Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Chongqing Cygnet

Foreign tourists visit Chengdu to see the Giant Panda Research Base although the city is famous to local tourists for its cuisine. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province and Sichuan food is known around the world to be spicy. Hotpot is also a popular food in China and I'm told the best is found in Sichuan. So during my recent visit I checked out a local restaurant to try out the spicy hotpot. Chongqing Cygnet Hotpot has been around since 1982. It is a local chain restaurant that was located in a shopping center near my hotel. 

From the menu, you choose the flavor of your broth and the assortment of meats and vegetables that you'd like. They also have a larger version of the menu that's mostly photographs. One of the difficult aspects about dining out in China is finding an English menu if you don't read Chinese. Most of the menu is Chinese, but they have adequate photographs of the menu items, so as a non-Chinese speaker I had no trouble selecting the items I wanted.  

I've had hotpot numerous times at this point and I am typically served a sesame paste as the sauce base. In addition, cilantro, pepper jelly, and vinegar are provided to adjust the seasoning to my liking. At Chongqing Cygnet they not only had the basics, but they had an entire sauce bar for me to choose from. I loved experimenting with the different flavors.  

Another aspect that I loved about Chongqing Cygnet is that each person has their own individual burner and pot in front of their seat. That way everyone can order their own broth as spicy as you want and no one has to worry about mixing meats with vegetables if dining with a vegetarian (or vise versa). I went with the three pepper spicy rating on the menu which was perfect for me. 

I ordered a platter with meats, mushrooms and green vegetables. Plus I added sliced potatoes, muer, and bean curd; three of my favorite foods in hotpot. Everything goes into the pot to cook, even the green leafy vegetables. Then you pull it out of the pot and dip it in the sauce to eat. I usually order a spicy broth and add way too much pepper to my sauce so my mouth is on fire by the end of my meal. It's quite delicious though! I ordered way too much food and there was enough left over for at least one whole meal. For every thing, including my drink, the meal was under $15 USD. I loved my experience at Chongqing Cygnet and I will definitely go back again. As a chain, they have locations in other cities throughout China. I look forward to eating a lot more hotpot during my stay.    

What do you think about spicy food?      

No comments:

Post a Comment