Yuan’s Chuan Chuan Xiang is located inside Aberdeen Mall on the second floor. They specialize in Chengdu region of HotPot. They have many locations all over China and also one in Amsterdam too.
Chengdu is the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province and is known for their chili oil.
They are a little but hidden in the mall, but if you find the pandas, you’re in the right place. They have pandas because Chengdu is famous for their Giant Panda Breeding conservation center where visitors can view endangered giant pandas in their natural habitat.
We were invited to check out their unique hotpot concept.
There are lots of booth-style seating and good for small to large groups. There is ample ventilation too so you won’t smell like your food at some other restaurants.
There are seat covers to ensure no smell or splashes get onto your bag. If you want, they also have aprons to wear too.
They have private rooms if you have a gathering that you want to dine in a more intimate setting.
Making Your Own Sauce
As with any hot pot, sauce is a must! They have a sauce station for $2.45 per person.
The Chengdu way is a bowl of sauce made of garlic, peanuts, cilantro, green onions, a little oyster sauce and then top it up with their branded mini can of sesame oil. They recommend 1 can per person, 1/2 a can if people think it’s too much.
The sauce was actually really good. Usually customers don’t opt in to get the sauce, but the experience isn’t the same without it.
You gotta try it for the full experience.
For your soup base, we went with half house-special non-spicy broth and house-special spicy both. It’s a bit extra but good to try both kinds. Extra-spicy is an option too if you can handle it.
They suggest drinking the non-spicy soup base before you begin the hotpot as it’s the Sichuan way. The non-spicy soup has a very tasty depth of chicken and pork aroma, but it is salty. Some may say it might be too salty to drink. Cooking food in the soup base actually seasons it quite nice so you don’t need additional sauce, but it is still good though.
How to Hotpot at Yuan’s Hotpot
We initially thought the skewers of meat were for grilling but there isn’t a grill anywhere. The skewers are meant to be dunked and cooked in the hotpot, apparently that’s how they do it in Chengdu.
The skewers are 90 cents each or $4.50 for a set of 5. There are also bigger meat platters too, but at a higher price point. Skewers are recommended for people who are in smaller groups like us as we were only 2 people.
It is recommended to cook the non-spicy skewers into the non-spicy soup, and the spicy in the spicy soup. The spicy soup does have a nice kick of heat, so perfect for items like meat. For veggies, dunking it in the non-spicy soup is best.
Assorted Veggie Skewers
Bamboo Shoot Skewers
Assorted spicy and non-spicy meats
Deep Fried Pork
You can eat the deep fried pork when it’s hot. It’s very delicious, but when it cools down, you can actually throw it into the hotpot and it’s pretty amazing too. It’s like pork two ways.
The rice cake is eaten on its own and not dunked into the hotpot. It’s a bit sticky and sweet. Sometimes it good to have something sweet and warm.
This has konjac jelly topped with seasonal fruits, crushed peanuts and haw flakes. A good way to end the meal.
They have their own signature drinks that pairs well with the hotpot to cool you down like this peach soda. Sweet and refreshing.
Overall, we enjoyed this different style of hotpot at Yuan’s Chuan Chuan Xiang and it’s fun using skewers of meat and veggies instead of just throwing it into the pot. You’ll never forget what you put inside as the sticks are visible. Definitely worth a try and you’ll most likely spend around $30 – $40 per person.
Aberdeen Centre 2F, 4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC