Spicy bullfrog dry pot: "Really eatable." (Really!)

Spicy bullfrog dry pot: "Really eatable." (Really!)

San Gu does the dissecting for you; all you have to do is conquer your aversion to marsh meat
Spicy bullfrog
One taste of this famous spicy bullfrog dish, and it's easy to see why San Gu Bullfrog restaurant commands long lines of devotees.

You've caught them, dissected them, perhaps licked them -- about the only thing left to do with frogs is eat them, something the folks at Shanghai’s San Gu Bullfrog make an ambrosial experience with their spicy bullfrog dry pot

At this frogs-first eatery (the staff is even decked out in bright green shirts, in case the theme escapes you), the famous dish is the centerpiece at nearly every table. Once you try this famous amphibian, it's easy to understand why the restaurant commands long lines of devotees.

It's not like it's a big frog with its eyes staring right at you.— Yan Fournier, San Gu Bullfrog diner and bullfrog covert

Owner Gu Hong Di's Sichuan-inspired spicy bullfrog (gānguō niúwā, 干锅牛蛙) is served in a large bowl that could feed five -- all for a mere RMB 69. Compared with the traditional bubbling caldron of hot pot that invokes images of Macbeth's prophetic witches stew, the dry pot has just enough oil to simmer the ingredients and meld the flavors without compelling you to commit regicide.

The main attraction

In the signature dish, the frog is first fried, then simmered along with chili oil, lotus, celtuce (lettuce root), garlic and sweet potato chips. The result is a spicy bullfrog with tender meat that slips off the bone, with a flaky texture more reminiscent of fish than chicken. The chips and celtuce add a crunchy texture that contrasts with the soft frog meat.

Still skeptical of leaping into amphibian eats? Don't wuss out. The dish is delicious, and a non-intimidating way to sample this slimy swamp dweller.

"The spicy bullfrog dry pot is really eatable," says Yan Fournier a diner and bullfrog convert. "You don’t have to be scared -- it's not like it's a big frog with its eyes staring right at you." Phew.

Wash it down

While the spicy bullfrog is indeed the highlight, San Gu's menu offers a host of other spicy Sichuan and milder Shanghai dishes. As for drinks, one recommendation is their signature tea juhuami 蜜菊花 (RMB 13), a combination of honey and flowers that is nice and cooling --the perfect complement to a spicy bullfrog pot brimming with molten red chilies.

Getting there

San Gu Bullfrog
882 Zhaojiabang Lu 肇家浜路882号
tel +86 21 6469 4611

3 Fenyang Lu 汾阳路3号
tel +86 21 6466 6155