Siwawa, a Guiyang specialty, is a favorite of many foreigners. It’s fresh and tasty, and doesn’t contain a pile of oil. Well, for some, that’s a drawback. Allow me to introduce: DEEP-FRIED SIWAWA. Hong Lajiao has four options of wraps for siwawa, and the king of them all is a wrap that’s been shaped into a little cup and deep-fried. We can talk about the others later, but for now, know that you can eat what is essentially siwawa chips, and you can get it downtown.
These little badboys are a game changer, and not just because they needlessly increase the calories in an already delicious meal. If you’re like me, and your sour soup siwawa are always bursting, allowing soup to run down your arms, these are the solution. They actually hold the soup you pour in them.
Clearly, we ate the crispy siwawa and loved every bite. As with any siwawa joint, you order your siwawa and are served a tray of veggies and tofu seasoned or pickled in any number of ways. I believe there were only 8 deep-fried cups, so if you have a big appetite you may want to double down. Usually, siwawa places give you 10-15 wraps, so it’s definitely a small serving size here. The tray of veggies that they serve you at the beginning can be refilled as much as you like. When you run out of anything, you just grab your tray, head to the re-fill stand, and grab more of your favorite ingredients.
Siwawa isn’t quite right without sour soup in it. At Hong Lajiao, they give you a nice array of ingredients to mix in. From the back of the photo, left to right, there are pitchers of traditional soup (老汤) and sour soup (酸汤). The traditional soup is more medicinal. Skip it. Get the sour. In the next row, there’s white vinegar (白醋), Sichuan peppercorn oil (花椒油), litsea oil (木姜子油), and sesame oil (香油). I usually add litsea oil, which has a lemony taste, and sesame oil to mine. In the front row, there are peanuts, crispy crumbs and toasted chilis. Peanuts and chilis are pretty standard fare, but the middle dish is a bit special. They must bust a pile of the deep-fried cups, because every table has a bowl of deep-fried shards. Mix them into your soup and have that greasy, crunchy goodness inside and out (of your siwawa).
Hong Lajiao actually has a pretty nice menu of Guizhou specialties aside from siwawa. Some notable offerings are:
dòufu nǎo 豆腐脑 Tender tofu with vinegar, chili oil and peanuts, served cold
táoshì yángyù bā 陶氏洋芋粑 mashed potatoes covered in gravy and crispy fat pork cubes
suāncài chǎo tāngyuán 酸菜炒汤圆 A fried version of those sweet, doughy dumpling balls that take over ice-cream coolers at convenience stores in the winter. This is less a favorite of mine and more an interesting Guizhou dish. These ones are fried with pickled greens.
The most important part of the menu, though, is the siwawa section, which you can find on the first page. It’s got a couple pretty unusual styles of siwawa wraps. First, you’ve got the deep-fried ones, and you’re going to want to tick that little box immediately. Then, there’s the standard sticky-rice flour wrap that you get at every siwawa place. Classic. Next are two that are a little different, and very interesting. The orange one is the vitamin C wrap. No idea what it tastes like. Then, the last one is a mint wrap. I’ve tried one of the mint wraps, and while it doesn’t have a very minty flavor, I can say without reservation that it is the softest siwawa wrap I’ve ever tried. It felt almost silky. If you’re not interested in trying a deep-fried version of a healthy meal, there are still very enjoyable options for you.
There are currently three locations in Guiyang. Flora Plaza, Huijin Mall and Huaguoyuan’s Garland Mall each have one.
Restaurant name: 红辣椒陶氏丝娃娃
Flora Plaza (南国花锦) 1st floor, basement level
Huijin Mall (汇金星力城) 5th floor
Garland Mall (花果园购物中心) 3rd floor