Friday, August 7, 2009

小肥羊 Xiao Fei Yang (Little Lamb) Hot Pot

I'm grateful for the quantity, variety, and quality of restaurants around my office here in Shenyang, China. I try to cook on the weekends so I don't have to eat out constantly, but it seems less expensive to eat out than at home! I worked out a schedule of eating out for lunch and eating in for dinner.
It's hot and humid here, so the only way I can explain going to a hot pot restaurant at high noon is that the humidity might have seeped into my brain and temporarily damaged common sense. That or maybe I heard good reviews about the place and it looks clean on the outside. The waitress informed me that Little Lamb is a chain and even has restaurants in Canada and California!

Little Lamb Hot Pot

My main quibble about the food in Shenyang is the lack of green and leafy vegetables. Leeks and potatoes are the main market finds here. Thus, unlike in the states, the first thing I scope out on menus is the vegetable page.
I eagerly ordered a plate of spinach and mushrooms and then ordered the lamb and beef and a plate of squid.

You can pick from a choice of 3 broths, in which to cook your ingredients. None of the broths were simple chicken broth like in Taiwan. They were all heavy with spices. I picked the lighter of the three, which contains 60 different spices!

60 spices broth; lamb & beef slices, mushrooms, spinach, and squid

Hot pot is a simple eating ritual. You wait for the pot to boil, then add the uncooked ingredients as you eat. You don't want to dump everything in all at once because the meat would get tough by the end of the meal. But since this place did not have air conditioning in the middle of summer, I dumped everything in at once to prevent the meat from spoiling.

stuff cooking in the pot
Being completely green in China, I asked the waitress to give me soy sauce. In Taiwan, you always eat hot pot with soy sauce, vinegar, sa cha paste, raw egg yolk, and a plethora of other condiments of your choosing. The waitress gave me a funny look but obliged. When I took my first taste of lamb, I realized that you're supposed to eat this kind of hot pot without condiments! With 60 spices, why would I need to add more? Duh!
The experience was fun and the food was tasty. I will definitely come back with my foodie buddy for lunch!

1 comment:

  1. There is a Xiao Feiyang rest in here, Jakarta, Indonesia. They offer only 2 types of broth , spicy and non-spicy , but both are full of herbs.
    For condiments they have this a brown sauce mixture of sesame + peanut in which you can add chopped garlic and cilantro plus sesame oil. They also offer regular chilli oil , soysauce and black vinegar. I think that waitress is from another planet!