Little Sheep (review+pics)
After my first Chinese Hot Pot experience at Mon Land Hot Pot City which I really enjoyed, I was really looking forward to experiencing Little Sheep. I heard tales that the soup tastes quite medicinal, but that the various herbs and such that go into the soup are actually good for me, so off I went.
Before I even go into the food, I have to say that the service at this particular location was not very good. It took awhile for our order to be taken plus it took repeated reminders that they forgot our lamb pancakes before we got the dish and even then, we didn't get our order until towards the end of the meal when we had already gotten our check. Asking for and getting water was also a trial in itself. Service to me is a big thing and the poor service at this San Gabriel location of Little Sheep really brought my rating down.
Now on to the food. What was nice is that we got three complimentary appetizers, which were all quite tasty. We had cooked peanuts, daikon which I think was pickled and also little bread pockets. Soon after, we got our soup, half spicy, half mild.
Looking into the bowl, there definitely was a lot of stuff in there. Herbs, roots, peppers, etc. were all floating to the top. I almost asked, "Where's the Soup?" The soup did smell good and as our veggies and meat arrived, we all dug in.
Unfortunately, I didn't like the soup that much. I wanted to and I did eat my fair share of it, but that medicinal taste that I heard about really reared its ugly head. It had a tangy, somewhat bitter taste to it that just didn't appeal to my palate that much. The addition of the vegetables and meat helped somewhat with the soup's flavor, but just having a spoonful of the soup by itself was not very tasty.
At least, a highlight of the meal was the crispy scallion pancakes. Yummy! Definitely light, crispy and with great scallion flavor. I wish I could say good things about the lamb pancakes, but I found them to be very greasy, from the surface of the pancake all the way to the greasy meat inside. Yuck! Those lamb pancakes definitely were not worth the wait.
So would I go back to Little Sheep? No. While I liked some of the sides, the soup just didn't do it for me. So for now, I'm sticking with Mon Land Hot Pot City.
To see pics, go to:
227 W. Valley Blvd.
San Gabriel, CA 91776
I'm from the SGV and haven't tried this location yet. I did however eat at the one in Hong Kong and it was stellar. For me, hot pot is still one of the things best eaten at home with family and friends. Does anyone know if it's true that you can buy Little Sheep broth to go? I heard $10 for the seasoning packet????
The location in Monterey Park on Garvey is supposed to have a better broth. I've never tried the San Gabriel location, but the MP location was good. Also, the service was really good at the MP location. We were having a birthday, and they cleaned the entire table for us and was really accommodating.
I like this place (though I also have only been to the MP location), but I can see how the flavors (particularly the medicinal herb broth) might be off-putting to some.
This is an older thread, but since it got revived, it should be noted:
* BOTH "Little Sheep" locations (Monterey Park and San Gabriel) have been busted and outed as fake branches of the real Hsiao Fei Yang (Little Fat Lamb), which is why they've modified their names (slightly).
I've never tried any of the real Little Fat Lambs in Asia, but of the two fake locations here in So Cal, the Monterey Park one is better (better broth and service, IMHO). I haven't been back since they were busted, so I don't know if the quality has gone downhill or not.
I understand that many people are not used to the medicinal tastes in the soup unless you are Chinese who are used to drinking herb medicine. A friend, who used to work at Little Sheep, has told me that they don't actually make the broth the way it's supposed to be--slowly simmering for hours if not days. They simply add packets of concentrated soup powders to boiling water, then add some dried herbs. I would think in Hong Kong, they must do it the authentic way.