Walking into the Huaihai branch of Dongbei Four Seasons is akin to entering a Family Mart in terms of atmosphere and warmth, but who really cares? You haven’t come for the hospitality or the decor. If you’ve read even a single word about this place, it was probably either “chicken” or “dumplings”. Get stuck into studying the handy picture menu and you won’t even register your depressingly tiled, uncomfortable and luminescent environs.
Straight to it, then: the whole braised and fried chicken (香酥手撕鸡) is banging. Crispy skin, tender meat, and the whole thing seasoned to perfection. It’s also a total steal at under 40rmb. The dumplings (we ordered a big plate of the 牛肉馅水饺) also met the high expectations I’d cemented through listening to friends and reading reviews. Again, they’re full of flavour and good value.
I’m fully aware that most people go to Dongbei SiJi for the meat options, but it would be a loss to overlook the veggies. Our 地三鲜 (fried potato, aubergine, pepper, magic sauce) was lovely, hearty stuff. As a refreshing counterpoint, the cucumber and enoki salad with chilli (金针菇拌黄瓜) worked well too. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have any tofu, but the other dishes more than made up for it.
There’s a good range of drinks on offer (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and boiled lemon water as standard. We didn’t drink, so we paid 105rmb in total for everything mentioned above.
For the flavours and portions, it’s fantastic value. The chicken is obviously excellent, and the veggie dishes are worth your time as well. Just don’t expect Ritz-level interiors.
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