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Hotpot in Beijing

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Hotpot in Beijing

FourSeasons | Jan 9, 2008 08:42 PM

This is winter time. Just wonder why nobody recommend a hotpot experience in Beijing during this period. Many Asians, from Japan all the way down to Singapore, love hotpot, especially when the weather gets chilly. Hotpot is loved by all Chinese, with varieties from different provinces. I know this thread is dominated by western expatriates and tourists but maybe someone can explain why hotpot is not popular here and all the other Asian sites.

Anyway, I will recommend three that I have visited in Beijing. Just warning first: all three are not frequented by expatriates or tourists but very popular by the locals. The first one is Huang Cheng Lao Ma 皇城老妈 that specialize on Sichuan style hotpot. The one I visited is opposite China World Hotel and not far from Ascott Service Apartment. I notice many have recommended Southern Beauty and Baguo buyi for Sichuan cuisine, but Sichuan is actually even more well known for its "ma la hotpot" 麻辣火鍋, "ma la" literally means "numb and spicy". To many Chinese, Sichuan cuisine is frequently associated with "ma la", the feeling of numb and spicy on your mouth after tasting it. The unique feeling of numb set Sichuan cuisine apart from other spicy food. The soup base of the hotpot comes with chilli paste, peppercorn and others, and the waiter will frequently asked if you want "medium" or "extra" spiciness in the soup. Many foreigners, and even many Chinese not from Sichuan, are not used to this taste. So quite often, you can request 2 different varieties of soup on the hotpot: one is "ma la" and the other non spicy one. But for those who do not like spicy food, please avoid this one.

The next one is Dong Lai Shun 东来顺 that was started more than 100 years ago. The one I visited is in a shopping mall by Wan Fu Jin Street. Dong Lai Shun specializes on lamp hotpot 涮羊肉. While its specialty is on mutton, you can get other variety of meats and vegetable as well. This cuisine is supposedly started by the Mongolians and introduced to China centuries ago and is popular in Beijing and Northeast regions. The last one is Xiao Fei Yang小肥羊, which is a very popular national chain (originated from Inner Mongolia if I recalled correctly) available in most major cities in China. It is to hotpot like McDonald to humburger.

I welcome other recommendation of hotpot places.

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