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