A well-liked Chengdu-style hot pot brand Da Long Yi has opened its first U.S. outpost in New York, following more than 200 restaurants in China, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
The restaurant’s NYC outpost covers 4,000-square-feet in Chinatown at 159 Canal St., Unit E., between Bowery and Elizabeth Street. The focus here, like at other locations, is Da Long Yi’s signature “red pot,” spicy boiling broth made of dozens of herbs, chile pepper, and peppercorns that have been fried in beef tallow. It’s taking only reservations for now but will open to walk-in customers at the end of June.
Apart from its flagship spicy pot, Da Long Yi also specializes in a “three-flavor pot” with three broth compartments, including a lighter, non-spicy mushroom-based broth and a tomato-based broth for those who can’t handle the spice. The third compartment in the pot, of course, is the restaurant’s signature red, hot broth.
Side dishes include spicy, numbing beef and pork chops, which are both marinated in a house sauce before being cooked. For the hot pot dipping selection, beef tripes and pork kidney pieces are on deck, as well as a standard line-up of vegetables, meats, and fish balls. The average dining cost is $30 to $40 per person.
Serious hot pot eaters know that a good meal requires fresh ingredients, and truly satisfying hot pots place a special emphasis on the broth — the condiments and herbs that bring out the flavor of the foods. According to co-owner Kathy Jiang, Da Long Yi sources its chile peppers, peppercorns, and herbs in various Chinese provinces, including Sichuan, Henan, and Shandong, before exporting them to the United States.
Da Long Yi in New York has 21 tables, mostly seating four to six diners since hot pot is the kind of dining experience that’s more communal. The restaurant also has a private room and a semi-private room that can each seat 10 to 12 guests.
The restaurant is decorated with traditional Chinese-style wooden windows and bamboo rattan lamps. Jiang says with that look and the ultra-spicy flagship broth, she expected to attract mostly young Chinese people working or studying in New York — a growing population that’s driving more and more Chinese restaurants in the city. But so far, many non-Chinese diners have also been showing up as well, she says.
Da Long Yi started in Chengdu, Sichuan province’s spicy capital, in 2013. Since then, it has morphed into an international restaurant chain from a small local eatery, now expanding its business overseas. It’s one of several Chinese hot pot chains that have been spreading to NYC. Other companies such as Little Sheep, Liuyishou Hotpot, and Haidilao have also expanded here. The first two, which have already opened, have already proven to be quite busy.
The New York location of Da Long Yi will be open from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily. To make a reservation, call the restaurant at 917-889-5539.
Shen Lu is an English-Chinese bilingual journalist based in New York. She writes about the Chinese diaspora, immigration, gender, and money.