Although I had a lot of unique dishes and most certainly broadened my horizons, there weren't any groundbreaking dishes to be had. While that may be the case, there were some damn fine ones. Let's take a look at the order list posted here near the end of the topic by one of my fellow diners accompanied by some of the pictures I managed to snap while we feasted. Keep in mind that these dishes were going around the tables so some of them were almost gone by the time they came around to me. I did the best I could!
To save myself A LOT of repetition, as my fellow foodies reported: the heat was lacking across the board, I was expecting much more after reading various internet reviews. I think they may have dumbed it down for us a bit, which is bizarre considering we were a huge group of people all ordering from the traditional Hunanese menu. Bah, we want the heat!
(#2) Spicy sliced ox lung
This was one of my higher ranked dishes. The meat was super tender and the overall flavor was great. There was much discrepancy at the table over exactly what we were eating, but nonetheless it was very tasty.
(#8) Shrimp with mixed bitter melon
I can appreciate bitter, but this melon was just too bitter. Unbalanced dish in my opinion and one of my least favorite.
(#17) Mao's braised pork
I was really looking forward to this dish and it wasn't quite as good as I expected. I would've preferred the fat rendered down a bit more due to a longer cooking time. Overall it was still one of the better dishes.
(#19) Spicy fried mutton chops
Sweet batter on lamb? Fail. And I love lamb. So sad.
(#21) Spicy pig skin
Strange texture. I, as most other diners, expected crispy skin. It was still very interesting and the texture reminded me of something but I can't quite put my finger on it... A thick seaweed salad maybe?
(#?) Spicy Chanzul Frog
This was frog? I never would've guessed... Unmentionable otherwise.
(#24) Steamed fish head-on with diced hot peppers
My first helping was great because I got a nice meaty hunk of cheek meat. The second helping was all bones and fat and remembering it now is making me sick to my stomach. I'd recommend this dish if you don't stray too close to the head and pay attention to what you're putting on your plate.
(#41) Double cooked pork with garlic
Another one of my favorites. Maybe some of the other diners didn't get a pepper on their plate but I definitely bit into some heat from this dish.
(#52) Preserved sausage with smoked bamboo shoot. Not sausage - slices of salt preserved pork
The last dish that arrived at the table and by far the best. This would be the dish I return for. Excellent balance of pork and smoky bamboo shoot. Very very good.
(#55) Minced pork with sauteed sour beans
This was the first dish that hit the table and remained at the top of my list until the very end. I can't really describe it but the flavors were very addicting. A great start to the meal.
(#75) Eggplant in clay pot with garlic sauce
(#83) Stewed duck with ginseng. A thin soup, more than a stew
Sorry, no pic for this one! This was by far the most flavorful soup. It was like liquid essence of duck. Very good.
(#94) Tea Tree mushroom with pork casserole
I didn't realize until my second helping that this dish had pork in it. It didn't matter, the mushrooms alone made this one of my favorite dishes. Sweet woodsy, earthy bliss. Would definitely order this again.
(#95) Eggplant on iron plate
(#106) Soft Shell Turtle in brown sauce
This was turtle? Everyone thought it was duck until our waiter told us otherwise. Who knew?
(#128) Duck soup
A big disappointment. This soup was very thin and only faintly tasted of duck. Completely outclassed by the stewed duck with ginseng.
(#130) Clam soup with winter melon
This was my personal addition to the order and a big disappointment. As in the case of the duck soup, this tasted like broth with a very faint clam flavor. Intentional or not, this was a letdown.
[off-menu] Saute snow pea leaves
Again, no picture of this dish. This dish reminded me of perfectly cooked broccoli rabe.
(#?) Taro pancakes
Sorry but that was my share so that was all I could snap a shot of. This was doughy and juicy, the texture reminded me of the sesame balls they sometimes have at chinese buffets. I love those things so naturally I liked this dish.
Holy crap my eyes are bleeding. If that's not enough pictures for you, then I give up... Until next time my micro friends!