Simple Fare

Jindaoyuan 金稻园乐记 @ Shenzhen

While claypot porridge may originate from Chaoshan area, it finds its natural home in Shenzhen.

I do not know how claypot porridge came to be associated with the Teochews, but somehow it did. Teochew porridge is usually a bowl of plain rice porridge with side dishes like pickles and cooked fish. Then when the porridge was brought to Guangzhou, it was cooked in a claypot and more ingredients added like the Cantonese porridge. And then cities like Shenzhen and Dongguan (which saw the economic miracle first hand) took it like their own invention. Most of the shop owners were Teochews, hence the association I guessed.

And one of the best in Shenzhen is Jindaoyuean Leji 金稻园乐记. In fact they are so popular, they have so many branches across Shenzhen.

烧烤 Grilled Items

As a supper place, they offer quite a lot of varieties of grilled items.

烤生蚝 Grilled oysters

I have learnt to avoid raw seafood in China due to hygiene issues in most restaurants. So I find the grilled oysters quite strange as I have never enjoyed cooked oysters except in an omelette.

烤羊排 Grilled lamb chop

A lot of cumin and chimi 七味 salt has been used for their grilled lamb chop. Will not recommend as the lamb chop is quite gamey.

I like their grilled lamb kebabs, reminded me of the pork satay in Singapore. It alternates between a piece of lean lamb meat and a piece of fat.

You can taste that the grilled corn-on-cob has been poached before grilling. So it was quite mushy inside the kernel.

蒸膏蟹 Steamed female mud crab

And when the season is available (which due to modern crab rearing techniques, it’s almost the whole year), you can get steamed female mud crab bursting with the orange roe. Of course, you can put the crab into the porridge and it would taste phenomenal too.

招牌砂锅粥 Signature claypot porridge

There are many choices for the ingredients for the claypot porridge, the most common are chicken, fish, beef, etc. But here in Jindaoyuan, there are more unusual choices like turtle (called 甲鱼 or “armoured fish”) or partridge or pigeon or eel.

Chinese believe that porridge has healing properties and can be absorbed more easily by the sick patients, so it’s like chicken soup in the West. And in this gruel we will add other medicinal or delicious ingredients to enhance the healing properties. Hence, those exotic choices. In this instance I ordered partridge and turtle. These are supposed to help me regain “Qi” or inner strength from those late nights in Shenzhen.

功夫茶 Teochew kungfu tea

Jindaoyuan is a chain restaurant found in most residential districts in Shenzhen. There’s definitely one nearby your hotel. But if you do not know which one to go (as the standard for each branch differs), do try this one in Xiasha. Opens 24 hours and not crowded after the usual meal times are over.

Alternatively, you can order the porridge to be delivered to your hotel if there’s one nearby. Download any of the food delivery apps in China and search for it. And yes, they deliver the whole claypot over – with ladle and bowls and utensils – for a ¥10 deposit. Just dispose it after the meal 😉

Jindaoyuan Claypot Porridge 金稻园 (乐记) 砂锅粥 (下沙店)
Tel : 0755-83406998 / 0755-83414288

Date Visited : Nov 2017

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