was a branch of the high end hot pot chain Huang Cheng Lao Ma, probably the best known hot pot in Chengdu.

A friend and I went to check it out this evening. You can choose self serve, at Y110 per person, or to order from the menu (our choice). I was very pleased that we could order the hot pot stir-ins in both large and small portions. Goose intestine, served in a bowl of ice water, and lamb:

Shrimp balls, like shrimp dumplings with no wrapper. Really liked these in both the mild and spicy soup.

For soup we ordered basic yuanyang style (half spicy, half mild). This was some of the best mild soup I've ever eaten, milky white with a good rich pork flavour. The serving plate lettuce and green vegetables were cooked in the white soup and eaten with great satisfaction. The spicy side was pretty ordinary, though it got spicier very quickly. (It's normal for hot pot soup to get more and more spicy as you eat, but the effect was very intense here.) However, the potato starch noodles at the end were amazing good, cooked in the spicy soup and dipped in a garlic and sesame.

The servers were efficient, attentive, and completely unobtrusive as they poured tea, picked up used serviettes, cleared dishes, and kept the hot pot temperature at the perfect bubble.

For a first visit, I was pretty impressed but it was still about double the price of comparable tasting hot pot elsewhere. They also have many special options on the menu, like French goose liver and special mushrooms, which can quickly inflate the check. Even though there were many large groups, the room was about half full and lacked the friendly chaotic buzz that hangs around a more typical hot pot evening in Chengdu.

Name: 皇城老妈
Address: 二环路南三段 20 号

1 comment:

  1. It's great you decided to give Huang Cheng Lao Ma a try! It's my all-time favorite restaurant in China and while it does lack the hustle and bustle of most hot pot joints, the taste is incomparable.


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