Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot – Chengdu, Sichuan, China

Shu Jiu Xiang was both the quintessential Sichuan hotpot experience and probably the best hotpot I’ve had in years.  I have a vague sense that I’d come here during my first trip to Chengdu in 2008, although I do not have any photos or Facebook check-ins to verify this.  Only that the decor was oddly familiar.  Okay, moving on from this bizarre episode of déjà vu.

We sat down around 10pm, after a relaxing massage session at a nearby Congen Massage, and proceeded to order a host of things to douse in boiling chili oil.  We only requested medium spicy, which in retrospect was overly cautious, but when the medium spicy arrived, we were still nervous:

House of Haos Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot Chengdu Sichuan China Spicy HotpotIs this not cause for skepticism?House of Haos Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot Chengdu Sichuan China Spicy Hotpot 2The go-to Sichuan hotpot dipping sauce is a simple bowl of sesame oil, minced garlic, and salt.House of Haos Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot Chengdu Sichuan China Sesame Oil Dipping SauceThe house special is this marinated beef (don’t ask me what cut) in a neon chili sauce, which I’m not so sure about the value add since cooking the beef in the spicy broth kind of does the same trick, but it is visually catchy.House of Haos Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot Chengdu Sichuan China Nine Fragrance BeefThe below three were my favorites: marinated pork spare ribs, meatballs with cilantro, and shrimp dumplings.  Each of them had some weight, as well as complex inherent flavor that the chili oil and the heat of the boiling hotpot enhanced.  The freshly-made meatballs and the shrimp dumplings were both fatty and sweet.  The ribs were generously meaty, a nice touch in a hotpot world full of shoddy cuts and skimpy portions.House of Haos Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot Chengdu Sichuan China Meatballs Shrimp Dumplings Marinted Spareribs House of Haos Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot Chengdu Sichuan China Meatballs House of Haos Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot Chengdu Sichuan China Marinated Pork Spareribs The rest of the ingredients we got were fairly standard fare, nothing remarkable but good quality nonetheless.  In particular, I liked the frozen rice cakes, which are phenomenal as absorptive vehicles of both spice and flavor while having enough texture and heft to stand on their own.House of Haos Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot Chengdu Sichuan China Beef SlicesHouse of Haos Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot Chengdu Sichuan China MushroomsAnd I could eat tofu ribbon all day, so, there’s that.House of Haos Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot Chengdu Sichuan China Tofu RibbonsHey, look!  We found a whole fish, just chillin’ in the non-spicy middle part of the hotpot.House of Haos Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot Chengdu Sichuan China FishAnd of course, the aftermath:

House of Haos Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot Chengdu Sichuan China Aftermath

Shu Jiu Xiang Hotpot / 蜀九香火锅酒楼
53 Nanfu Street, 2nd Section of Renmin South Road / 人民南路二段南府街53号(近盐道街)
(Dianping)

 

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