Archive | 7:40 am

Lamb scorpions (羊蝎子)

8 Jan

During Shanghai’s winter – spicy food becomes a necessity. There is an expression in Chinese “CHI RE 吃热” which literally means to “eat yourself hot.”  Think of how a spicy bowl of chili warms you up, or how that super hot sauce will cause sweat to drip off your forehead.

We both like to eat spicy food and so it is common that we will meet friends at Sichuan restaurants which specialize in all types of spicy food.  Per a recommendation from my Chinese teacher we recently went with two other friends to a new place called Ho Wei, a local chain – always packed – with overall great food.

The winter specialty of the house is a dish that literally translates to Lamb Scorpions. There was a lot of teasing going on at the table while I asked what we really were eating.  The dish is actually lamb backbones – kind of like eating ribs – with the large vertebrae in the middle and lamb on the outside.  The dish came to the table bubbling with chili peppers, turnips and potatoes and green onions on top.  We ordered the “large pot” and did not have leftovers.

In addition to the lamb backbone, we had several other dishes, the other one shown here are small steamed buns which are hollow if you turn them over.  In the hollow you then scoop a spicy mix of pork with chili peppers so the bun cuts the spice.  With the dinner we also drank plum juice which is a palate cleanser against the fatty, oily, warm dishes.

I would definitely go back to this restaurant and can’t wait to have some more spicy food in the coming months – if this is the type of “scorpion” they mean – bring it on!

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