Brrrr, it’s cold in here. There must be some ice in the atmosphere. Oh, our bad. That’s just the New Territories. Hong Kong is experiencing a major cold front and what better way to cure the winter blues than to warm up with some hot pot?
In this edition of Hong Konnovation, we explore the different kinds of hot pot and the Sam the Local recommended places to find each one. Let us know which ones you guys think are the best!
Wait, what is hot pot?
For those of you who don’t know, hot pot is similar to the Western concept of fondue where there is a boiling pot with broth of your choice 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 and eat food that is guaranteed to warm you up.
Where does it come from?
It’s believed that hot pot originated in Mongolia during the Jin Dynasty almost a 1,000 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. Below are 7 varieties of hot pot for your drooling pleasures.
Classic – Him Kee 謙記火鍋
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, come to Him Kee.
Him Kee 謙記火鍋
1/F – 3/F, Workingfield Commercial Building, 408-412 Jaffe Road, Causeway Bay
T: 2838 6116
Hot Pot with a View – Budaoweng (iSquare) 不倒翁
Photo credit: http://food.ulifestyle.com.hk/
If you’re looking to impress a date or take a client out, the Budaoweng in iSquare is definitely the way to go. Being on the 23rd floor, it has an AMAZING view of the skyline AND their food is really good. All of their ingredients are super fresh. I also enjoy that they offer really unique broths, such as tortoise, and that they offer Japanese food, such as sashimi.
Naturally with the view and premium ingredients, Budaoweng definitely runs on the more expensive end of hot pot places but it’s worth it.
What does Sam the Local specifically recommend? Their scallops are delicious. The slices of fish are one-of-a-kind. And their beef…we don’t even have words to describe it.
Pro tip: Make a reservation at 7:30pm and ask for the window seat to catch the Symphony of Lights that starts at 8:00pm.
Budaoweng (iSquare) 不倒翁
Shop 2301, 23/F, iSQUARE, 63 Nathan Road
T: 2152 1166
Vintage – Tai Fung Lau Peking Restaurant 泰豊廔酒家
Photo credit: http://inshokuhongkong.blogspot.hk/
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 their ingredients for hot pot, they are 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 it up from the hot pot.
Tai Fung Lau Peking Restaurant 泰豊廔酒家
29-31, Chatham Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
T: 2366 2494
All You Can Eat (AYCE) – Tack Hsin Restaurant 德興火鍋
Sometimes when you’re really hungry and craving hot pot, it’s the best choice to go for AYCE. 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, the price ranges from $150-$190. It’s additional for sauces (approximately $9) and if you want to get more premium broths or ingredients. I specifically recommend the pork and mushroom balls and crystal custard and BBQ pork dumplings.
Pro tip: It’s cheaper if you’re seated after 21:00.
Tack Hsin 德興火鍋 Locations
East Tsim Sha Tsui – 2/F, Peninsula Centre, 67 Mody Road, T: 2721 8102
Jordan – G/F, G/F, 3 Tak Hing Street, Yau Ma Tei, T: 2723 2646
Mong Kok – 4/F, Chong Hing Square, 601 Nathan Road, T: 2780 0182
Sham Shui Po – 1/F, Golden Court, 94 Yen Chow Street, T: 2708 2777
Kwun Tong – 7/F, One Pacific Centre, 414 Kwun Tong Road, T: 2770 6333
Causeway Bay – 6/F, Causeway Bay Plaza II, 463-483 Lockhart Road, T: 2573 9090
Winter Melon Hot Pot – 冬瓜盅火鍋
Yes, it’s just like it sounds. You hot pot out of a winter melon! Essentially, 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 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 in 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.
Poplar Street (白楊街) and Tai Nan Street (大南街), Prince Edward
Chicken Hot Pot – 66 Hot Pot 陸陸雞煲火鍋
In the past 4-5 years, chicken hot pot has really taken off but rumors say that the first restaurant that served it was in Hung Hom. So what is it? It’s a half or whole bone-in chicken cooked in spices, usually of the numbing variety, along with other herbs which is then brought out to your table for consumption. You eat the chicken first and then add broth to the pot to continue to your hot pot part of the journey. The broth becomes super tasty and your hot pot ingredients also absorb the flavor.
We specifically recommend the BB spice level (you can pick different levels) at 66 Hot Pot because we find it to be just spicy enough to get our senses tingling but not overwhelming. Also, we’re not sure exactly what kind of spices they cook their chicken with but it’s not as numbingly spicy as a lot of Sichuan spice tends to be.
Hands down, one of our favorite 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 their variety of different balls (squid ink, lobster, fish, black pepper beef, pork and mushroom, cheese, crab roe, just to name a few).
66 Hot Pot 陸陸雞煲火鍋
G/F, 33 Nelson Street, Mong Kok, T: 2392 4966
16 Pak Po Street, Mong Kok, T: 2363 8466
Fish – Happy Family Restaurant 前家樂
Along with the other innovations on the classic hot pot, fish hot pot has also become a trendy new thing to do. This is definitely different than the other because the fish is first roasted and then put in a long shallow pan (imagine a baking sheet but just deep enough to fit a whole fish) with the broth. In this variation, you can also pick the flavor of the broth but our favorite is with the pickled vegetables. Contrary to the chicken hot pot, you can simultaneously eat the fish and hot pot with the broth at the same time. I do find it a little harder to cook the ingredients because the pan is shallow and doesn’t always allow the piece of food to be completely submerged.
Of the variety of ingredients, we specifically recommend the pork and mushroom balls and sweet corn.
Happy Family Restaurant 前家樂
G/F., 119 Ivy Street, Tai Kok Tsui
T: 3486 6286
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Hong Konnovation. Stay warm!
Want to explore Hong Kong through the eyes of a Local? Book your next journey now at www.SamtheLocal.com/locals.
Hong Konnovation is a series of blog posts that highlights Hong Kong’s unique ability to innovation on traditional things and their love for variety. Stay tuned for more posts, and if you have suggestions for a Hong Konnovation topic, please email [email protected].