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Welcome to TeaThymes! is a food and travel blog based in Sydney, Australia. From here you'll get to see some restaurant reviews, food and travel product reviews and the occasional recipes -all matters of food and drink!


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Shancheng Hot Pot King, NSW


This week Aussies have to say "good bye summer!" as this week (belated, it was from the 1st of March, 2012) I've been assured by a friend that it's the last day of our summer season ... or lack thereof.

I'm quite bummed out by this year's summer as it just felt like rain, rain - oh look! sunshine! - and then more rain. blahblahblahrantrantrant... nevermind, now we have autumn and daylight savings about to kick in.. >___<;

Which is okay, I guess. It means if there's more cooler, rainy nights where I can have more hearty dinners like a Hotpot at the newly refurbished Shancheng Hot Pot King over in Chinatown on Sussex Street. 

"Twin" broths: double sided broths of chili and mild stock bases.

Hotpot or Steamboat is like the Chinese equivalent of a French Fondue - your given your soup base and DIY cook ingredients to your own hearts content. Best to choose your dinner partners wisely if you're a bit of a food sharing nut, as it's more of an experience that everyone dives into to cook dumplings, meats, vegetables and noodles rather than having individual main course meals.

Many moons ago when we first went looking for a hotpot we discovered Shancheng, a rather huge restaurant that is hidden away from Sussex street deep inside a shopping arcade that I've always wondered as to whether anyone really walks through the retail stores. 

The restaurant previously had outdated tables and chairs, chinese inscribed papers tacked on bare walls and it's intoxicating wafts of chilli filling your nose and lungs that'll be sure to hit you each and every time. That mostly was because of no air circulation - there was no air conditioning at the time - we gave up asking for it since the staffs' excuse was that they couldn't turn it on from it's main control panel that was in another part of the building...? Riiight.

So the place was shocking, yet it produced a stream of students and had customers often every night. Why? Perhaps because it offered hotpot at the cheap but what you're coming for is the real deal super mega hot chilli broth, handmade noodles, wontons with no ambient frills attached.

 Our condiments: Eggs to be whisked with soy and sesame sauces

I've been closely watching and waiting for Shancheng's modern refurbishment and fully renovated outlet to be opened once more and was so delighted to check things out. This evening I decided to indulge a friend who hadn't heard nor known of a hotpot experience before with a few friends.

We order plates of ingredients that are to be dipped into the stewing broths of our twin/dual soup bases - one side being the medium to hot chilli soup and then the other a much more milder chicken stock broth. You can choose how "hot" you want the chilli side to become, but usually medium is already a scorcher to the senses but my friends seem to hack it quite impressively.

Once the broth boils and bubbles away you can start plonking in your desired ingredients, some items like wontons and dumplings need to be submerged for a while so we put them in first and wait until they rise up to the top. Often we start with the sliced meats, then the dumplings and the noodles and vegetables are given a flash bath before eating them at almost al dente.

Another spicy dish separate to the hotpot menu is the above "special combination" thingy which I've since forgotten the specifics, but it's a combination of meats (pretty certain there may be tripe included, but nothing else too extreme, I'd hope) and with a spiced up sesame sauce that is so addictive. 

So nowadays... it's got a major uplift and things are looking good, there's air conditioning, glittering new tables and chairs that match the ambient decor of red and black with flourishes of wall separators donning asian dragons and dreamy cloud designs that make smaller sections to make tables more private. Food is still the same, prices seem to be the same too - relatively cheap and it's a great, different experience. I guess that with it's new face, you finally can feel the Hot Pot King hath arrived!

Shancheng Hot Pot King
Shancheng Hotpot King on Urbanspoon

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