Unless you’re jetting off to a tropical island this winter, there’s no escaping the chilly weather. But what better way to warm up than over a tasty hot pot? So layer up and hit one of these top spots recommended by Maggie and Anita from Sam the Local.
For those of you who don’t know, hot pot is similar to the Western concept of fondue. A boiling pot, with broth of your choice, is used to cook various ingredients, which commonly include sliced beef, fish balls, dumplings, seafood of all sorts, tofu, vegetables, and so much more. It’s a very social and fun way to cook – plus it’s guaranteed to warm you up in no time.
So where does the idea come from? It’s believed that hot pot originated in Mongolia during the Jin Dynasty almost one thousand years ago. When it first started, the Mongolians simply used water instead of broth and the main ingredient was beef, mutton, or horse. Alright, let’s get to it. Here are seven varieties of hot pot for your drooling pleasure. Enjoy!
1. Classic Hot Pot – Him Kee
Solid. Just solid. This is your regular, run-of-the-mill hot pot place that you can’t go wrong with. There are no special bells and whistles or surprises, just solid broth and fresh ingredients. If you’re looking to satiate your hot pot craving, head to Him Kee.
Him Kee, 1/F – 3/F, Workingfield Commercial Building, 408-412 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay, (+852) 2838 6116
2. Hot Pot with a View – Budaoweng (iSquare)
If you’re looking to impress a date or take a client out, then Budaoweng in iSquare is definitely the way to go. Located on the 23rd floor, it has an amazing view of the skyline. Plus their food is really good and all of their ingredients are super fresh. I also enjoy that they offer really unique broths, such as tortoise, and Japanese food such as sashimi. Naturally with the view and premium ingredients, Budaoweng runs on the more expensive end of hot pot places, but it’s worth it. We specifically recommend their scallops, which are delicious, while the slices of fish are one-of-a-kind and their beef – well, we don’t even have words to describe it!
Pro tip: Make a reservation for 7.30pm and ask for the window seat to catch the Symphony of Lights that starts at 8pm
Budaoweng, Shop 2301, 23/F, iSQUARE, 63 Nathan Road, (+852) 2152 1166
3. Vintage Hot Pot – Tai Fung Lau Peking Restaurant
Established in the 1960’s, this famous restaurant is one of the only places in Hong Kong that still offers coal-burning hot pot. The unusual looking contraption has a chimney in the middle of the pot where the coals are burning to heat the broth. Of all the ingredients on the hot pot menu, they are most famous for their thinly sliced lamb and beef. They’ll also have the other common ingredients. As a bonus, because they serve Northern Chinese food, they are also famous for their Peking Duck. Give it a shot to mix up your hot pot.
Tai Fung Lau Peking Restaurant, 29-31 Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, (+852) 2366 2494
4. All You Can Eat – Tack Hsin Restaurant
Sometimes when you’re really hungry and craving hot pot, it’s best to go for an all-you-can-eat option. The quality here isn’t the best you can find in Hong Kong, but it’s definitely good enough to settle the craving. Depending on when you go, price ranges from $150 to $190, and it’s extra for sauces (approximately $9), premium broths, and more ingredients. We specifically recommend the pork and mushroom balls, and crystal custard and BBQ pork dumplings.
Pro tip: It’s cheaper if you’re seated after 9pm!
5. Winter Melon Hot Pot – 冬瓜盅火鍋 (directly translates as Winter Melon Hot Pot)
Yep, it’s just like it sounds – you cook your hot pot ingredients inside a winter melon! The large winter melons are cut in half, seeded, put it in a tall pot, and filled with a simple broth for our hot potting pleasure. The awesome thing about this is that because winter melon can “cool” your body, eating it this way can help to negate some of the “hot” effects of hot pot. This hole-in-the-wall place is so hole-in-the-wall that it can’t even be found on Openrice! It’s the type that will just break out more tables and spread into the side alley as patrons come to get their fill. So grab your winter coats and head over to try this unique version of hot pot.
Winter Melon Hot Pot, Poplar Street and Tai Nan Street, Prince Edward
6. Chicken Hot Pot – 66 Hot Pot
In the past four to five years, chicken hot pot has really taken off, but rumour has it that the first restaurant to serve it was in Hung Hom. So what is it? A half or whole bone-in chicken is cooked in spices (usually of the numbing variety), along with other herbs, and then brought out to your table for consumption. You eat the chicken first and then add broth to the pot to continue along to the hot pot part of the journey. The broth becomes super tasty and your ingredients absorb the flavour. We recommend the BB spice level (you can pick different levels) because we find it to be just spicy enough to get our senses tingling, but not overwhelming. We’re not sure what kind of spices they cook their chicken with, but it’s definitely not as numbing as a lot of Sichuan spice tends to be. Hands down, one of our favourite hot pot ingredients here is the fried fish skin. It has a thick coat of batter, which makes it super, super crunchy. We also love the variety of balls – squid ink, lobster, fish, black pepper beef, pork and mushroom, cheese, crab roe – just to name a few.
66 Hot Pot, G/F, 33 Nelson Street, Mong Kok, (+852) 2392 4966
16 Pak Po Street, Mong Kok, (+852) 2363 8466
7. Fish Hot Pot – Happy Family Restaurant
Along with other innovations, fish hot pot has become a trendy thing to do. This is definitely different to the others because the fish is roasted first, and then put in a long, shallow pan (imagine a baking sheet deep enough to fit a whole fish) with the broth. In this variation, you can also pick the flavour of the broth, and our favourite is the pickled vegetables. It’s different to the chicken hot pot because you can simultaneously eat the fish and hot pot with the broth at the same time. We found it a little harder to cook the ingredients because the pan is shallow, and so doesn’t always allow the piece of food to be completely submerged. However, we definitely recommend the pork and mushroom balls, and sweet corn.
Happy Family Restaurant, G/F, 119 Ivy Street, Tai Kok Tsui, (+852) 3486 6286
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