By Kristi Alexandra
Spicy, creamy, fishy, meaty. Throw in cabbage, leafy greens, eggs, wontons, mushrooms, ginger, thin-sliced meats and whatever else your heart (and tastebuds) may desire. There’s no shortage of customizations when it comes to hot pot, the meal you go out for and yet cook yourself.
Made through a Chinese cooking method of preparing your food at the dining table, hot pot is an interactive meal made for group dinners on cool days. While a simmering soup base (spicy, creamy or vegetable, depending on the restaurant) is kept boiling, ingredients are thrown into a pot and cooked at the table.
We found Metro Vancouver’s top 5 Hot Pot spots so you can cook and chow down at the same time.
Pearl Hot Pot
7154 Sperling Ave, Burnaby
Step right up and sit down for a group session at Pearl Hot Pot. Set right in the centre of the restaurant is bar seating, where each foodie has their very own pot and burner. The standard meal selections (lamb, vegetarian, seafood and more) each come with an iced green or fruit tea, along with a heaping plate of vegetables and a single prawn, along with your chosen Hot Pot dish—from ginseng chicken to assorted mushrooms ($14.95 – $23.95), and finished off with ice cream. If Pearl Hot Pot had a mantra, it would be “fresh and filling.”
Multiple locations: find Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond and Vancouver here.
This chain restaurant makes hot pot as authentic to its roots as possible. Legend goes that the original hot pot was created after Mongolian warriors turned their helmets upside down and boiled water over a fire, throwing in their foodstuffs. While you won’t find any used headgear here, you’ll find a consistent way of choosing your meal. First, select one of three soup case options: original, spicy, or half & half. Then, throw in your choice of finely shaved meats, crisp vegetables, seafood and handmade noodles. Each meal comes with a salty, smoky plum juice, but blended fresh watermelon and an assortment of beer and wine is also on the menu. While this spot can be rather pricey, most meals end with a voucher $5 or more off your next visit—or snag a spot before 4:30 pm for their daily $10.99 lunch special.
1356 Marine Dr, North Vancouver
The old idiom “the lion’s share” applies at Lion Hot Pot Ltd. At this North Vancouver eatery, portions are fit for the king of the jungle, and the service is speedy. The main pot combos ($14.95 – $19.95) include wintermelon juice, tea and dessert with your meal. All Chinese-style noodles, soup bases and sauces are made in-house and MSG-free, and each diner has their own personal pot and burner so you won’t have to share, after all.
168-7911 Alderbridge Way, Richmond
Asian-pacific flavours made with local ingredients? That sounds like a win to us! Hotpot Palace meshes locavore values with Asian sensibilities. You’ll find Canadian lobster and west coast dungeness crab, and local, organic greens alongside Wagyu beef, Japanese Matsusaka pork and imported live fish. Individual meals start at $43, so it’s best to buddy up and come with a troupe for their hot pot sets, which include meats and toppings for groups of six to 10. Hotpot Palace provides nine different broth styles from Macau-style pork bone broth to Sukiyaki and half-and-half.
Landmark Hot Pot House
4023 Cambie St, Vancouver
If you’re craving fancy and yet innovative, look no further than Landmark Hot Pot House. The restaurant serves up classic Hong Kong fare, with fresh, live seafood like locally-sourced geoduck clams and gossamer. This hot spot even offers valet parking! Unlike some other spots, you won’t be able to snag a hot pot combo—each set of ingredients must be ordered separately, allowing for personal customization. This spot is for hot pot experts and nightowls: Landmark opens at 5 pm and serves up a late-night menu fit for those getting over their jet lag (or their really late night before).