The Way of The Dragon is a massive Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the second floor of the House of Roosevelt on the Bund. Extravagant doesn’t even begin to describe its excessiveness.

Elaborate interiors, performances on the hour, water features, and unnecessarily complex plating await intrepid hotpot fanatics.

If you’re looking to enthrall overseas guests with the crazed splendor of Shanghai’s/China’s fascination with entertainment dining, this crazy extra hotpot on the Bund is for you! It would also be the place to impress “face” upon business clients—deals done and sealed with a round of baijiu in one of the restaurant’s many private rooms.

A Look Inside: The Way of The Dragon

The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

The Way of The Dragon (龙翻大江火锅酒楼) is a high-end Sichuan style hotpot chain from the chili-obsessed city of Chengdu. This is their first location in Shanghai, and the interiors are in accordance with its Chengdu and Xi’an venues.

The decor is a particular style. I believe they’re going for “subtle elegance”.

The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
One section of the space
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
A typical table
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
If you’d like to have tea before dinner
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Semi-private booths and more seating
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Massive log for a countertop (I did not inquire if it was made of real wood.)
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Filling up the space with jars of stuff
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Pavilions with water features that lead to a catacomb of private rooms
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Ride at your own risk
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Mist. Gotta have mist.
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Performances on the hour

How was the food?

Their literature states their objective is to “create an international restaurant, make a long-living brand,” to bring “new cultural hotpot to the world.”

Riveting stuff, but the hotpot was only OK.

The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.

One gripe is that you don’t get to build your own sauces, you pay extra for either sesame oil, a house soy sauce mix, and Sichuan-chili powder, each ¥12.

Don’t get me wrong. I like hotpot, mostly for its convivial nature and drinkable soup bases. But after so many peppercorns and gallons of chili oil, it all tastes the same, especially after dipping into the requisite sauces.

And while I’ve been assured that the classic spicy soup base (¥128), one of six options, has been tempered for the local market, it’ll still blaze a trail through your innards like fire-spitting chopper. No offense to the people of Sichuan or those who love a good burn—perhaps I haven’t trained my body enough for this heat. Let’s say the morning after was a little intense.

On the menu are usual suspects of meatballs, fishballs, sausages, thinly shaved meats, vegetables, etc. It also has a varied selection of other animal parts like goose intestines and cow stomach.

There are premium items, of course. But does it matter that the beef is wagyu? Not really. I bet the Yunnan-sourced mushrooms are fantastically earthy, but they taste more or less the same after its fiery bath.

The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Tripe
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Peculiar. What’s inside?
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Cow stomach. Or was it intestines?
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Wagyu that I’d rather grill.
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
More “parts”
Bear Paw Mushroom at The Way of The Dragon, a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Bear Paw Mushroom
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Again, another ingredient I’d see grilled.

Some of the plating is such a waste.

I.e.: fishballs each served balanced upon individual roses. While others, like the fish dish below, are jarring, and would turn the stomachs of those unaccustomed to such displays.

The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
I can’t even. Fishballs atop roses.
Fish at The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
It’s like they’re still swimming.
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
Shit. They can see me.
The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
No idea what these were. I know that I ain’t got time for tiny fish with lots of bones.

Every table also gets a dedicated server that cooks everything.

In Summary

China loves entertainment dining. A show, some fanfare (or lots of it in this case), interactive or photo/video-friendly interiors or food/drink, costumes, etc. are all part of a wave of concepts looking to grab diners by the shoulders and shake out every last jiao possible. Often, food becomes secondary.

Is there a market for this kind of restaurant? Absolutely.

Is it for me? Nah.  

The average check at The Way of The Dragon is upwards of ¥400.

The Way of The Dragon is a high-end Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the Bund, Shanghai. Great for entertainment dining. Photo by Rachel Gouk.
The real MVP

The Way of The Dragon 小龙翻大江火锅酒楼
Address: 2/F, 27 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, near Beijing Dong Lu 中山东一路27号2楼, 近北京东路
Tel: 33308888
Hours: 10am-2am