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Jan 22, 2012 10:11 PM

wu ji mala vs. hot pot palace buffet?

Hey all!

Just moved to the peninsula 4 months ago from North Carolina.

Can any of you Chowhounds help me decide the best place to eat hot pot close-ish to Palo Alto? I'm not adverse to going into the city, but it seems like Cupertino/ San Jose would have better bets.

I've turned up Wuji Ma la and Hot Pot Palace but both seem to do personal hot pots, not big share-ing dishes. Any advice?

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  1. Little Sheep mongolian hot pot has locations in cupertino and san mateo. L..S. is owned by yum brands (kfc)
    family loved the one in union city. i didn't go...

    7 Replies
    1. re: shanghaikid

      i definitely recommend LS. It's more pricey than typical hot pot. but you get what yo pay for. high quality ingredients. Fantastic soup bases. clean comfortable environment.

      1. re: shanghaikid

        Now that's interesting news. Feel like I should run over to Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in San Mateo for one last time before it changes. San Mateo serves cocktails and has more contemporary ambience.

        P.S. I suspect the broth has too much MSG for your tastes.

        Little Sheep
        34396 Alvarado Niles Rd, Union City, CA 94587

        Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
        215 S Ellsworth Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

        WuJi Mala House
        1715 Lundy Ave, San Jose, CA 95131

        Little Sheep
        19062 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          wow, i'm surprised it's taken so long. this was announced mid last year

          1. re: drewskiSF

            Saw that piece on the group's website. Anti-trust regulators in China didn't give the green light until November. And I read that Yum already had a 30% stake in Little Sheep, so maybe won't change as much as I feared at least not at existing locations. Will be interesting to see how the hot pot concept expands into new markets.

            Has anyone tried the Cupertino location?

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              that's the one we go to. it's great. Almost too "trendy" to me, as the music can get a little bit loud.

              1. re: FattyDumplin

                Thanks, FD. I looked up my old post on the San Mateo branch,, and at that time, its decor/ambience was unique in the chain and referred to as "new concept". Sounds like Cupertino is cut from a similar mold for Asian hipsters.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  definitely, this is not hte little sheep of old. i remember going to one in the LA area about 5 years ago and that was much more old school. we were shocked when we walked into the cupertino branch hte first time.

      2. The good thing about the Northern California branches of Little Sheep is that they have two new broths, pickled sour cabbage (with mung bean noodles), and pork rib with lotus root, both quite excellent and good alternatives to the msg ladened original broth. San Mateo branch is very good overall, at least surpassed the service, ambiance, and ventilation in San Diego location.

        3 Replies
        1. re: K K

          interesting so those two new broths have no MSG? good to know. we also hit the SD location. it was high quality for hot pot, but as you said, not as nice as the Norcal versions.

          1. re: FattyDumplin

            Well I'm pretty sure all of them have msg or some form of flavoring or another, can't really prove it. The original broth can be a tad bit salty at times.

            1. re: K K

              Gotcha, I think i read too much into your post, which I took to mean the new ones were not MSG laden. Which would be a great thing.