Denizens of the Riverside
Riverside is an old school Shuangnan area hot pot house. We dropped in one weekday evening to find a near full house with the familiar buzz of an evening hot pot crowd filling the room. The servers took mere seconds to get us seated, take the soup order, and present us with a check off menu sectioned into specialties, meats, veg, and local snacks.
There is a large amount of overlap on the menu of a hot pot restaurant and, say, a maocai or chuanchuan place. We love it all, but still prefer to order things for hot pot that we can’t get at cheaper fast food places, so we checked off shrimp paste (虾滑), spicy sliced beef (麻辣牛肉), and the beef meatballs with soup inside (撒尿牛丸). Their soups were very good; the intensely red spicy soup contained dregs of fermented rice wine, which our guest explained is a way to use less hot pepper and still have a very spicy soup. The server helped us cook the shrimp paste, warned us against letting the beef boil for too long in case it got tough, reminded us to eat the potatoes as soon as they were ready, and helped us fish for the last bits of food that were in the bottom of the soup.
Denizens of the Riverside is well known for their su rou, grandiosely named 土豪酥肉 on the menu. Su rou is crispy fried pieces of pork with Sichuan pepper either mixed whole into the batter or powder sprinkled in a tingly salty topping. Hot pot houses have taken to serving su rou fried to order, but we found this one a little heavy on the batter and better in the hot pot than eaten out of hand. We also ordered their bing fen (红糖冰粉), or cool jelly with brown sugar syrup and chunks of watermelon and pear, a great foil for the heavy and spicy hot pot items. It was very good, but with the weather cooling off almost all the other tables were eating piles of sticky rice-based ciba with brown sugar syrup (红糖糍粑). Shuangnan is a great destination for local food in general, and Riverside holds it own. Our bill came to about 80 RMB per guest.
Denizens of the Riverside, House River hot pot double South Station Shuangnan Road, No. 5-1.