December 4, 2019

Days of numbing tongue: hot pot experience

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I'm in Chengdu for a couple of days for a work trip, and I'm getting to see the city for the first time.  While it's interesting for me to experience some authentic Chengdu-style Sichuan cuisine, I am a little bummed that I won't get the chance to hit a couple of restaurants that come highly recommended by foodie friends.

To show us - more specifically, me - some local sights, we went to a branch of Da Miao Hot Pot (大妙 火锅) located inside the historic and touristy area of Jinli (锦里).  I guess hot pot is a must when one is in Chengdu...

Knowing a few of us can't handle the heat, we did the traditional double-flavored pot (鸳鸯锅). I mostly stuck to the non-spicy soup base, although I did enjoy dipping some of the ingredients into the mala (麻辣) side.

It's all about the dipping sauce... and I made my own mix with the garlic, the oil, spring onions...etc.  Apparently, Chengdu locals also add some oyster sauce to the dip... while that's just not done in Chongqing.

Of course we ordered up lots of goodies - which included exotic items like goose intestines, duck blood, tripe, calves' liver...  There was also this Sichuan-style battered and deep-fried pork belly (川味酥肉) which was just fantastic.

We were pretty restrained when it came to drinking tonight...

30-year Kweichow Moutai (贵州茅台30年陈酿) - definitely the smoothest baijiu I have ever had, and I could almost say that I liked it.

But I have an issue with the "30-year" designation.  When Scotch makers label their products "12-year old", it means that the minimum age of components that go into the blend is at least 12-years old.  Not so with Moutai or other baijiu.  These bottlings are largely composed of younger liquor, with a small amount of aged liquor blended in.  This is apparently standard practice, although rather misleading in my view... especially given the price.

2000 Lagrange - kinda bland, but that could be a result of my very dulled taste buds.

Tsingdao Original 13° (青島啤酒原漿) - still one of my favorite beers.  So light and sweet.

I strolled around Jinli after dinner and came across a stall selling what is labelled as silk cake (万絲餅).  These looked like long strands similar to kadaif, and definitely very crunchy.  We shared two of them among us, one flavored with ham and the other with mala seasonings.

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