Some say you have to have lamb hotpot if you go Beijing, especially in winter. And Dong Lai Shun (东来顺) is one of the most famous lamb hotpot restaurant.
I have never been to this restaurant in spite of its fame. This trip to Beijing, I finally managed to make a trip there with some colleagues.
Dong Lai Shun is famous for a few things.
Firstly, it uses a traditional kind of copper pot. Copper conducts heat evenly and quickly and so the copper pot is supposedly better. I didn’t get to try out the difference the special pot makes, though. My friend thought that there isn't really much difference.. especially given the price difference. She is probably right.
Secondly, it is famous for its excellent lamb. It supposedly does not have the strong lamb taste. This I found to be true.. and in fact, I couldn’t taste anything at all. The meat tasted rather bland and my colleagues thought that it wasn’t up to standard.
Thirdly, it is famous for its sesame dipping sauce. I found the sesame dip particularly good. It was very smooth and extremely fragrant, and so all the vegetables we had that night turned out extremely good because of the dip.
Many of my friends have told me that Dong Lai Shun is an overrated restaurant.. and I think I have to agree.
My favourite hotpot restaurant Haidilao is way better.. in terms of food.. and especially so in terms of service. The folks from Dong Lai Shun were just not friendly at all. In fact, we could hardly get their attention even though there were quite a few of them and the restaurant wasn’t packed by the time we started our dinner.
Clockwise from left: The charcoal-fuelled hotpot, appetizers and sesame dipping sauce.
The thinly sliced lamb that looked pretty good.. but were strangely tasteless
Sesame Shaobing 芝麻烧饼 - Something usually eaten with lamb hotpot
东来顺 Dong Lai Shun