Whenever my Singapore friends come to visit, a Hong Kong hotpot is never far from their list of things to do. I have to say, before I moved to Hong Kong, my knowledge about what makes a good hotpot dinner was woefully inadequate. And then I went to say that New Star Hotpot is the best place to have hotpot in Hong Kong.
Oh, the atrocity!
I have misled you, my dear readers. But since then, I have been to many, many more hotpot places and if you are to ask me now where to get a good Hong Kong hotpot, I can tick them off with my fingers.
But the point of this blog post isn’t as much to tell you where to find good Hong Kong hotpot (there are simply too many of them). I would like to share with you some of the most unusual ingredients I have came across that were used in hotpots here. This is, of course, relative. If you come from a city like Taipei with a strong hotpot culture, this list shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Yet if you are a Westerner visiting Hong Kong, then let’s just say what I am about to tell you can be quite an acquired taste.
That’s quite a strange name for a shellfish. Geoduck is a species of very large, edible, saltwater clam originated from North America. It’s can taste rubbery and chewy, yet surprisingly exotic especially when dipped in the Hong Kong hotpot sauces.
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I think I have a slight addiction to the hot pot at He Jiang. When I saw this deal on Groupon, I just couldn’t resist. It was a hotpot set for four, plus a bottle of Spanish wine, all for some $500+.
Quite a steal, right? And knowing He Jiang, I knew the deal will be limited, so I went ahead and bought the Groupon without even thinking about who will go with me.
It was a decision I don’t regret.
The dual hot pot of Chengdu hot & spicy pot and fish pot with Chinese herbs sets the tone for the night. There were rich and aromatic, which gets us going all night long.
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We meet up with Dillon and Jim on their way to Taipei. Two rounds of drinks at our beloved Pavilion sets the mood of the night right. I finally found the key to get Dillon blabbering all night long. Oh, it is so much fun!
Then we head to He Jiang Restaurant at Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong. It is certainly the right choice – the location is absolutely convenient and the service is impeccable, so different from the recent hotpot experience we had not days ago.
The daredevils in us opt for the fiery Sichuan hotpot, and it lives up to its name. The broth is certainly spicy, with a peppery level which might be unsuitable for some, but it delights us all the same.
The ingredients we choose, which include the hot pot set for $588 plus additional dishes such as taro, goose intestine and beef go right down a treat. Unlike the usual Sichuan-style hotpot, this doesn’t numb our lips, and that certainly lead to a disaster – we order endless rounds of food. Plus wine and beer.
Certainly a night to remember. And you know what they said about that ring of fire? A lesson learned, but it is indeed a “mistake” worth repeating!
Since moving to Hong Kong, I have grown to love hotpot aka steamboat aka the best invention of Hong Kong food, ever. It is not like there wasn’t any steamboat (or hotpot) in Singapore, but they are really far, far inferior when compared to their Hong Kong counterpart.
I have a few favorites. One of them is New Star Seafood Steamboat, which was my first hotpot discovery and I loved it to death because of its endless all-you-can-eat buffet, which include beer! And then I went a little high end and tried the Golden Valley Restaurant, which earned thumbs-up from round the table but at close to $400 per pax for ten shared dishes, it is not something you can indulge in often.
Which was why, when Roast Pot (南燒北鍋) came along, I sighed with relief.
For Roast Pot fall squarely in between New Star and Golden Valley. The food variety and quality are much better than New Star, and price was it was way below of what you would pay at Golden Valley. Now come to think of it, I think I have been to Roast Pot for at least five times in the past half a year.
Yes, five times! Is it a wonder why my waistline never fall below 30″?
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Hotpot has got to be the best invention of Chinese cuisine. There are so many ways of doing a pot – from experimenting with different broths to dumping anything edible into it – that at every turn, you bound to be surprised.
I thought my hotpot discovery was excellent, until Sichuan hotpot dropped a fiery bomb onto my radar. My (hotpot) life will never the same again.
Golden Valley Restaurant was like a throw back to ancient times, when Hong Kongers revel in all things gold plated, and thick carpeting with swirly patterns commanded a mortgage to install. Located at Emperor Hotel (which is literally two minutes from my door step), it was a restaurant fit for a king.
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I never considered myself as a fan of steamboat… or hotpot, as it is commonly known in Hong Kong. In Malaysia and Singapore, the choices of hotpot outlets were somewhat limited. Had it not been because of their eat-all-you-can style, I don’t think I would have ventured to any of these establishments.
That perception changed after I moved to Hong Kong, as I discovered the joy and delight of New Star Seafood Restaurant (新星海鮮酒家) outlet located at Mongkok.
Despite its name, majority of its patrons were there for their hotpot every night.
(Side note: Subsequently I went to a few other good, if not better, hotpot places here, but New Star remains one of the places to go when my Singapore friends come visiting)
Why do I love it so? Here are eight good reasons:
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