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Aug 1, 2007 11:47 AM

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot coming to San Mateo

Not sure when, but the only other official location at Union City might know the opening date. As I drove by the other day the signage was already up.

It will be at 215 Ellsworth, across the street from Walgreens.

The Asian Gourmet free circulation July/Aug 07 edition has a huge feature article on the successful chain and a background on the CEO, with over 700 locations worldwide, several in Canada, and now 2 in the Bay Area. Supposedly in China this place outsells Mickey D's and The Colonels Fried goodness.

Looks like the former "Little Sheep" hot pot in Milpitas was a fake/imitation, and they have since changed their name.

According to the article, Little Sheep uses a herbal soup base that consists of dried longan (guei yuen), goji berry, and up to 10 more Chinese herbals for the base flavor.

Looking forward to trying their hand made meatballs, beef slices for hot pot (yes available), Mongolian beef pancake and Mongolian style noodles. This should be interesting also for those who don't like lamb/mutton for its gamey texture, although they say the hot pot herbal broth will help remove that taste.

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  1. Just called the Union City location and asked. The San Mateo location will open in late September.

    1. did you know on Tuesday' - they offer an all you can eat buffet, its fantastic!
      We have been going all last month, not sure if they are continuing to offer this
      great buffet deal...

      3 Replies
      1. re: Rina

        Rina, are you referring to the Union City location? All you can eat sounds good....hopefully they will offer that at San Mateo too.

        1. re: Rina

          they dont have the AYCE promotion anymore : (

          1. re: Rina

            In honor of the Beijing Olympics, San Mateo is running the AYCE deal for $17.99 per person, two-person minimum, and 1.5 hours maximum time on Tuesdays until August 31.

          2. The ones in China offer a choice between the mild (medicinal) broth and a spicy one, and I assume they'd do the same here. You can also get both broths at once in a "Yin Yang" pot.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Gary Soup

              I'm sure the spicy broth would have a medicinal base as well (Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations episode where he goes to Sichuan, the mala hotpot he had was a mix of medicinal herbs with a load of hwajiao/peppercorns). I'm sure the crowds will have gotten bored of Shabuway around the corner by the time this place opens ;-).

              1. re: K K

                The one is Union City has medicinal herbs for both spicy and non-spicy. And yes, they also offer the ying/yang pot (both kinds with a divider in the middle).

                1. re: vliang

                  Now that you guys jogged have my memory, I do recall the medicinal things visible in the spicy broth. Fortunately, the chilis masked out any medicinal flavors (and everything else0. We alway go for the ying/yang pot in the interest of family harmony (even when we do huo guo at home).

                  The ones we get in China look pretty much like this picture:


                  1. re: Gary Soup

                    Just had it in Hong Kong. This is a huge addition to Bay Area eating.

                    1. re: SarahKC

                      For sure in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, they source their lambs to somewhere in Mongolia (?) that is supposedly a government preserve (according to the article I read) ie hopefully no pollution of any sort, for the best quality lamb and raising/breeding practices. I'm hoping they use a similar source (or identical) for the Union City and soon to be San Mateo locations.

                      So who has the downlow on how the fake Little Sheep in Milpitas got busted and changed their name/logo? Or was that discussed already in a thread I missed?

                      1. re: K K

                        In a Kaiser clinic, of all places, I picked up a September issue of Asian Restaurant News, which had been donated for the waiting rooms. The article on Little Sheep's business said that the Little Sheep name was trademarked, but that confusion in its translation had already led to some problems.
                        The article noted that the Union City shop is called "Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot," and the business cards of its management team, the parent company is called "Inner Mongolian Little Lamb USA Corp." And, on the place set desciption of the restaurant, the company is called "Inner Mongolia Little Sheep Catering Chain Co."
                        It also said that Little Sheep uses New Zealand lamb in the U.S. because of "import regulations on raw materials," and that the meat from China is not ready yet for import, according to the Union City manager, Daniel Huang.

            2. Little fat sheep is already open! Drove by today to check and saw people eating with the steamy windows, and the sign says OPEN. will try it this weekend and see if its just as good as the original.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Rina

                As with any Chinese place, I say give them a month to work out the kinks and for the crowds who must try the latest and greatest, to die out.

                But thanks for the report that they're finally open!

                1. re: K K

                  It shouldn't take long to work out the kinks (other than hardware and logistics) since it's such a formulaic approach to a meal. (This is probably why most reports have found Xiao Feiyang's hot pot meals nearly identical and as good at US outlets as in China.)

                  In any event, the traditional start of hot pot season in China is the first day of winter ("li dong") which falls on November 8 this year, so it will be about 5 days left before I will get the urge :-)

              2. wow! thanks for the info. can't wait to try!

                1 Reply
                1. re: ExtraCheese

                  I went today. I was *shocked* at how modern and trendy the decor was! From a distance, it could be mistaken for some trendy spot in the mission.

                  The staff and service was great. Water glass was never empty, only needed to make eye contact to get their attention, etc. We got the half/half broth, I'd say that the broth here is better than Sheep King down on 22nd ave in San Mateo. All the ingredients we got for the hotpot were of excellent quality and pretty well prepared.

                  I didn't get a chance to try any of the non-hotpot items on the menu, but I definitely plan to go back. Although it is a chain, I think it's a great addition to downtown San Mateo.