Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
May 10, 2012 09:14 AM

Hou Yi Hot Pot Restaurant

I was on Eldridge St. eating at one of those fishball/dumpling spots and saw this restaurant called Hou Yi, which advertises hot pot. I couldn't find any info on it via Yelp, Menupages, etc. Has anyone been? It's a couple of stores from Vanessa's Dumpling House.

Hou Yi
112 Eldridge St.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. it changed names from M Tasty to Hou Yi, but i think its the same ownership (used to sell sushi too), but it gets ok reviews on yelp, i havent tried it yet...supposedly owned by some taiwanese people

    25 Replies
    1. re: Lau

      Thanks Lau - always in the know about Chinatown. I was actually trying out the fish balls and dumplings from the 118 Eldridge place based on your recent review when I saw this hot pot place.

      1. re: deepfry7

        oh yah its like right down the street

        how'd u like the dumplings?

        1. re: Lau

          Solid - with the dumpling sauce and sriracha on the table. But I actually enjoyed the fish balls with pork a little bit more. Nice small lunch for me.

            1. re: Lau

              I was in that area on sunday and spotted both places. I just did a search and found this thread.

              First, the hot pot place offers a full page of stinky tofu dishes. Pretty amazing. And I get a much better than "fair" vibe, though i didn't actually try anything.

              I did have a bite at Fu Zhou Cuisine place up the block, which I think is the 118 Eldridge place being discussed (small corner place, very barebones, nothing over about $4?). I had some very good Fu Zhou meat-in-glutinous-rice balls. Nearly as good as the vaunted Ah Ping Snack Bar back in the day.

              1. re: Jim Leff

                i ate there the other day....its decent, meat quality is ok, other stuff is pretty decent, broth is pretty good; downside is sauce selection sucks. ill write a full report later

                also it is ridiculously cheap

                1. re: Lau

                  Maybe my chow-dar is off. But no one's mentioned the stinky tofu stuff, which seems like the thrust of the restaurant. Alas, I can't try that myself because it's one of the few things I absolutely can't eat...

                  1. re: Jim Leff

                    i didnt even see it on the menu or see anyone order it when i went, but i also wasnt looking

                    i dont like the soup-y version of stinky tofu although i love the fried version...that said i dont even bother in the US usually bc they dont get it right at all, u have to have it in taiwan

                    1. re: Lau

                      As I said above, stinky tofu stuff occupies an entire page of the menu.

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        hmm must have two menus bc the hot pot menu i dont even remember seeing it

                        1. re: Lau

                          Items C1 thru C22 are under the title "Crispy Smelled Bean Curd". It's literally most of the menu.

                          1. re: Lau

                            The "crispy smelled bean curd" takes up almost the whole back of the one-page laminated hot pot menu. I thought about getting it, but went with the seafood combo hot pot instead - very nice. Medium spicy was just right for me. Good broth, not too salty, noodles a tad softer than I like them, extremely generous portion. There's a sign advertising an all-you-can-eat buffet for $22, also - anyone had that? It must be an evening thing; I was there for lunch and there was no sign of it.

                            1. re: small h

                              i got that when i was there, im pretty sure you guys were looking at different menu or something bc mine just had hot pot options on it but i knew i was getting the AYCE before i even sat down. its ridiculously cheap bc it includes drinks too, so you can take as many drinks as you want too

                              1. re: Lau

                                Is the AYCE a cook-it-yourself thing? It seems like it from foodiemom10583's post, downthread. My lunch was a big bowl of noodle soup, which arrived at the table already prepared. Not what I would call hot pot, ordinarily, but I figured the same person who came up with "crispy smelled bean curd" must have named it that.

                                1. re: small h

                                  yah its a do it yourself hot pot

                                  the noodle soup wasnt on my menu, in fact there was nothing besides hot pot options (beef, pork, fish balls etc etc)

                                  1. re: Lau

                                    The noodle soup was called hot pot, is my point. The menu I saw had two categories, hot pots and side dishes. But all the things called hot pots were actually noodle soups. Assorted beef hot pot, seafood combination hot pot, etc. You choose the spice level and the type of noodle.

