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Yulin Shan Zhen
9:30am - 11pm
South Gate of Sports Stadium, East Yulin Rd.
028 8555 7879

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Mark Hiew (more chengdu)
Last month we introduced you to lamb soup hotpot, one of numerous varieties of hotpot that don’t include all that Sichuanese pepper so often associated with the capital of Spice land. In fact, hotpot, a Chongqing export, only became popular in Chengdu in the 1980s (at least, according to one wise, old taxi driver). At Yulin Shan Zhen, located on East Yulin Road, not far from South Renmin Road, and just behind the sports stadium, you’ll find some of the best mushroom hotpot in a convivial, neighborhood setting.

In contrast to the vegetable and fish stock-enhanced broth of other restaurants, the broth at this mid-sized establishment is one hundred percent mushroom, and all the more nutritious, flavorful, and satisfying for it. Mixed with the home-made fermented bean sauce, a combination of broad and soy beans, we found it hard to stop drinking the soup long after the meal was finished. The menu itself carries dozens of mushrooms for cooking (8-50RMB)—think of the experience as mushrooms squared—on its full-picture menu: try the “chicken leg” – jitui variety (no chicken involved), which remained impressively firm despite long periods of boiling. The jinzhen and houtou were also very good.

Besides mushrooms and the standard vegetable options, the American fatty beef – meiguo fei niu was fresh and absorbed the broth’s flavors rather well. The pseudo vegetarian spring rolls (they contained sneaky bits of spam) and fried pumpkin cakes – nangua bing were both very good. The “snow” tea was unusually good as well, featuring a sea plant fungus in each glass that somewhat resembled the Spanish Moss found in the southeastern US. Regular fried dishes are available as well.

Sadly, you can’t spend all of winter hiding down in southeast Asia, and it’s for this very reason that hotpot variations such as mushroom and lamb are so critical. Expect to pay between 25-45RMB/person.

Yulin Shan Zhen
Yulin Shan Zhen Yulin Shan Zhen