I have always considered myself an adventurous eater. I especially love to explore cuisines and flavors of other cultures. One type of dish that I have been loving has been ‘shabu-shabu,’ also known as hot pot. This dish features one or two different broths that go onto a stove top to boil. You then have a choice of different meats, vegetables, dumplings, and noodles that you can cook in this hot, simmering broth.
One location that offers unlimited hotpot is “Hotpot Buffet,” located at the start of beach street in Chinatown. This quaint, casual restaurant is right near the Chinatown gate. Upon entertaining, it doesn’t seem like the fanciest of places. However, the ambience is casual. I feel rather comfortable in the space. Also, the staff is nice and is adamant to assist you.
All-you-can-eat hot pot typically ranges from $26 to $28. Prices will most likely depend on when you’re going and whether or not it's a busy time. I know that this price may be daunting to some students, but for the amount of food you can get, it is totally worth it! It is especially great for pairs or groups as cooking can take some time, so it's perfect for socializing. I have loved going with my friends in the past and we also always had so much to talk about.
As for the menu, it has a wide range of options to pick out of. To start, you choose a broth. They have four broths: the house special, mala spicy, Chinese herbal, and black chicken. For a while, my favorite was Chinese herbal, as it is light and has the perfect amount of herbs for flavor. Recently, however, black chicken has become my favorite. It has a hearty chicken flavor and reminds me of a delicious chicken noodle soup broth. It is especially great if you choose to do noodles in your hot pot. After you select your broth, you can then select from various meats such as prime ribeye and lamb. After meat, you can choose from vegetables like potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, lotus root, etc. They also have a small selection of dumplings. I typically get the pork chive dumplings. They then give you options for noodles or just a bowl of white rice, depending on what you like. My best friend loves to get rice when he gets the spicy broth, as it soaks up the flavor and helps curve the spice. There are also seafood choices such as shrimp, salmon, crab, squid and so forth. One thing to keep in mind is this restaurant does not have a list of recommended times for cooking like some other hotpot restaurants may have. So if you do not know the usual times for things, make sure to ask an employee or look it up so your food is cooked properly. I feel like sometimes people will eat an item too late or too early, taking away from the overall experience.
When you’re done with your first round of ingredients, you can get another paper to fill out and get a second round. If a second is not enough, get a third or however many rounds you would like. I always leave full and satisfied. If you have been wanting to try something new and something plentiful, then I highly recommend trying out this hotpot buffet. With the amount of options on the menu and the ability to eat as much as you want, this restaurant is sure to do that.