Chinese Hotpot Downtown
I have never had Chinese Hotpot in Toronto (though lots in Asia) and have some friends coming to town who are dying to have it (they are french and refer to it as Fondue Chinoise). Unfortunately we are transportation hindered and will have to stay downtown. Looking for recommendations and opinions.
I have had hotpot at Lucky Dragon (west side of Spadina, just south of College). Vegetable stock as the cooking ingredient. Plates of beef, lamb, chicken, shrimp, squid, tofu, fish balls (must come from very large fish), bean sprouts, and other stuff I can't remember. $20 IIRC. Endless refills of all items with a couple of exceptions (again, can't recall but I think shrimp is one). Mix your own dipping sauce using soy sauce, chili paste, rice vinegar, hoisin, and other condiments.
Pretty good and satisfied three strapping lads.
If you can make it down to Scarborough/Markham, the best hot pot place is called Flavor King Szechuan Hot Pot Restaurant, 4186 Finch Ave East, Unit 22. It is incredibly authentic, and spicy. My friends that have all lived in China for more than 3 years say that bar none it is the best in Toronto (and they make the trip down the DVP pretty much every weekend for it - they are addicted). Medium is crazy spicy, mouth numbing, with a base of chicken stock, loaded with peppers and sichuan peppercorns.
It is AYCE for less than $20, and beer is super cheap. Best ingredient: the cabbage absorbs the spices the most, but the potato, tofu noodles and white radish are my faves! My boyfriend really likes the sausage and pork. Dipping sauces were sesame oil and garlic, tahini (my fave), or soy.
You should be aware that there are different types of Chinese hot pot.
- Cantonese (southern China / Hong Kong) - Usually a large pot shared by everyone; common soup bases are plain stock, satay, coriander & 1000-year eggs, chili, etc.; any ingredients go, although most popular is fatty beef & different meat balls; sauce is a mix of ingredients, sometimes with a raw egg to "reduce the temperature" - I believe Fondue Village at Yonge & Bloor & the one on Baldwin serve this style.
- Northern Chinese ("boiled mutton") - Usually a large pot with "chimney"; common soup base is plain stock; primary ingredient is lamb / mutton; sauce is a mix of many ingredients - Have not seen a lot of these around Toronto.
- Szechuan - As most szechuan cuisine, the name of the game is hot chili, and the authentic ones use a type of pepper that has numbing effect - The one near the Kensington Market parkade is Szechuan style so make sure you can stand the heat.
- Taiwan / Japan - Taiwanese & Japanese hot pot uses shabu shabu style, with one small pot per person; each person can choose their soup base, and ingredients usually come in one-person servings - I can remember any restaurants downtown doing this, but I Cook & Rolling Pots on Steeles are good choices.
Of course, there are many more types of hot pots but this should keep you busy for a while? Have fun with Chinese hot pots!
also, they have great selection of AYCE ingredients and soups. the service is quick too. all the burners/stoves cook by convection so it's cool to the touch (no more sweating from the heat of the gas flame) and a smooth black surface on the table. everybody gets their own pot to cook soup in.
also they have a sauce station that you can mix your own sauces with minced garlic, seseme seed oil, chili oil, hot peppers, corriander, green onions, bbq sauce, soy sauce, vineger, chive sauce, fish sauce, egg, etc.and a free drink station!
everything is unlimited!! very clean place. one of my faves
if you go during the day it's around $19 a person but you also get sushi i think on the weekends.
actuallt there is a hot pot in china town.
the waiter does not speak any english (well sort off)
west side of spadina (about two blocks north of dundas) (one block after the peral rest. dim sum). (its on the same side street as the muti level parking arcade enter.)
he normally has a sandwich sign out front
not bad, buffet and reviewed by the globe and mail
I can't help you with the Chinese hot pot, but most Japanese restaurants do hot pots as well. There are often two choices: sukiyaki or shabu shabu. One has a sweeter broth, the other a more savoury broth. They are usually served with a platter of thinly sliced meat and veggies, very much like chinese hot pot (which I grew up with, but have never had in Toronto).