Szechuan Hot Pot?
- Andrew West
Does anyone know of a restaurant in Manhattan that
serves a good Szechuan style hot pot. For this
dish, usually served for multiple people, the
restaurant gives one a big bowl of boiling very spicy
broth,kept boiling on the table,
and a lot of thinly sliced meat, seafood, vegatables,
and you cook the food by dropping it into the
soup, then you take it out and eat it.
My wife is from Szechuan, and it's a very popular
dish where she comes from, but it's not as common
here because Americans aren't used to it.
Try "Wu Liang Yi" over the Murray Area. There are three
Wu Liang Yis in Manhattan but this one specializes in
Szechuan Hot Pots.
BTW Wu Liang Ti is the company that makes the potent
alcohol under the same name (literally Five Grain
Alcohol) from Szechuan and these are the company's
first outposts in the U.S. Your wife should definitly
have heard of this name.
Thanks for the tip, we'll probably try Wu Liang Ye
later. We stumbled across the Wu Liang
Ye on 48th St. on the way to China Moon on 47th
st. We had Szechuan hot pot at China Moon,
and my wife considered it good but not great.
The basic hot pot costs $25, and includes napa
cabbage, rice noodles, spinach, tofu, fish balls,and
thinly sliced lamb. We ordered additional items -
large mushrooms,tripe, boneless duck feet at an
additional charge of from 5 to 8 dollars each.
For 2 people, the basic would have been enough, so
we couldn't finish everything. The duck feet
didn't taste that great, not super-fresh.
The broth was very spicy, and as the water in the
pot boiled, it grew more condensed and spicier.
Three dipping sauces were provided - sauteed garlic
in sesame oil, a fishy-sa-cha sauce, and what I
think was salty soybean sauce (looked like hoisin,
but had no sweetness). Garlic in oil is the authentic
By the end of the meal, I was sweating, and my
face was turning reddish. I thought it was pretty
good. The menu was broad, but I am suspicious about
the quality of the other dishes, because we never
saw a dish pass that looked too authentic. Sadly
most Chinese restaurants would go out of business if
they really served authentic cuisine.
By the way, the hot pot menu was entirely in
chinese, and isn't mentioned at all on the standard
menu. So if one doesn't read chinese, I guess you'd
have to ask the waiter to describe the options to you.
I let my wife make all the decisions.
Give it a try for an authentic Chinese experience,
4 people is the optimal number for hot-pot. Remember
to not eat anything with your chopsticks right after
touching raw food - make sure to dip the sticks in
the boiling broth the clean them.