Susan Johnson (more chengdu)|
This street is one of the best in Xiaojiahe for local food – there is barbecue, rice and bean soup, soft tofu, a branch of 'Ce Suo' Toilet chuan chuan, Grandma Jin's hand-pulled noodles, and Jiang You Pork Intestine. So any shop selling local food in this neighbourhood had better be able to hold their own to stay open, and this mao cai restaurant did not disappoint.
Like many mao cai places, selections are self-serve and charged by weight. Vegetarian selections, which non-intuitively include blood cubes, are 12RMB per jin and meatatarian options are 36RMB per jin. So a person could come in and eat for less than 10RMB if you fill up your bowl judicioulsy with vegetarian options -- or the bill can climb fast to over 30RMB per-person if one piles meat options into the bowl. We love vegetables and tofu cooked mao cai style, but a few of the meat options - like shrimp dumplings, chicken gizzard, and spicy sausage - were tempting too.
The order is toted-up and passed to the cook who dumps everything into a basket in a huge pot where it is cooked until done. Then each order is served in a ceramic bowl, garnished with oil, sesame seeds, celery, and black beans. Rice is served on the side. They offer one free cup of soymilk per guest, but beer and soft drinks and dou nai (peanut milk) are also available. They have a big sign promising that they use fresh oil, and other miscellaneous signage apropos of food-quality and patriotic resolutions, as well as a note that people can invest for a mere 2.