Restaurant review: Chongqing Liuyishou Hotpot, Causeway Bay – not for the squeamish
Strong flavours abound, with ingredients including pig brains, blood, tripe and testicles, which all go well with spicy Chongqing soup base and pork bone broth. Also on the menu are delicate dumplings and soybean rolls
Don’t read this if you’re squeamish.
Chongqing Liuyishou Hotpot – which originates in Chongqing and has more than 500 branches worldwide, specialises in Sichuan-style hotpot. As with many other hotpot restaurants, they serve a great variety of ingredients, including many different “parts” – brains, heart, testicles, kidneys, blood and intestines – that some might find challenging.
Fortunately, that was not the case for the group I was with.
Many of these ingredients have strong flavours that can stand up to the spicy broth, so we ordered half a portion of the original Chongqing style spicy soup base (HK$84). To calm our palates, we also had half a portion of the nourishing pork bone soup base (HK$84).
First served was the pork aorta (HK$108), thin slices that maintained their crunchy texture after being cooked in the bubbling broths. It wasn’t my favourite, though, because it didn’t soak up any of the spicy flavour.
We knew the sliced US snowflake beef (HK$198 for a large portion) would be good – it was well marbled and thinly sliced, but surprisingly, it paled it comparison to the Chongqing Liuyishou-style beef rumen (smooth tripe, HK$138). If you’ve eaten any of the various types of tripe, you’ll know that it usually takes a long time to cook. This was very thin and soft, needed only about a minute in the broth, and was tender and absorbent.
Pig intestine stuffed with pig blood curd (HK$48) was just fantastic: the smooth blood was wrapped in a thin casing. Supreme duck blood curd (HK$68) was some of the best we’ve tasted; when cooked, the exterior somehow had a delicate crunch that gave way to the moist interior. Unfortunately, we overcooked the pig intestine casing sausage (HK$68) so it became shrivelled and tough.
We didn’t order only blood and guts, though. Stuffed meatballs (HK$48) had to be bitten into carefully, because they were liquid inside. Cuttlefish paste (HK$58) was roughly textured and tender, while cuttlefish paste stuffed into youtiao (Chinese doughnuts, HK$78) really soaked up the broth. Dumplings (HK$58) were delicate and best cooked in the more subtle soup.
The delicate soybean rolls (HK$38) only needed a one-second dip in the broth so they maintained a bit of crunch; the fried fish skins (HK$38) could be dipped for a few seconds longer. We should have ordered more vegetables but garland chrysanthemum (HK$28), with its slightly bitter, very “green” flavour, helped to cleanse our palates.
Chongqing Liuyishou Hotpot, Aura on Pennington, 66 Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay, tel: 2110 8889. About HK$300 without drinks or the service charge.
While you’re in the area