                                    1. re: small h

                                      no this didnt have different hot pots, you just picked broth and meats / veg / fish balls etc

                                      1. re: Lau

                                        I think maybe the restaurant has two different menus, a day one and a night one. Or it changes depending on who walks in. It's the Matrix!

                                        1. re: small h

                                          haha well i was actually wondering bc when we first walked in, i saw a few solo diners eating noodle soups and i also saw people getting it to go, but then when i looked at my menu i didnt see any, so i figured there were two menus bc i told the lady as soon as i walked in that i walked hot pot specifically

                  2. re: Jim Leff

                    Jim Leff - try their shui jiao (steamed dumplings) next time, I think they have the best dumplings in chinatown. i pick up from this place like once a week as its pretty close to where i live. also they will give u a free (and very tasty) clear soup if u ask them when u order dumplings


                    1. re: Lau

                      Didn't love the clear soup, but I may lack the nostalgia prep. Will definitely have at those dumplings. Thanks.

                      1. re: Jim Leff

                        did they put vinegar in it? sometimes they forget and its not nearly as good without the vinegar

                        1. re: Lau

                          Yeah, that was missing.. Maybe it's another of the great things (e.g. foo yee/foo roo) gringos are assumed not to like. I'll try to work it......

                        2. re: Jim Leff

                          Tried the dumplings. LIked them a lot, but surprised you did. Thick skin, and not much bright ginger flavor makes them almost guilty-pleasure dumplings. OTOH, it might be a Fu Zhou thing....I know the cuisine reasonably well, but am not well calibrated re: their dumplings.

                          Have you tried to get entrance into the tempting-looking private club/restaurant just around the corner on Broome?

                          1. re: Jim Leff

                            i like them alot, they are very home style dumplings and i find them very good much better than most of the dumplings in chinatown. i also don't think the skins are super thick? btw i mean some style of dumplings are supposed to have thicker skin (most northern style dumplings use a much thicker skin although clearly fuzhou is in the south

                            did you get the sauce they give you with it? the semi-sweet sauce, that is also part of it that i think that sauce goes very well with it as well, sriracha is too overpowering for that style of dumplings

                            re: club - broome and what street?

          1. Had an awesome experience there today. We had the AYCE with combo broth. I removed most of the peppers from the spicy side after the first ten minutes so it wouldn't be overwhelming for us. Everything was delicious, particularly the larger fishballs. Not sure if they were Hong Kong-style or Fujianese since we ordered both. The vegetables were pristine. Loved the lamb, though the beef was good as well. The squid dumplings were, well, squiddy. Delicious if you're a squid fan.

            The tea in the fridge was a revelation. I wondered why there were bubble tea straws available with the sodas. The intensely-flavored, home-made "sweet tea" was so refreshing and soothing. What we thought were loose tea leaves were actually gelatinous blobs of tea-y goodness. We could've emptied their fridge of these if not for the delicious hot pot on which we gorged ourselves.

            Being about as gringo as they come, we were nervous about the service. However, we had the most adorable waitress who couldn't have tried harder to make us comfortable. As more staff came in, each was as sweet as the first. The owner/manager was visible and vigilant. Even one of the cooks came out and explained a little about the tea when we were looking at it.

            All in all, this was one of the best Chinatown restaurant experiences I've ever had. I can imagine that it could get packed to the gills on evenings and weekends.

            4 Replies
            1. re: foodiemom10583

              its a winter melon tea if you're talking about the dark one in the clear cups (it only says it in chinese in the fridge)

              the fishballs were the fujian ones if they had meat in the middle or the HK style ones if not

              1. re: Lau

                Thank you, Lau! I've been thinking about the tea all day. I'm hoping I can get something similar at the Chinese section of H Mart in Hartsdale or Kam Sen in White Plains.

                Yes, the fishballs were stuffed with (I assume) pork and were outstanding. Now I know which ones to order again when I take the family. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise!

