Monday, September 27, 2010

Cantonese snacks in Xiaojiahe

Today I found my favourite breakfast spot, Yong He Fu Le at Fangcao Jie, closed for renos. Walking back through an alley in Xiaojiahe, I was surprised to see a little restaurant serving Cantonese rice rolls.

There were three main sections on the menu: rice rolls (肠粉), claypot rice (煲子饭), and congee (粥). I asked for an egg rice roll by pointing to the menu item on the board.

What came was not beautiful but really delicious. Crocks of hot sauce on the table helped. I would love to return and try their congee and claypot rice.


Address: 肖家河 西一巷 27 号

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rivoli Benny

My first taste of Rivoli was the 138 yuan evening buffet (includes wine, a bargain) but what caught my eye on the menu was in the breakfast section - eggs benedict for 32 yuan. Went back to check it out recently.

On the plate was a couple of pretty good breakfast sausages, two fried tomato slices with a fresh oregano garnish, and two crispy potato patties. There was no promised English muffin under the eggs (which were nicely poached, though a little cool by the time I got them) but plain white toast triangles.

The hollandaise was delicious, tangy and on the thin side...and bruleed with a blowtorch. I was upset at first to see the precious hollandaise scorched but decided to try it with an open mind. Under the torched part was a thin layer of separated sauce with a thin layer of real sauce underneath. I think torching would work better on thicker hollandaise. (Or, torch it and serve it, stat, rather than contemplating the plate for several minutes.)

My yardstick for coffee served locally has come down to: Better than Nescafe, or not? At Rivoli I first got a cup from the pot on the buffet, which tasted like it had been sitting there since the buffet opened (< Nescafe). I asked for fresher coffee and was served a cup freshly brewed but with very little character(probably an Americano with way, way too much water) and also unfortunately < Nescafe.

The servers were well trained and welcoming but did not have the polish one would expect from a five star place. I waited nearly half an hour for the order (about fifteen minutes for coffee), was interrupted several times about the bill and had to explain to a few different servers that I was not a hotel guest. At one point a cook strolled out of the kitchen, pulled a serviette off of my table, and used it to wipe my plate in the kitchen before it was brought out and served.

There is a fifteen percent service charge, so 32 for the plate and 35 for coffee totalled 77 kuai. I would go back in a heartbeat for the food and maybe drink tea with breakfast, or smuggle in some Nescafe. Unfortunately not smoke free.

Rivoli Restaurant, 2nd Floor Regal Master Hotel
人民南路 4段 48 号
028-8887 8888 xt 8033

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mao Cai at Dai Family Qionglai Noodles

Dai Family Qionglai noodles is also known for their mao cai. I went the other day. Breaking my rule of ordering mao cai only at places where you can choose your own vegetables. I ordered a vegetarian mao cai and specifically told them not to add blood.

The mao cai flavour was great, but had too much starchy stuff and not enough greens, reminding me why I like to pick out my own stuff. Next time I will get noodles.

Pumpkin congee and a kind of dry, spicy pao cai on the side:


Ren Nan 8 号

This restaurant is named for its address, #8 Ren Min Nan Lu. The name doesn't make the place any easier to find, since every building on that very long block seems to be #8. It's the same building as the provincial gymnasium, on the south side.The unusual decor is athletic themed but there are plenty of very nice spots to sit, both indoors and outdoors.

We asked about the specialties and were recommended the turtle and sea cucumber, neither of which really tempted us. We started with the celery appetizer (also recommended by the enthusiastic server). Not really a re-order. One intriguing thing on the menu was Sichuan pepper greens as a cold dish.

The thing is, Sichuan pepper comes from a plant with thorns. It tasted fine, with a mild numbing flavour, but care needs to be taken when eating something with the ability to bite back.

We had to try the fish appetizer. Small, split and fried and filled with healthy stuff, nine yuan each. We crunched them hole, including the heads. Delicious.

Tea tree mushrooms, in a pretty typical presentation, were very good.

Clay pot beef and radish. Very good.

We'd got complimentary bowls of fruit to start the meal. As a digestif, chilled test tubes full of bitter melon juice:

The menu has a few sweets on it, like egg tarts and durian pastry. I tried the strategy of ordering sweets after we ate the savoury dishes, since ordering dessert with your meal usually means it comes as the first dish or somewhere in the middle. However, they make their desserts to order and it would have been too long of a wait.

The staff were very sweet and took overwhelmingly good care of us, whisking plates away as soon as they were mostly empty and escorting us to and from the facilities when needed. Next time I would probably tell them to cool it a bit. The menu has pictures and English which is mostly understandable.

Ren Nan 8 Hao

人南 8 号
人民南路四段8号四川体育馆南厅 89598318