Article By James Morrow
Subway Line 4, D Exit, Da Tang Fu Rong Yuan.
(029) 8120 5959
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 98RMB
Summer is a season that often reminds me of meat. Whether barbequed over open flame or served up on a big platter, summer always feels like the right season for skipping the carbs and going straight for the good stuff. There are many cuisines in China’s north and northwest regions that are famous for their high quality and quantity of meats, not the least of which is the food of Gansu. However, if most people were asked to name some dishes from that province, most would not be able to think any further than beef noodles.
That’s a real shame, because the rolling grasslands of Gansu province lend themselves to the creation of some of the highest quality meat products in China, especially when it comes to beef and lamb. Dong Fang Gong, a chain restaurant from Lanzhou in Gansu province, is a restaurant that showcases some of the highest quality meats from the province.
One of the first things that we were told when we talked to the owners of this restaurant was the method of raising the animals that we would be eating that day. No factory farming in sight, the cows and sheep are allowed to graze freely throughout the summer months. The cows are GPS chipped and allowed to mostly roam while the sheep are grazed on an 800mu (2,072 km2) ranch in Gansu province. During other months they are feed sweet grass, meaning that the resulting meat is of the highest quality, lacking the heavy game flavor of less-high quality meats. The meats are also 100% organic, produced without the use of anti-biotics. The results are clear when you eating the meal, this is some of the best quality lamb and beef that you can get in Xi’an.
The meal started with a variety of cold dishes, including fresh 香椿 and other popular cold dishes. The first round of lamb arrived in the form of 手抓羊肉, lamb that had been boiled until perfectly tender and falling off the bone. There was an assortment of dry and wet sauces, each just spicy enough to compliment the lamb. The plate disappeared quickly, soon to be replaced by the next lamb dish, barbequed lamb ribs. Like the previous offering, this lamb was also very tender, with a crispy skin exterior from the high-temperature of the barbeque. Back to back, it was hard to choose which of these lamb offerings was more appetizing, so my only suggestion would be to get both.
Following these, they brought a large pot with a white broth to the table. The heating element was hidden in the table, so after setting the pot down and flipping a hidden switch, the pot began to boil. We could see lamb bones, lemon, dates and other seasonings begin to percolate and swirl in the pot. Large decorative piles of thinly-sliced lamb and beef were brought out, along with a selection of your typical hot pot vegetables and the next phase of the meal began. We were able to select from three dipping sauces – garlic, sesame seed paste, or sweet chili. Opting for the sweet chili myself, what I received was a blend of roasted chili powders and chili oil, with just a slight sweetness. It paired exceptionally well with the boiled bits of lamb and beef.
We finished off the meal with a Lanzhou specialty, a frozen snow pear. The outside of the pear had gone brown from the freezing process, but the inside was the perfect texture for scooping out with a spoon. It was a refreshing end to a meal and will be exceedingly welcome in the coming summer months.
The restaurant is divided into two parts, with the interior having both a public dining area as well as numerous private dining rooms. The third floor of the restaurant is a ‘Barbeque Garden’, an outdoor seating area that looks over DatangFuRongYuan. I was told that they will be serving mostly barbeque and beer on this deck, something to check out while the evening weather is good.
Despite the very high quality of the food products, the prices are not terribly high. With a discount on the Dianping App, you can get a two-person hotpot meal for just 159RMB, or a two-person barbeque and noodle meal for just 99RMB. These deals may not last long, but even so, the regular price isn’t going to break the bank.
If you’re a fan of lamb and beef, or you just care about where your meat comes from, this restaurant is a place worth checking out. You can get to the restaurant by going to the DaTangFuRongYuan subway stop and exiting through Exit D, then going down the stairs on the park side of the exit. The barbeque garden can be directly accessed from the sidewalk just south of exit D. Enjoy!
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