Earlier this week, having read all about it, I finally went and tried out new Chinese restaurant Shuang Shuang on Shaftesbury Avenue.
Unlike many Chinese restaurants where fried rice, sweet and sour chicken and duck pancake is on the menu, Shuang Shuang specialises in Chinese hot pots.
Hot pot is a dish which boasts over 1,000 years of Chinese history and is thought to have originated in Mongolia before spreading to China during the Tang Dynasty. It comprises a generous pot of simmering stock, traditionally sunk into the table, which is then used to cook a variety of ingredients. At Shuang Shaung, you choose your selection of ingredients from a conveyor belt (think sushi restaurant) that runs around the restaurant. I decided to go for a plate of pak choi, tofu, prawns and vermicelli rice noodles. Other ingredients made available on the conveyor included British beef and pork, chicken balls, crab wontons, pumpkin slices, oysters and Chinese pea shoots.
Shuang Shuang offers five different broths to chose from – Mala, Fish Pond, Lamb Tonic, Temple Brew and Black Bird. I went for the latter which is made from a rare breed of black-fleshed chicken and dried Chinese berries. It was absolutely delicious.
The whole experience at the restaurant was fantastic. You have full control over the temperature of your broth – which you can amend using buttons in front of you – and, with the conveyor also in front of you, you can decide exactly what goes into your hot pot.
The staff were particularly friendly and attentive, and gave my father and I a run down on what hot pot is and how best to cook everything. As we were both hot pot novices, this was very much appreciated.
For anyone looking for something a little different, as well as a healthy and filling meal, I would highly recommend a visit to Shuang Shuang.