Hong Hot Pot & LOUNGE 虹串串

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Article By Mike Leaner

1F Southeast Corner of Qun Xian Road, South 2rd Ring Road.
南二环西段群贤路北口东南角1F
(029) 8411 9944
5:00pm – 4:00am

Average Price per Person /人均消费: 80RMB

PROS: Good, fresh food; Lots of alcohol
CONS: Ease of access will be lower for people who can’t speak Chinese


 

I’m sure you’ve seen them throughout the summer, the legions of locals hanging out on the sidewalks with a boiling cauldron of soup and a platoon of skewers dipped into it. This, my friends, is huo guo chuan chuan (火锅串串), something like a marriage between the stick-grabbing gorge-fest that is local barbecue and the fondue-ish experience of hot pot. If you’ve never tried it before, maybe because you don’t trust street food or something, you should. Hong Hot Pot might be the place to do it.

Hong is on the South Second Ring road, on the south end of Fengqing Park in northern Gaoxin. The most immediate evidence that this is a new approach to an old local favorite is the way this place is decorated—it’s very modern, with a bold black bar to sit at as soon as you walk in and plenty of spacious, comfortable booths if you’re with a larger group. The whole thing looks rather clean, and the refrigerators are still pumping even though the temperature is dropping, so it would appear that food safety is important to these guys.

The service order will be familiar to people who eat a lot of maocai, but with a twist—you’ll be cooking the foods you pick yourself, just like with hot pot. Grab yourself some skewers of tofu, meat, vegetables or whatever and then get ready to eat. Everything seemed very fresh even though I came in for something of a late meal and there were a couple of surprises, like some very tasty beef that had been wrapped around spring onions.

The manager took pity at my solo dining and decided to join me and show my ignorant laowai ass how properly to cook my meal. Start with meat, do some tofu after and leave it longer (because it’ll taste better and better) and finish with the vegetables. This also isn’t really a 9º kind of place, so we split a bottle of red wine. Their bar looks well-stocked, with whiskeys, soft drinks and more available for your drinking pleasure. After I’d exhausted my skewers, he brought out a mountain of premium sliced beef and some more adventurous foods, like stomach and brains, for us to try, turning the experience into more of a straight-up hot pot kind of thing.

I left with a nice wine buzz and a stomach filled to bursting. Hong Hot Pot provides a new twist on a local pastime, one that’s delicious and inviting, and one I’ll likely be returning for sometime soon.

Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at reviews@xianease.com

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