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Red'n'Hot, Chinatown

Jonathan Schofield loves stealing the quacks from ducks and ageing innocent eggs

Written by . Published on September 15th 2008.


Red'n'Hot, Chinatown

I'm going to open a restaurant.

My first menu will feature Newt skin in a gangrene garlic fondue, Rasp of rattlesnake with wagtail beak reduction, Fire exploded kidney flowers, crisp and fast fried, Mrs Schofield's traditional Lancashire runny chicken head (lopped off style) and Famous pig's hock dongpu style. It's going to be the dog's bollocks. In fact I might even include the latter.

The egg whites look like glass from a Newcastle Brown bottle, the yolks go olive green and look rotten and wrong. But again they taste great

Red'n'Hot is the new kid in Chinatown. At first glance with a name like that, you might think Long Legs had just gained a lap-dancing rival in the area, but no this is a Szechuan restaurant, albeit with lots of flesh on display.

If you know Red Chilli round the corner (there could be confusion with the two names) then you get an idea of the exotica in terms of ingredients on offer here. This is Chinese waste-not-want-not peasant food. It's where you start eating an animal at the snout and don't finish until there's just a tiny bit of tail sticking out of the corner of your mouth. This means eating the inner organs as well.

But Red'n'Hot's menu beats even Red Chilli's for being the best fun to read in Manchester. It isn't as extreme as my proposal above but it's not far off. Indeed two of the dishes in that list are from the Red'n'Hot menu. Work it out yourself.

Other crazy dishes include stewed frog's legs with preserved pickled veg (£9.50), fast fried pig's tripe (£7.50), multi-flavoured pig's intestine (Sichuan delicacy) £7.50), fried sea bass squirrel shaped (£12.50) and, my absolute favourite, pockmarked lady's tou fou with minced meat (£6.50). The latter is helpfully described as a Szechuan speciality. You bet: although I think a gentleman should never refer to a lady's pockmarks even whilst eating them.

We went for a whole range of dishes with the eccenticity provided by the thousand year egg with chilli peppers (£4.50) and the stir-fried ducks' tongues in soy sauce (£9.50). Both were wonderful.

First the ducks' tongues, which were swollen little ducks' quacks full of intense chewy flavour. I was prepared to be bothered about eating this dish but I loved it. The taste was odd, but good odd and that is always welcome in a reviewer's tres difficile life. The accompanying soy sauce and peppers plus some root things I have no idea about – I did ask the waiter but he was hard of English – were good too but the interest lay in the texture and taste of the tongues.

When the waiter explained as a joke that the thousand year eggs were not in fact a thousand years old, this time I understood. Mind you they were several days old and marinated in a mixture of herbs, spices and vinegar which had completely changed their appearance. The egg whites looked like glass from a Newcastle Brown bottle, the yolks had gone olive green and looked rotten and wrong. But again they tasted great, a fierce mix of herbs, spices and vinegars with a little residual egg left in there for substance. Try 'em, they're superb.

Of the several other dishes we tried, the best, in fact the downright winner of the whole occasion, was the cold dish of sliced pork belly in mashed garlic sauce (£5). This came in the shape of a peak of exquisitely thin belly pork slices with big wide strips of fat in a rich pepper soy sauce. It was a 9/10 dish. Not big on presentation but massive on flavour.

It demonstrated the Szechuan fame for controlled heat, a judicous use of marinades and their love of the flower pepper. The thousand year egg had shown off this style of cuisine's equally impressive pickling skills.

The only drab note was provided by a clumsy pak choi with mushrooms (£6.50) which was saturated with a heavy cloying sauce over the funghi. Basics such as boiled rice were spot on.

For drinks we had Quing Dao beer (£2.50) which was fine in that rather prosaic lager tradition. The menu description of Apple wine (Wood Pecker) (£2.50) pleased us. Ah that's what Woodpecker is: wine. More intriguing was the spirit, and you can get a bottle of this stuff, called Happily Drunk (£40). That's responsible drinking for you.

Red'n'Hot is an all round entertainment, definitely worth a major detour. In fact forget the detour it's a destination restaurant. Food lovers of Manchester get down there for a treat and be a bit brave. This is a seriously interesting place with good décor, good atmosphere and great food.

Now, has anybody got that recipe for dogs' bollocks?

Rating: 16/20
Breakdown: 8/10 Food
4/5 Service
4/5 Ambience
Address: Manchester Red'n'Hot
56 Faulkner Street
Manchester
M1 4FH
0161 236 2650

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32 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

joSeptember 15th 2008.

To those showing disgust - good, more for us!

The Grand WalloperSeptember 15th 2008.

I find the desire to eat exotic animals sad and pathetic. Hasn't anyone noticed this is the 21st century, and if we don't get a grip soon we'll have eaten, hunted and harried all these beautiful animals into extinction. Shame on you!

AnonymousSeptember 15th 2008.

Ate here last week, really liked it, portion sizes were excellent value for money and really tasty.

lobster69September 15th 2008.

Grand Walloper = prat. The Chinese have been doing sustainable meat eating for 1000's years, i.e. use it all, waste nothing and make all the bits into tasty morsels. We can learn a lot from them. No one is talking about endangered species here.

mark mSeptember 15th 2008.

one of the big freezers in the chinese supermarket is always full of pigs uterus. not sure what they use them for...not seen it on a menu anywhere

mattySeptember 15th 2008.

Hey Grand Walloper - which of the meats in this article come from exotic animals? I don't think ducks, pigs or seabass are in any great danger, and Woodpecker refers to a popular cider. On the contrary, I would suggest that utilizing meat cuts that would otherwise go to waste represents responsible and sustainable catering.

gorSeptember 15th 2008.

