Apparently Beijing summer isn't hot enough. After we visited the newly-opened and “most beautiful hotpot restaurant” Yijiaren, Taiwanese popular fast food chain Xiabu Xiabu also reveals an even higher-end hotpot restaurant, Coucou, on the third floor of the new, swanky Topwin Center at Sanlitun.
Unlike the fast food eating style of Xiabu Xiabu, this time the Taiwanese company incorporates a multitude of traditional elements into the restaurant, giving it a more refined feel. For instance, the pot itself is made of iron in the shape of a traditional ding (鼎, an ancient cooking vessel). In fact, all of the decorations, especially the furniture, and atmosphere of the restaurant make you feel like you have traveled back 100 years in time.
There are four broths to choose from. We ordered the two traditional types: half spicy hotpot Taiwan style, and half beef bone with tomato, coming to the same price had we ordered just one type of broth (RMB 58). The Taiwan style spicy broth was definitely not the Sichuan burn-your-butt kind of spicy, and to top it off, you can order free-flow tofu and duck blood tofu too.
The Coucou broth uses a lot of herbs and is cooked for six hours. The tomato broth, which was a little sour, features beef tendons floating in it that take eight to 10 hours of preparation to reach the perfect tenderness.
To add to the broth we ordered sliced beef chuck (RMB 58), seafood nougat (RMB 29), and a small vegetable plate (RMB 39). The seafood nougat was particularly interesting, and had a similar taste to popular sweet Taiwanese nougat, but instead was made using carrot, peas, and squid. We also ordered the tapioca dahongpao milk flavor tea aas well as the tapioca tieguanyin milk flavor tea (both RMB 20). Neither drink was overly sweet, and although the pearls were small, the tea was full of tea flavor and one of the most authentic milk teas I have ever had in Beijing.
The service was remarkable too; without having to you wave your hands, as you usually do, the staff take the initiative to add broth to your hotpot as needed. When we asked to take the rest of the milk tea away, they even came to seal the paper cup.
After their grand opening on June 30, customers will be able to enjoy 30 percent off until the end of July (if you follow their WeChat: coucouchn). With or without discount, I can see myself heading back very soon.
3/F, Topwin Center, 1 Nan Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6124 0639)
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Photos courtesy of Coucou, Tracy Wang
Visit the original source and full text: the Beijinger Blog