Gangshan's Famous Ming Der Lamb Hot Pot / 岡山明德羊肉

Gangshan's Famous Ming Der Lamb Hot Pot

◎English translation : Peng Hsin-yi
◎Photos by Lin Yu-en

 Ming Der's signature lamb hot pot is a thing of beauty in the eyes of gourmands; plump, succulent chunks of lamb simmering in a pot of steamy thick brown soup, surrounded by a generous amount of leafy vegetables, tofu, blood pudding, fresh corn and tomatoes. The seductive smell of lamb is further enhanced by spices in the soup, calling for all to the feast upon this wonderful culinary creation.
 Ming Der's lamb is meaty and juicy, full of the earthy flavor of the lamb but without the overpowering goaty smell that sometimes comes with lamb dishes. The chef makes the lamb-bone soup everyday from scratch, and the cooking process is never entirely the same; she makes adjustments, taking into consideration the condition of the ingredients. Of course, experience is very important in this job. Ms. Liu Jin-zhong, Ming Der's owner-manager, says the soup is the soul of a lamb hot pot, and that the recipe she uses is a time-tested formula. It comes in two variations: original and herbal. The original soup is milky in appearance and notably mild, rich and smooth. It focuses on the flavor of the lamb itself; it warms you up from the inside as you sip it, leaving a naturally sweet aftertaste. The herbal soup uses the same soup base, to which more than a dozen Chinese herbs are added. These herbs complement the flavor of the lamb, and accentuate the natural aroma of the meat. Both soups are especially popular in mid-winter. They are available for take-out, as some customers like to use them to cook other dishes at home.
 Ms. Liu says the lamb hot pot was invented by her father, and that when she first started to entertain the idea of opening a restaurant, she wanted to do something different and offer a unique menu. Her father checked out all the nearby restaurants, and discovered that while many cooked lamb dishes, none of them served lamb hot pot. He suggested Ms. Liu give it a try, so that her restaurant could offer diners something to warm them up during the winter months. A legendary culinary invention was thus born. The restaurant in fact serves hot pot all year round, the dining room being air-conditioned so customers can enjoy the food in comfort even in summer. Ms. Liu, a licensed chef, proudly says that Ming Der was the first restaurant to serve lamb hot pot in Gangshan District. Sometimes she asks regular customers to help her test new recipes, and they are always happy to oblige. Over the years she has developed a very creative menu that contains inventions such as braised shank of lamb, and lamb stir-fried with sour pickled mastered green. These dishes are all very popular.
 Nowadays, if you visit Gangshan District, you can find restaurants serving lamb hot pot on almost every street. However, Ming Der remains popular, even after 30 years. Ms. Liu is confident that no one else can mimic the way Ming Der prepares its lamb; the precise ratio of solid ingredients to water is her most treasured secret. As winter approaches, now is the perfect time to sample lamb hot pot. Let the soup, as well as the love infused in it by the chef, warm you from the bottom of your heart.

  Where to Buy?
  Address:No.124, Renshou Rd., Gangshan Dist., Kaohsiung City 





◎文/張嘉玲 ◎攝影/林育恩