Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Night of Shuan Yang Rou

I thought we caught the perfect weather for a hotpot dinner at Dong Lai Shun a few weeks ago when the temperature dropped momentarily to mid-teens. Despite the restaurant - located in the basement of Royal Garden Hotel in TST East – is most famous for its Northern Chinese-style hotpot, I have never tried it until this time.

Guess one of the reasons I didn’t come here often enough was I am never a fan of mutton, and mutton is the must-order item for Northern Chinese-style hotpot, often known as Shuan Yang Rou 涮羊肉 (which literally means mutton hotpot). Not wanting to miss the signature dish here, I did give a go of the paper-thin mutton rolls, and I must say it’s better than I thought, with rich meat flavor but without the gaminess that I didn’t fancy.

With a big group of people we also got to try a few different soup bases. The Szechuan Pepper soup has much heat as one would expect with good fragrance from all the herbs that went in, and the chicken and coconut soup was just on the other end of the spectrum in terms of spiciness but equally delicious. However, my favorite one was the hot and sour soup with Chinese chives and bamboo shoot. What looked like an ordinary pot of chicken broth turned out to be punchy in taste with the presence of plentiful chilies and chopped chives, and it worked perfectly well with the many seafood dishes we had.

We also had a good variety of dishes that went into our hotpot, from fresh meat to seafood to meatballs and vegetables. The thick slices of river eel had excellent bouncy texture and went well with both the hot and sour soup or the Szechuan pepper soup. Other than the mutton, we also had great beef as well taken from the shoulder cut, which has a good bite and meaty taste. We also ordered a couple of meatballs, and of course, being biased against mutton, I would say I very much prefer the beef meatballs, mixed with coriander and water chestnuts for added fragrance and texture.

Vegetables were served in a fancy manner too – like the turnips (plain or one pickled to give a redish color) showed up like a flower, or kale in handmade dumplings, or other vegetables carefully laid out in a bamboo basket. All were outstanding in addition to the beautiful presentations. Sauces were not the main attraction unlike the Cantonese-style hotpot, but here we were given a good choice of condiments including some infused oils which I love (especially one infused with scallions). At the end, we finished with a couple desserts – the jelly noodles with Osmanthus and goji berry syrup was perfect to counter some of the heat from the spicy soup bases and the pineapple puffs – in the shape of mini pineapples – were cute and delicious.

(Dinner was by invitation and organized by the PR team of Royal Garden Hotel)

When? December 10 2018
Where? Dong Lai Shun, Level B2, Royal Garden Hotel, 69 Mody Road, TST East, Kowloon
Menu Highlights? Hotpot with Mutton 

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