We’ve already gone on at length about ganguo or dry pot and how much we eat it. But one thing we haven’t gone on at length about is the endless possibilities of things you can fill your ganguo with.
Really there are three players in my ganguo world: rabbit dry pot (ganguo tu), cauliflower dry pot – but only if it has delicious strips of pork fried included giving the veg a woody flavor (ganguo huayecai) and the king of ganguo (at least in my very humble opinion) is ganguo chashugu or the tea tree mushroom dry pot.
I said a decent goodbye to this dish yesterday having it as one of many dishes for both lunch at foreign-foreign friendly Yang Yang’s and dinner at Tian Tian Kao Ya in Yulin (call it a sacrifice for the blog). The great thing about ganguo is that the food is served (usually) in the mini wok that it is cooked in. The juices from cooking and even the little crispy bits stuck to the side are fair game and one of the delicious wonders of this dish.
But who am I kidding? The real star of the show is the tea tree mushroom, this long literally named, meaty mushroom takes a couple of juicy chews to break down but its a delightful process. Also known as willow mushrooms it is common to find these mushrooms served dried, reconstituted in water and then thrown in a stir fry with pork, chicken or various veg. I was interested to find that they are often referred to as the “God of Mushrooms,” as they are packed in amino acids. Another fun fact: the Chinese believe that it is neither a cooling or heating food, meaning not only can you eat as much of it as you want, but you can balance your qi while you’re at it!
As always, food farewells go hand in hand with people farewells. I said goodbye to some of my favorite local co-workers in a girly dinner with lots of laughter and lots of home-style food. I will miss both dearly!
Lunch was had at a great entry level place for Sichuan food in Chengdu: Yang Yang, 32 Jin Yuan Xiang, Wu Hou District; 86-28-8523-1394 (English menu and patio dining!)
Dinner was at a “fly restaurant” in Yulin: Tian Tian Kao Ya, 17 Yulin Dong Jie, Wu Hou District; 86-28-8555-6336 (the Kao Ya Tang is delicious too!)