Kuan Xiang Zi 19, Chengdu, China
+86 28 86696660
Three Ears Chengdu Reviews
Hot Pot Restaurant in Chengdu Nov 25, 2014
Three Ears (San Zhi Er in pinyin or 三只耳 in traditional Mandarin) is a chain of Hot Pot (火锅) restaurants in China. There are a few in Chengdu, a couple in Beijing and elsewhere in China. This is a Sichuan food experience in Chengdu, but many varieties of it exist in China and other Asian countries as well, though it is believed to have originated in Mongolia, spread to China and then elsewhere in Asia. In China its popularity mostly grew during the Qing dynasty (1644-1912 AD).
There is the hot 'Hot Pot' (spicy) and the not so hot 'Hot Pot' (mild). They fry up all kinds of things in a liquid or oily brew here that keeps on boiling: an assortment of usual types of meats and seafood, as well as vegetables, mushrooms and dumplings, but many internal organs too like kidneys, liver and intestines also. There are various dipping sauces and everyone is to help themselves to whatever is sizzling in the 'Hot Pot'. I suppose not everything served is to everyone's taste, but there is enough variety to satisfy anyone. You basically have to throw a bit of caution to the wind and just enjoy. It's all boiled in oil, so everything is cooked well I suppose.
This was my second Hot pot experience and the other was in 2013 at Kirin Hot Pot, which I reviewed too (http://www.travbuddy.com/Kirin-Hot-Pot-v820577). I can attest to the fact that even in the same city each Hot Pot experience is different. This one began with a Fish Head soup that is rather something of a special treat I gather. It's mostly bone and the meat is spare pickings, but what there is of it is quite tasty. Then there is all the boiling in oil of various vegetables and meats. It's a bit of a messy affair, but 'dive in and help yourself' is rather the philosophy of the whole thing.
The Three Ears hot pot restaurant we had a lunch gathering at is located in the Kuanzhaixiangzi Alley area, known in English as the wide and narrow alleys - Kuan is wide and Zhai is narrow with Xiangzi being alley or lane. It's formerly a residential area that has been transformed into a place to enjoy restaurants, teahouses, cafes and shopping in the environment of some traditional architecture from the Ming and Qing dynasties. There are various streets composing the wide and narrow alleys - Wide Alley (Kuan Xiangzi), Narrow Alley (Zhai Xiangzi), Well Alley (Jing Xiangzi) and this restaurant is on Kuan Xiangzi. The signs are clearly marked so navigating is easy, but the restaurant itself has only traditional Chinese markings. Look for some figures riding elephants on either side of the entrance at #19 and the first Chinese character 三 which means three. You may see 'Ear Picking' service being offered outside nearby.
The service was excellent and the waitstaff kept the pot boiling and added ingredients in timely manner and good sequence I suppose, though I am no expert on such things. The restaurant is quite large inside and there is plenty to explore around and about inside, which I have some photos of to show. Give it a try if in the wide and narrow alleys to enjoy something very old and traditional in China. Don't worry about what to order too much and it seems the Hot Pot is a boiling buffet and the waitstaff just brings things to boil, so there is some random element to it perhaps.
Part of the China - Shanghai, Xi'an, & Chengdu (Nov 14 - 30, 2014) travel blog
Part of the list China: Review List
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