Okay, so back to the food posts! I love food if you haven’t noticed by now, but more than anything I love relating with people through food. I love describing food, and I love experiencing culture through food. Perhaps that is why I love HOT POT because it’s an interactive cultural food experience that is worth describing!
Hot pot is the quintessential meal for people to gather around a good meal and socialize with one another. It is a communitive experience. Basically, there is a boiling pot of soup in the middle of the table and centered around the pot is a wide range of different types of veggies, cuts of meats, noodles, dumplings, you name it, it’s there !
Just a quick clarification- Hot pot is not a meal most people eat along, nor the type of meal good for a quick fix to feel full. It is a process (so respect the process my friend) because it is worth every second. The best way to have the best experience is to go with a local who can order all the different side dishes. Also, if your particularly worried about germs and other people’s germ, you might find hot pot a little revolting at first because in hot pot it is family style and everyone’s chopsticks dips into the soup throughout the meal. However the soup is pretty hot, so I guess bacteria and germs kind of boil away. I’m not sure if this is just bad logic, but it makes me feel better.
Anywhoo, I came up with a list of three of my favorite hot pot places in Shanghai! These are Haidilao, Faigo, and Holy Cow. All three of these places have more than one location.It would have been four, but a few days ago my little hole in the wall spot for lamb hot pot that served pineapple beer and thick soy gravy lamb soup has been torn down and is officially out of business. I had a feeling that this place would not make it, and my suspicions were correct when my friends and I tried to go their for lunch. We were so sad that my friend Jazmine said, ” we needed a moment of silence.” That’s the thing about Shanghai, one day a shop or restaurant exist, the next day it’s a new shop as if the other establishment never existed. Even if it made it to the list, the restaurant didn’t even have a signage or name.
So for each of the places that I list, I will write a description of the place and list some pros and cons about each establishment.
First off, I was so happy when we saw the greeter at the top of the escalator! I was shocked because I do not normally expect good service in most Chinese restaurants. As soon as you sit a waiter will bring you the iPad so you can order the side dishes. There are images, so it’s relatively easy to order food. I was a little disappointed that there was not a huge meat selection. We ordered the half spicy and half clear broth with medicinal herbs. I did not touch the hot side, but my friend had eaten a peppercorn and it was so hot she switched over to the light milk side. Everything was really yummy, nothing extraordinary, but good decent hotpot. Oh yea, if you order noodles, a chef will come out and hand pull the noodles in front of the guest and perform some ninja noodle skills.
Our waiter helped us cook some of our food in the beginning, but afterward we were able to make it on our own. I particularly liked is the build-a-sauce bar. Also, the bar had a few other cold side dishes and fruit. I had like three bowls of this shredded tofu noddle salad. It was so light and cooling and a great contrast to the hot pot. I went during lunch hour so we had a table right away. However, I heard from friends that during dinner time it’s not unusual to wait for a hour or two to be seated.
1)Easy to Order
2)Easy to get too -Right across of the metro station Dapuqiao exit 2 line 9. (this is the one I visited)
3)Great condiment bar
4)Great place for spicy hot pot
5)Great place to bring friends who are coming to visit Shanghai
1)Typically long waiting time
2)Not to many meat selections to pick from
I have eaten here three times now, and each experience has been a unique one. I would recommend this place for people who want the hot pot experience but are like really weary of sharing a pot with others and want their own personal hot pot. Faiguo offers a huge selection of different soup base ranging from ginseng chicken- tom yum flavored soup. I have never had a problem of waiting. The service is okay. All the servers communicate only in Mandarin. I like that this place has many selections of meats and vegetables. Faigo also has a special glass display that houses the different type of mushrooms in a specific temperature. The meat is quite fresh and has great marbling. They also have a huge seafood selection which I think is quite nice, if you want less of the fatty meats. I think if you do choose to eat seafood, I think it can get quite pricy.
1)Wide range of soup bases
2)Personalized Hot pots
3)Fresh selection of seafood and marble meats
4)Easy to get to – 5F of Star Live mall on top of Shuicheng Lu metro station exit 1 , line 10. (this is the one I visited)
5)Not a long wait time to be seated
2)Smaller portion size than most hot places
3)Hard to order if you cannot speak Mandarin
Okay, so this place is made for meat lovers!!! If you think that the cut of meat is the highlight of the meal, this is the place for you. Holy Cow is known for the freshest meat. The meat is cut-to-order. You can actually watch the chef slice the meat on the meat slicer. The meat is raw & red (in the good way). They deliver all your meats and side dishes in a cart. Alike Haidialo, it also has a huge selection of sauce condiments. However, I think it would be an overwhelming experience for a person to make their own sauces if it is their first hot pot experience. They also have great service. However, most of the waiters communicate in Mandarin. You can order by checking the boxes. The good news is that under the Chinese description there is also English.
I think this is a great place to have an event. I had my birthday here with my friends, and they loved the exclusivity and atmosphere and of course the meat! They also offer private rooms or comfy round cushion booths. It’s a perfect place for a date night. My boyfriend and I had a four person booth that overlooked the busy lighted streets of Shanghai. Both times, I made reservations but I think it doesn’t really matter.
1)Fresh cut meat made to order
2)A huge selection of condiments
3)Great for events and parties
4)Easy to get to- Right outside of Weining Lu, exit 3, line 2 at the Bingo mall 3F
1)Not the best place to take a vegetarian
These are my three recommendations for hot pot in Shanghai. I hope this was an informative post! Thanks again for reading my post. Please feel free to comment and message me. Until next time my foodie lovers ……