Article By James Morrow
Hualuxe Xi’an Tanghua Hotel, No.40, Yanyin Road, Qu Jiang New District.
(029) 8799 0000-8922
11:00am – 2:00pm
6:00pm – 9:30pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 200~300RMB
L ocated just a short walk from Dayanta, the Hualuxe hotel is a large, expansive hotel, part of the hotel chain of the same name. Located on the second-floor of the hotel from the lobby, the dining area for this restaurant has many segmented areas for sitting, including several private dining rooms located just adjacent to the main floor. The whole restaurant is decorated in a modern look, with accents that reflect traditional Chinese culture.
After being seated in a private booth, we were immediately presented with a small selection of snacks to try while waiting for the first round of cold dishes to arrive. They consisted of peanuts, dried beef, and pickles. A nice warm-up for the meal ahead. The first course to arrive was a kind of artistic dessert. A gelatin koi fish sitting on a ‘pond’ of passionfruit custard. Nearby, a sprig of mint surrounded by passionfruit seed ‘eggs’. The dessert was cool and sweet, with the signature tartness of passionfruit.
Next the cold dishes began to arrive. First was a plate of sweet honey chashao pork. It was tender and sweet, with a balance of fat and lean throughout the cut, though it was missing some of the signature crispy bits of traditional chashao. Next was a towering dish of crisp melon squash, topped with three succulent shrimp trimmed to stand on end. The whole tower was soaked in a vinegary sauce that complemented both the shrimp and the grassiness of the squash.
Following the cold dishes, two bowls of soup arrive. Each bowl was in fact a coconut, each branded with the company logo and name and filled about halfway up with a succulent mushroom soup. The soup itself did not initially taste much of coconut, but as the hot soup had time to sit in the coconut, it gradually picked up more and more flavor. The mushroom selection inside was varied, and there were many mushrooms that are purported to have great health benefits.
After our soups were finished, the hot dishes began to arrive. The first of the hot dishes was called Kung Pao Shrimp; a ring of extra large shrimp, breaded and deep-fried, coated in a sweet sauce with a few cashews tossed in. It tasted more of Sweet and Sour sauce than Kung Pao sauce, though this was no detraction from how delicious it was. There was also a cast iron bowl full of tender chicken thigh meat and diced abalone with plenty of whole garlic cloves, shallots, and ginger. Following that there was a dish of lightly steamed and deboned fish (a first in China) that was lightly seasoned with soy sauce and aromatics.
Next up was an interesting little dish that came as the ‘main food’. It consisted of a small yellow pumpkin, steamed and carefully hollowed out and filled with a delicious fried rice containing Cantonese-style sausage. It was well-balanced in seasoning, and just enough to fill the remaining space in out stomachs. And then came dessert.
Dessert was thankfully a fairly light affair, consisting of a selection of fresh fruits, a small Chinese style cold confection, and a thin passionfruit cream. It was light and sweet and just what was required to finish the meal.
Overall, this is an interesting place to try if you want to taste some upscale Chinese food. There are certainly elements of art to the dishes, and everything was exceptionally well-seasoned and balanced. Note that there is a relatively higher price tag associated with this dedication to detail, and the recommended price per person sits at about 330RMB per person, so save this for a special occasion when you are looking to impress.
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