|Tian Yuan Sha Guo
|10:30am - 11pm|
|102 West Sect. 1, 2nd Ring Rd.|
|028 8702 9078|
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Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
'Sha guo' describes both a container and a style of dish - a clay pot that is filled with food and then heated, usually on top of a flame, before being served. Sha guo is very popular on rainy or chilly days, since the clay pots hold heat very well.
Tian Yuan Sha Guo is on the second ring across from the west Ito Yokado. The white tables and chairs have a definite worn-in look but are comfortable, and the place is very well ventilated due to doors on two sides. On a recent Saturday the restaurant was full of regular folks having lunch with the family while a steady stream of takeout orders flowed towards the residences behind. There were a few single diners too; the clay pots are small enough that one can easily manag one or two dishes plus rice.
The spicy tofu skin (dou pi) clay pot was very spicy, numbing, and salty. The lettuce heart (wosun), which I ordered not spicy, came in a pork broth that was delicious til the last drop. One clay pot that everyone seemed to be ordering was eggplant and potato (qiezi tudou). They have a large selection of meats in clay pot such as chicken (ji rou), pork ribs (paigu), pork intestine (fei chang), and dog (gou rou). The menu goes beyond clay pot to include rice noodles (mixian) as well as typical Sichuanese homestyle dishes such as mapo tofu and yuxiang rousi.
Drinks include Budweiser (Baiwei), Qingdao, and Harbin beer as well as peanut milk (dou nai) and soda in cans. They also have four or five glass kegs of typical alcoholic tonics; it's the first time I've seen blank ant liquor without actual black ants floating around inside. The prices for vegetable clay pots hover around the ten yuan mark; meat clay pots and homestyle dishes are between ten and twenty.