|3/F, C, Yitengyanghuatang, Wanda Plaza|
|028 8419 2703 |
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Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
Hot pot lovers looking for a change of pace should try green hot pot, like that offered at De Zhuang, a chain whose name usually gets translated to 'Morals Village'. We went to check out the branch at Wanda Plaza on the East 2nd Ring.
We ordered soup yuanyang style, part spicy and part mild, and then watched the server open bags of oil and hot pot seasonings to blend at the table. Higher-end hot pot restaurants who wish to demonstrate they don't follow the controversial practice of reusing soup between customers often do this. The green flavoring ingredients included pickled vegetables, green peppers, and raw Sichuan peppers with their ma numbing quality. The server was afraid we wouldn't be able to handle all of the seasoning, but we told her to dump it all in. The resulting soup still didn't pack much heat, however. We probably would ask for more of raw green peppers and more raw Sichuan pepper next time.
The menu at De Zhuang is well-illustrated though we still had to check off our order from an all-characters sheet. We ordered the shrimp balls, which cooked up more like processed fish cakes. They tasted OK, but from the price we expected fresh ground shrimp. We also asked for goose intestine (which tastes best in really spicy hot pot), lotus root, rice cake, mushrooms, tofu skin, and some more vegetables. The ingredients were all fresh and nicely presented. We particularly loved the tofu meatballs from our sampler meatball platter. The fish belly turned out to be mostly fatty pieces though. We were less impressed with the snacks we tried: the spring rolls and corn cakes.
They supply a very respectable seasonings bar with of spices, oils, condiments, and nuts for dipping, spreading, or sprinkling to your heart's content. Since they price stuff at a premium, plus charge 6RMB/head for the seasonings bar, the bill quickly rose to 60RMB/person.