Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
We don't always feel good about ourselves the morning after indulging in spicy, oily, hot pot. Tang guo, on the other hand, is eaten almost exactly in the same manner as hot pot but the soup and ingredients are seen as nourishing and beneficial to the body. Whatever the health benefits may be, we often find ourselves eating tang guo when we are feeling under the weather or when introducing spice-averse people to local food. When ordering tang guo, the soup is chosen with an ingredient or two already added, so the basic soup order is higher than the average hot pot restaurant. The rest of the ordering and eating is as per hot pot – with ingredients chosen off of a check-off menu.
We recently tried San Sheng Xiang, a tang guo restaurant across from the provincial museum. After the efficient server seated us, we chose the mushroom and rib hot pot. The server suggested a small size pot of soup for the four of us. We were trying to avoid anything offal, but the soup came with stomach pieces in it. The stomach pieces were so chewy and good even the less adventurous palates at the table enjoyed them. Among other things we ordered were fried pork pieces (酥肉), cabbage (白菜), quail eggs (鹌鹑蛋), tofu 'skin' (豆腐皮), and potato slices (土豆片). The soup was white, non-spicy, but was rich and flavourful, taking on more character as the ingredients cooked in it. The condiments included spicy red pepper, pickled zha cai, chopped onion, and celery. We noticed a neighbouring table eating a plate of purple, football-shaped snacks, and had to order them out of curiosity. They were made of purple sweet potato and were...interesting. The taro spring rolls would have been better. Expect to pay around 40RMB per person.