Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hot Pot , Hot Pot

Last weekend, I had my first Chinese hot pot at the appropriately named Hot Pot, Hot Pot (formerly Little Fat Sheep) and lucky for me, The Roaming Belly was my helpful and game-for-anything-except-spicy-broth guide (read her post here)!

Hotpothotpot broth

How it works: items you want for your hot pot are circled on a sheet and handed to your server. We chose the half and half broth ratio and I ordered what I called "medium" spicy, but I should've given my placemat a closer look since it explained their 1-10 scale. I am guessing my server gave me a 5. Or she gave me a much higher one because she and her Anna Wintour bob were irritated by my lack of knowing how they do things. The Roaming Belly (I considered using TRB as an abbreviation, but it wasn't really working for me) got a gentler, more soothing broth devoid of chilis, which is funny because she is rather feisty in personality and sense of humor!

[Important to note: the broth had a Chinese herb medicinal aroma, so if you think such a scent will put you off, don't say I didn't warn you. Also, wear clothes you can throw into the washing machine immediately after you get home unless you are in a vindictive mood and want to answer the door for solicitors to see how long they can make it in the face of... well, you.]

We went a little overboard with the add-in choices, but at the time, it really didn't seem like THAT much!

hotpothotpot sliced beef
Thinly sliced beef. We were alarmed when we both got our own plates of meat because I didn't know how I was going to roll myself out of there if everything came in twos. Thankfully, the subsequent items were only one plate each.

hotpothotpot cart
Handmade noodles, bamboo shoots (never had them so "fierce" before), fish balls, squid, napa cabbage, shiitake mushrooms and pork kidneys, oh my! All of the above went into the broth at varying times and amounts. You have to keep a watchful eye on the goods to avoid overcooking (especially the noodles).

hotpothotpot 009
I loved the whole leaves of napa cabbage, which got crazy good in the devil water. I am so Korean with my adoration of all things cruciferous.

hotpothotpot tea
I drank a lot of tea. You would, too, if you got chili flakes stuck in your throat.

hotpothotpot scallion pancakes
We also managed an order of scallion pancakes.

We ate hotpot for 2 hours. With tip, we each paid $28 (I think). And then we went to the bakery a few doors down, ha! Thank you to The Roaming Belly! Maybe next time, we can tackle your fear/disdain of Ktown parking!

Hot Pot, Hot Pot

120 S. Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754


weezermonkey said...

So excited for another first for you!

Confession: I am a bad Asian. [whispering] I don't like hot pot.

bagnatic said...

haha! i love reading your post. it's great to read your perspective...and to see the other side of the table :) i'm glad you had a yummy time too. it was gooooooood. and yes, i devoured the leftover scallion pancakes at home so thanks for "forcing" it on me. :0 ktown parking *wimper*

Mary said...

My first encounter with hot pot was in Chengdu and it almost killed me :-). I, however, never learn and have it whenever possible. It is an acquired taste and I'm still in the acquisition stage. Your photos are wonderful.

Velva said...

The Hot Pot looks fabulous!!!

Kathleen said...

I've never had this. It sounds really delicious!

Deborah said...

I've never had hot pot before, but it looks amazing!

Marie said...

Weezermonkey: Thanks! And you are not a bad Asian at all... I can't imagine there are people who like ALL foods of their culture!

Bagnatic: Yay, I knew the scallion pancakes went to a good home! :P We must meet up again soon!

Mary: Thank you! I agree that it is acquired and not something I'd want to have often. It's just too darn intense!

Velva: Thanks! It was definitely a memorable meal.

Kathleen: It was fun to cross another must-try off my infinite list of new dishes!

Deborah: I love trying new food, there's always so much to discover (and re-discover).

noobcook said...

I love hotpot! The spicy half looks like ma la, something I recently start to appreciate. Yummy looking :)

Marie said...

Noobcook: I just looked up mala and yes, I did have a slight numbing feeling to my lips after eating! Thanks for stopping by!

Sawyer said...

lol at weezermonkey. i've actually never had hot pot before but i hope to try it sometime soon! was this your friend's favorite spot?

Marie said...

Sawyer: No, it was the first visit for both of us. Perhaps that explains why we got so carried away with checking things off on the order sheet!

SinoSoul said...

man! that bagnatics is EVERYWHERE isn't she. btw, the first/last meal weezermonkey had at my place was hot pot. I am so sad I shall now go cry.

Marie said...

SinoSoul: Hot pot at home? Sounds fun and more economical! I'd probably get overzealous with air freshener spraying afterward, though.