                1. re: foodiemom10583

                  look for the cans you see in this wiki article...its an herbal tea that is slightly different than the one you had, but very similar in taste. its pretty common and you should be able to find it in any chinese super market and there is a chance that you'll find it in other asian supermarkets (although much less likely). look at the characters and the can bc it doesnt say anything in english


            2. Hey, does anyone know the hours of this place? I'm thinking of trying it out but I'm not sure how late it will be open until on a Friday night.

              1. When we arrived tonight just after 7pm the entire restaurant was full. They only have 8 tables. A few of them were eating noodle soups and such.

                They immediately asked if we wanted hot pot or noodles, so as to figure out what menu to give us. The wait was about 30 minutes. They take your cell phone and call you. During this time, I saw some other people get takeout from the other, non-hot pot menu.

                The hot pot itself was solid; we got a combo. Came with goji berries, scallions, and some napa cabbage already inside the pot. Spicy broth not as good as Szechuan Gourmet. Also: very, very spicy. Almost aggressively spicy. And we only ordered the medium spicy. Ended up picking some hot peppers out.

                Liked the pork and beef. The lamb was OK -- not fatty enough. Blue crab tasted a little fishy to me. Enoki mushrooms were really good and a generous portion. Got some watercress, tofu skin, and fried tofu, too. No lotus root available, though.

                Here's a photo of the menu:

                Hot pot here has a 2 person minimum. AYCE for 2 hours. $22.95. Children under 2 feet tall eat free, children under 4.5 feet eat for $12.50.

                3 Replies
                1. re: kathryn

                  My experience was nearly the same as kathryn's.

                  We ordered the combo hot pot, with medium spicy on one side. I felt that the broth itself was not particularly spicy but the thick layer of chili oil on top ended up coating everything in a film of hot oil. I eventually ended up cooking most of the food in the non-spicy side and then dipping it in the chili oil on the spicy side.

                  The beef was quite nice and fatty, and while the lamb didn't have as much fat, it had a nice lamb-y flavor that was a pleasant leaner protein option. The watercress was well picked and fresh as well.

                  It was also nice to have the beverages included in the price, especially the house-made herbal tea. It was a refreshing counterpoint to the fatty proteins that we helped ourselves to generously.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Thanks for the review; I'd been meaning to write up mine and just never got around to it.

                    Got there around 6P and the restaurant had a few occupied tables. Were seated right next to the drinks fridge so refilling our drinks was quite easy. Really appreciated the homemade drinks they had; I think I liked their dongguacha (winter melon tea which is very very sweet, but perfect for cooling the burn).

                    We got the spiciest spicy with herbal as our other side. The waitress asked if we were sure and we said yes. Two of the four bowed out right away after we all coughed after eating the first ingredient. My friend and I soldiered on, as it was one of the spiciest hot pots I've had the pleasure/discomfort of ordering and certainly the spiciest I've had in a New York restaurant. We had generous portions of the following: beef, beef stomach, beef tripe, lamb, pig intestines and the streaky pork; fish, shrimp, blue crab, both Fujian and Hong Kong fish balls, and squid dumplings; watercress, taro, lotus, mushroom, fried tofu and frozen tofu; all the sauces.

                    The broths didn't have great depth, but the mala side was a lesson in self-induced masochism. After an hour of cooking and multiple dilutions with the herbal broth, it was quite tasty. Beef, pork, tripe, intestines, fish, fishballs, squid dumplings, taro, lotus, and frozen tofu were all quite good. Fresh watercress and mushrooms. Shrimp were quite large and semi-thawed. We were done eating in about 90 minutes and almost all tables were occupied by then. Good value with terrible and almost immediate consequences, so maybe I'd return.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      One more thing to note: the plates they give you are plastic and small. They never offered us fresh ones.

                      Also whenever the door opened a blast of arctic air rushes in. Almost everybody was eating with their winter coats on.

                    2. Spotted a (seemingly) new hot pot on 31 Division St. Has anyone been?

                      Still haven't been to Hou Yi. Don't really frequent Eldridge St. that often - I'm more in "main" Chinatown.