In winter, our lips become completely numb after countless attempts to warm ourselves up from the inside out by dipping our chopsticks into Sichuan-style hotpots around town. By the time February rolls around, we’re usually longing for feeling in both our mouths and extremities to return, so we decided to sample the decidedly less malahotpot specialties of other regions for a winter pick-me-up.
What: Pork Bone Broth
Where: 4F, 1685 Jinshajiang, in 118 Shopping Plaza. Tel: 3229 0109
Why: You like your hotpot meaty
The purveyor of the richest broth in town, Three Travellers lures in patrons with the heavy scent of well-cooked pork. There are outlets all over Shanghai, so it’s practically guaranteed you’ve caught a whiff of their heady stew walking around town.
Their Chinese name (King of Bone Hotpot) says its all, but we guess their marketing team thought Three Travellers rolled off the Western tongue a bit easier. When ticking off your hotpot broth selection on the Chinese-only menu, opt for the specialty king bone broth with meat. It includes hearty chunks of pork, adding big flavour for only RMB 20 more. Special bonus – these bone-in pig trotters prove perfect for gnawing on while your raw ingredients boil up (which is precisely what that handy plastic glove in your utensil set is for). For the more intrepid diner, the bones are a treasure trove of marrow, if you can finagle your chopsticks into the holes.
The broth also comes stocked with some savoury meat balls that were a tasty surprise, as well as an array of hearty winter vegetables. For a small crowd, the pot could almost be a meal to itself, but that would ruin the fun of it.
Order heavy on the rather tasteless veggies as they soak up the most pork flavour, which is after all what Three Travellers is about. Potatoes, fuzhu, frozen tofu, lotus root and daikon radish should do the trick. A plate of decent fatty beef rounds out a feast for two, but don’t forget the peanut sauce. Despite being a pale white version of its normally russet self, the peanut sauce was creamy and flavourful, making it a definite dipping must.
This article was originally written by Jamie as a review series for the February 2011 edition of Shanghai TALK. If you’re interested in learning more about regional Chinese cuisine, join UnTour for our special food tours.