Refreshingly contemporary with a range of specialties, both new and old.
District: Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Cuisine: Sichuan, Cantonese and Dim Sum
How much: Hot Pot starts at around $500. Small plates start at $68
The Best For: Family dinners or group outings
Must Order: Minced Pork Dumpling with Spicy Pumpkin Soup
San Xi Lou recently celebrated its 10th anniversary by opening a sister restaurant in the heart of Times Square. This popular dining sensation was named and styled after Emperor Qianlong’s Imperial Study, called ‘San Xi Tang’ (‘Hall of Three Rarities’). Unlike it’s imperial-style flagship, this venue is equipped with modern furnishings, and an air venting system that ensures that the hot pot aromas don’t hit you too strong as you walk through the door. With Chinese elements such as birdcage lighting, this East-meets-West atmosphere is sure to impress a new generation of San Xi Lou fans.
There are many specialties that you simply must try, so I’d personally recommend doing things the local way and ordering a number of plates to share among the table. The Grilled Green Chili with Sea Cucumber Meat ($108) uses a variety of green chilis to create a delectable fusion of flavours. Be sure to get the Minced Pork Dumpling with Spicy Pumpkin Soup ($48), which was my personal favourite. I may have actually tried several of these since a couple of people couldn’t handle the spice. Ahhh dumplings, I just can’t get enough of them.
If you’re a fan of seafood, I highly recommend the Baked Crab with Five Pepper ($1,440 seasonal price) although it’s fairly costly, this dish highlights an electrifying combination of green and red Sichuan peppercorn, pepper and cayenne; it’s too good to miss! The San Xi Lou Roasted Chicken ($388) was cooked to perfection and is perfect for those who love the subtle flavours of the East, but don’t take well to spice.
When it comes to the hot pot, there are six different broths to choose from, but don’t panic, not all of them will set your mouth on fire. My favourite had to be the classic Sichuan Style Spicy Broth ($128). There are a number of different meats to boil in your broth, but do NOT forget the vegetables! As well as taking note of the ‘five a day keeps the doctor away’ motto, these Assorted Organic Vegetables ($88) really know how to soak up every kind of flavour.
If you don’t peak too early and overdose on dumplings, try the Mountain Spring Water Tofu Pudding ($78) to finish off your meal. This dessert is not only delicious, but will act as the water to put out the fire. From one spice lover to another, GO! Engage your spice-o-meter!
San Xi Lou, Shop 1102, 11F, Food Forum, Times Square, 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, www.topstandard.com.hk