Sichuan Hot Pot/Florida
I am new to Florida (orlando to be exact)
I have enjoyed reading many posts about florida chow. I am looking for a SIchuan Hot Pot somewhere in Florida. It doesn't really matter where as I will drive to go try one. I have never experienced this glorious way of eating but I really want to try it.
Any help/advice would be great.
Also any article or anything you know of that talks about varieties etc. of the hot pots or hot pot places would be great if available.
re: The Chowfather AKA sobe
I had Hot Pot at Peppers... and learned that Hot Pot is definitely not up my alley. Not because of the food, but because of my own preferences.
We were seated at a larger table at Peppers and a gas burner was brought to the table, to sit on a glass rotating table top. The hot pot was then brought out: it is a metal pot, divided in half- one side had broth-only and the other side had broth with chili oil. Several oil-based "sauces" are then brought out, accompanied by chinese bowls, a spoon and rice. The waiter then brought out an array of seafood (shrimp, blue crap, squid, scallops, maybe octopus?), some vegetables (spinach, some lettuce maybe- chinese noodles and tofu too) and frozen lamb and beef slices. There was also beef tendon and tripe that were supposedly amazing (I hate the stuff). We threw our desired food into the pot, waited for it to cook and fished it out with a basket spoon. Then- voila!- time to eat. Apparently the real treat is spooning out the broth at the end of the meal (it takes on the flavor of all the foods cooked therein) into the rice bowl, for some kind of flavored explosion. There were a lot of chinese people there, eating in the same style and, comparatively, it is supposed to be some of the best in So Fla.
But for me, Hot Pot was a hard learning experience... I didn't like the oil-based sauces, seafood is not a big favorite of mine, the chili oil was too spicy (and I was eating with some spicy folks) and the exotic foods (beef tendon) were not my speed. I think it is more of a "me" thing- the real foodies at the table, including my chinese friend, raved about the quality of the products and foods. If I had to do it over, I would still do it again, but only because the experience was original and I can say I tried it. Next time we go out for hot pot, I'm ordering off the menu. :)
re: The Chowfather AKA sobe
It's pretty good by Florida standard. But if you can make it to LA, Toronto, Vancouver or the like, the price and variety of food for the hotpot is much better. My Chinese friends and I enjoy going to Peppers. Best thing is if we get six or so people we can get the room to ourselves, make a lot of noises and sing karaoke.
There is another one Lung Gong near FIU main campus on 8th St but not as good. And Lung Gong is way spicier. Last time we asked the waitress to give us a big bowl to empty out 90% of the chili broth, then just add water in, and it was still five alarm. They also gave us the rice vermicelli and napa cabbage, so it's impossible to avoid the spices in there. My poor hubby's stomach was wrecked for a whole week after.
Sorry QTWO you didn't like the experience.
For the sauces, I remember there are a bowl of scallion, a bowl of garlic, some sesame paste, some chili paste. I don't remember them to be particularly oily though? Also I have never gotten a bowl of rice as traditionally hotpot is not eaten with rice; rather you get your starch from the dumplings or noodles: egg noodle, udon, rice noodle or konyaki noodle cooked right in the broth.
I remember a few years back there was a hot pot place in Orlando. We went there one time when we went up there for the holidays, but when we walked in we happened to see some Miami friends who also happened to be in Orlando. But they warned us the food was not good so we left, and pretty soon after that the place was gone... So I doubt there is any hot pot place in Orlando. Plus you do need a group to make it fun.
Peppers Chinese Restaurant and Lounge
9976 Pines Blvd.
Pembroke Pines, FL
The $20, all-you-can-eat hot pot menu at this disco-ball-accented Pembroke Pines restaurant find is perfect for families and small groups. The round tables are piled high with plates of thinly sliced lamb, shrimp, crab legs, bok choy, spinach, rice noodles, fish cakes, bean curd and condiments. If you're not in the mood for soup, request the Chinese menu ($7-$18) and order the slightly bitter balsa pear with sesame oil, rice-wine seasoned Kung Pao frog legs or wonderful ma po fish, fiercely spiced with fragrant Szechwan peppercorns.
11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Friday-Saturday, 3:30-10:30 p.m. Sunday