Don't be put off by the freaky menu this is beautiful food!! only just beaten by Red chilli. Very helpfull staff too who are not at all patronising when you ask about the strange items on the menu.The aubergine starter is highly recommended.

FiSeptember 15th 2008.

You probably won't see pig's uterus as an ingredient on the menu Mark, but have you ever wondered what those funny bits of 'chicken' are in your chop suey? Yuk

meat eaterSeptember 15th 2008.

Rare and exotic animals? It seems to me it is just the underused bits of common old pigs and ducks!

mark mSeptember 15th 2008.

totally agree MSF. it is now expensive to eat the cheap cuts of meat in restaurants, if you are even lucky enough to be able to find one that serves them

JaimeSeptember 15th 2008.

I ate there last week and the food was absolutely delicious, I am also definately going back to try the amazing looking hot pot meal.

mark mSeptember 15th 2008.

Just been here tonight. Awesome. Food superb, service excellent. Try the husband and wife's pig lung. Very very good.

mark mSeptember 15th 2008.

BTW, recipe for testicles:-1kg testicles50ml white wine vinegarseasoned Flour, for dusting2 Eggs, beaten100g fresh breadcrumbs2 tbsp vegetable oil40g unsalted Butter1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked from stalks1. With a sharp knife, split the tough skin-like muscle that surrounds each testicle and transfer to a large saucepan.2. Cover with water and vinegar. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Slice each testicle into 1cm thick ovals and set aside.3. While the testicles are cooking, tip the sliced onion, garlic and peppers into a large pan. Add the extra virgin olive oil and water. Cover and cook over a high heat for about 10 minutes, until soft. Season well and set aside.4. Toss the sliced testicles in the flour, followed by the beaten egg and finally the breadcrumbs. Heat a large pan with the vegetable oil and fry, in a single layer, for 3-4 minutes until golden. Add the butter, let it sizzle for a minute and stir in the parsley.5. Season the testicles and serve with the stewed peppers.

crazyjohn80September 15th 2008.

That menu sound proper rank. Next instead of mints you'll be getting your bill with cervix included. Some sicko would buy that.

AvoSeptember 15th 2008.

I'm surprised Gordo didn't write this review as he's always talking bollocks...

lobgoblinSeptember 15th 2008.

They used to have pig's uterus hanging up in the window of the sadly missed Wong Chu - bright orange wiggly stuff. Rather chewy - a classic texture item... good job you couldn't taste it I suppose...

MotorsportsfanSeptember 15th 2008.

It's interesting how short a time it has taken for food that would have been a staple of the mancunian diet to become the province of the "sicko".For reference I'm 47, I was raised by my grandmother and regularly ate tripe, tongue, cow heel pie, braised lambs heart, all items that are rarely seen on supermarket shelves. Even the basic elements of a good stew such as neck end of lamb or ox tail have to be ordered in advance at my local butcher.It is sad that we have to seek out the novelty of a cuisine from half way around the world to sample ingredients that were common place only 50 years ago

AnonymousSeptember 15th 2008.

Had a meal there Saturday night when they were having a power cut. The food isn't quite up to Red Chili standard but it's still pretty good. We had the Famous pig's hock dongpu style. This was let down by a heavy syrupy sauce that was way too sweet for my taste. They do a similar dish at Red Chilli that is just called pigs trotter on the menu but is in fact a beautifully braised melt in the mouth peice of pork cut from just above the trotter. We also tried the poached Beef ( A Szechuan speciality; this was also in a thick sauce that was overpowered with Szechauan pepper...so much so that you could taste little else. On the plus side we are still looking forward to returning as there is so much of interest on the menu......bring on the sliced pigs ears!!

gorSeptember 15th 2008.

those people that say its disgusting without even reading the full menu probably have turkey drummers and alphabites for tea..

mark mSeptember 15th 2008.

brilliant review. i'm off there soon as...

lobgoblinSeptember 15th 2008.

mark m, you forgot the slice of lemon to serve with the tesicles and the New Hong Kong is on Faulkner St and is fantastic ! And as for endangered species, get 'em while you can !

mark mSeptember 15th 2008.

where is the new hong kong?

joSeptember 15th 2008.

Have been twice and both times were great. But I too love red chilli a tidsey widsey bit more!

Food Porn Alert!September 15th 2008.

'...although I think a gentleman should never refer to a lady's pockmarks even whilst eating them.' - you could give Nigella Lawson a run for her money with a comment like that!

lobster69September 15th 2008.

Mark M, it's at 47 Faulkner Street, M1 4EE. About 30m from the Chinese Arch.

Kelly GSeptember 15th 2008.

There isn't womb on the menu, although you can ask for them subject to a 10% cervix charge.

lobster69September 15th 2008.

They have been doing this stuff at the New Hong Kong for ages. It's been giving the Red Chilli a good run for it's money. Also has great authentic Cantonese menu as well as Szechuan.

AnonymousSeptember 15th 2008.

Shame on you indeed - the food sounds disgusting and how anyone would want to eat this is beyond me!

rosieSeptember 15th 2008.

Mark M's talking bollocks again....

James CroakSeptember 15th 2008.

Frogs legs. Exotica as rare bits of flesh.

mattySeptember 15th 2008.

Newcastle Brown comes in a clear glass bottle - it's the nice brown booze inside that lends colour

bar1September 15th 2008.

I love Red Chilli and I ate at Red N Hot about 6 weeks ago. The service was poor (long waits for food) and the food was hit and miss (I have not had a single miss at Red Chilli). That said, I love what they're trying to do and hope that it was an off-day. To be fair, the manageress apologised for the service and said that they had been let down by staff shortages. The 1,000 yr old eggs are amazing and the cook at your table shabu shabu casseroles look really good too.

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