Dong Lai Shun is one of Beijing's oldest Hui (Chinese Muslim) restaurants. According to the legend, Genghis Khan, the first emperor of Yuan Dynasty, once led his army for an expedition in a severe winter. Due to urgent military situation, the soldiers had no time to do the cooking.
Hitting upon an idea in emergency, they butchered sheep, cut the mutton in half-frozen slices with saber, and put them into pots filled with boiling water. The deliciousness of the mutton boiled instantly made the soldiers feel their spirits buoyed up and, therefore, defeated the enemy quickly with redoubled courage. Since then, the way of cooking instant-boiled mutton spread far and wide in China.
Donglaishun was established in 1903. The instant boiled mutton in DongLaiShun has characters of fine selected lamb, cooked in hot pot, with full gradients served with special sweet and crisp pickle garlic.
The lamb is selected only from 1-1.5 years old, short tail and black head sheep in XiLinGeLe region, inner Mongolia, Sheep is slaughtered by Imam. The lamb is processed in the way of removal of acid and deep frozen, only 40% meat is selected. The lamb is sliced by machine, each slice is 0.9mm in thickness and 5g in weight. Each dish has weights 200g and has about 40 slices. The slice is tender, fresh, as thin as a paper and as delicate as a silk handkerchief. It is cooked instantly but never over cooked, ever boiled longer the meat is fasted soft and tender, no mutton swell, no greasy and very delicious.
A bowl of boiling water, heated by burning coal in a fluted center or by a natural gas flame, and seasoned with hot spices dominates the table. Like fondue, you dip assorted items in the boiling water till they are cooked to your desires.
The best season to have instant-boiled meat is from October to April, during Beijing’s cold and chilly winter. At that time of year, Donglaishun is fully packed with guests coming from far and wide for its reputation as well as its delicious and equally nourishing.
In recent years, the old donglaishun moved to the fifth floor of New Dongan Market plaza from the old Dongfeng Market in the Wangfujing area. Its design and decoration have also been updated to its present format in order to catch up with modern fashions. Only the eye-catching giant enamel hot pot still stands as before, revealing the history and special characteristics of this hundred year old restaurant.