Xie Lao Song's (Old Song's Crab) newly opened Chaoyang Lu branch (蟹老宋朝阳路店) combines two popular culinary elements: seafood and chili. Signature dishes include "fragrant spicy crab(香辣蟹)" and "fragrant spicy prawn(香辣虾)". But you can also find baby lobster, bull frog, beef, fish, and duck, as well as some classic cold and hot dishes on the easy-to-read menu.
Although the "fragrant pots" served in an iron pot might look hot with their deep red color, they are actually not that spicy. You can choose from three levels of spiciness when you order: slightly spicy (微辣), moderately spicy (中辣), or very spicy (极辣). The slightly spicy pot is tastier than the spicy one, thanks to the special sauce that accompanies it.
Most crab costs 65 yuan per 500 g, but there is also one fatter variety going at 85 yuan per 500 g. Two crabs in a pot is good enough for two or three people. The restaurant also offers three different kinds of prawns and shrimps: meaty giant freshwater prawns (罗氏虾), chewy greasyback shrimps (基围虾), and a sweet-tasting red tail prawn (大白虾). According to one of its managers, the crabs and prawns are freshly brought in from Chinese coastal cities in East and South China.
The hot pot is not the only hot dish as you can tuck into soup, vegetables, meat balls and mushroom, are all kept piping hot by an electric-magnetic hob placed on the table.
Average spending is 60 yuan per person. Avail yourself of a 20 percent discount before Aug 28, and 10 percent before Sept 4. The menu has no English translation, but all dishes are illustrated in color. Decor is Chinese style and service can get a bit slow during peak hours.
Daily 11-10 pm. 50 m east of Hangkong Dasha, 11 Chaijia Wan, Chaoyang Lu, Chaoyang district. Four traffic lights east of Jingguang Qiao on East Third Ring Road. 6595-1519.
Story by Ye Jun, photo by Jiang Dong