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My Shanghai – Xin Xiang Hui (Spicy Joint)

5 Nov

One of the restaurants that is at the top of my list is Xin Xiang Hui (辛香汇-English name – Spicy Joint, but not really ever used).  It serves Sichuan food that is a tongue-tingling luxury, but at prices that are very affordable.

They have branches all over the city, but my favorite is the one near the South Shanxi Rd subway station on Huahihai Road.  You can’t book a table, so everyone waits in line after entering your cellphone number into the machine at the door and receiving a ticket with your number.  We have waited over 90 minutes at peak times and there is always a line when you leave.

Anyone who comes through town who says that they like spicy food gets treated at this restaurant and my visitor earlier this month was no exception.  We treated him to an early lunch there on his last full day in town and ordered all of our favorite dishes.

They give you an entire pack of Kleenex with your chopsticks.  Given the spiciness of the food - it gets used up quickly.

They give you an entire pack of Kleenex with your chopsticks. Given the spiciness of the food – it gets used up quickly.

The star of the show is the Shui Zhu Yu (水煮鱼) – which is catfish cooked in spicy oil along with cucumbers, sprouts and sheets of tofu.  The fish comes to the table in a huge bowl and is completely covered by red Sichuan chilis until they help you skim them off the surface.  The fish melts in your mouth and the two different types of Sichuan heat – la (辣-spice) and ma (麻-numbness) create a tingling along your lips.  It is addicting.

Matt showing off the fish (and snails) - he agreed that it was the best catfish he's ever had

Matt showing off the fish (and snails) – he agreed that it was the best catfish he’s ever had

For my friend’s visit we also ordered the snails – which are a dry stir fry, ribs – which are rubbed in chilis and then a couple not so spicy dishes – pork with millet, some vegetables, slightly spicy peanut noodles and then fried buns dipped in sugar syrup.  We ate well.

Our table - with all of the different dishes ready to be devoured.

Our table – with all of the different dishes ready to be devoured.

Another great thing is that Xin Xiang Hui also delivers.  There has been many a weekend where we just didn’t feel like cooking and in about 45 minutes a piping hot fish and any other dish off their menu appears magically at the door.  Sometimes we joke that anything can be delivered to your door in Shanghai and the fish is a great example.

If you like spicy food and are passing through Shanghai, make sure to give Xin Xiang Hui a try.  It’s a local treasure.

Thanks to Matt for a great visit and for the photos for this post.  It was great to have you in town!

Where do you take visitors to eat when they visit you?

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