By Kristie Hang
It's that time of year again! Christmas songs are playing and Angelenos are doing all that they can to stay warm. Hot pots are a great way to enjoy some delicious food either by yourself with individual meals, or family style with friends. So here's your guide to the many types of hot pot available in the San Gabriel Valley!
CHINESE FAMILY STYLE HOT POT
At Lu Gi, you have the option to do all-you-can-eat hot pot or order dishes a la carte. Their meats are good quality and they have a selection of sauces for you to mix to your utmost desires.The AYCE has two set prices. You can pay either $19.99 per person or $23.99 for the premium meats. You can have up to two soup bases at once. Hot pot here is served family style with a pot in the middle. Aside from the typical ingredients, Lu Gi also has frog, egg dumplings, tempura, pig blood, udon, veggies, beef/fish balls, Enoki mushrooms, to name a few. Bonus: Buy 1 get 1 free Tsing Tao & Taiwan Beer for $5.95 on Monday - Thursday.
Lu Gi is located at 539 West Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel, (626) 457-5111
(Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
TAIWANESE HOT POT
With five locations in the SGV, Boiling Point has successfully established itself as one of the leaders of hot pot in the area. Hot pots here are all individually heated with a flame unit under each pot. Each hot pot is customized with ingredients that blend well with your particular broth.Lunch specials are a steal at $9.99, which includes a free green tea or black tea drink. Hot pot broths come with some variation of vegetables, meat, tofu, noodles, fish balls, etc. There are about 8-10 choices of hot pot broths, which include Curry flavor, Thai, Spicy Miso, Seafood, to name a few. The regular dinner price is about $13 a person. BP isn't just about hot pot. They also have lots of drinks, appetizers, and desserts. Popular sweets include their ice cream macrons and mango shaved ice topped with condensed milk. Quip: Despite the multiple locations, waits are usually 30 minutes - 1 hour.
FYI: My go-to is always the House Special, which is the hot pot with stinky tofu and coagulated blood. Don't forget to grab a stamp card so that after ten meals you get one free.
Boiling Point is located at 2020 Hacienda Boulevard in Hacienda Heights, (626) 369-0928. Other locations include Arcadia, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, and Rowland Heights.
(Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
VIETNAMESE HOT POT
Vietnamese hot pot has been one of my favorites for this cold weather. Ha Tien Quan has four shabu shabu variations. Broth choices include: Vietnamese anchovy (Mam), Thai-style Seafood hot pot, Korean-style seafood hot pot, and Sate seafood and beef hot pot. My main reason for coming here is for the Mam (Vietnamese anchovy broth) hot pot, which is not available anywhere else in San Gabriel. Mam is a very acquired taste, but if you are a fan of stinky tofu, sardines, or anchovies, then I highly suggest you give this a try. Squid, fish, eggplant, shrimp, veggies, and other ingredients are piled all around the rim of the hot pot surrounding the soup, which is then served family style. A small goes for $25 and a large is $40.
Ha Tien Quan is located at 529 East Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel, (626) 288-1896.
(Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
TAIWANESE HOT POT
If you have time to wait, Jazz Cat has tasty Taiwanese-style hot pots with an array of broths to choose from. Whether you're looking for something more traditional or more fusion-style, there's a broth for everyone. The hot pot is about $14-15 bucks an order. Each order comes with an egg, fish balls, shrimp balls, rice or noodles, a tray of veggies, and a dipping sauce of choice.
Bonus: Weekday Lunch Specials start at $9.99 and Happy Hour starts after 9:30 p.m. every night.
FYI: Carnivores can opt to order it T-Rex-style, which replaces the veggies with more meat.
Jazz Cat is located at 121 East Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel, (626) 288-5200
(Photo by Tiffany Lin)
DRY HOT POTS
Dry pot is just like your regular hot pot, but without the soup! Each dry pot has an outer area that holds the dry pot and a smaller pot inside that holds the soup. You can order plates of raw meat/veggies to cook in your little hotpot as well. the spicy meats that cook on the outside rim. The best part of the dry pot is at the end of the meal when the potatoes and veggies end up soaked in all juices. Duo-Pot also carries more unique meats such as frog legs and intestines for those more adventurous eaters. The broth is made of pork bone, which is a great contrast to the spicy meats that cook on the outside rim.
The best part of the dry pot is at the end of the meal when the potatoes and veggies end up soaked in all juices. Duo-pot also carries more unique meats such as frog legs and intestines for those more adventurous eaters. Lazy eaters, rejoice! Duo-pot delivers. You can order Duo-Pot online to be delivered to your house at chowlo.com
Bonus: New Duo-Pot location in Rowland Heights will be opening soon.
Duo-Pot is located at 1228 South Golden West Avenue in Arcadia, (626) 446-6933.
(Photo via Tokyo Shabu Shabu's Facebook page.)
JAPANESE AND FUSION SHABU
There are three Tokyo Shabu Shabus in the San Gabriel Valley: Rowland Heights, Monterey Park, and Pasadena. TSS offers traditional Japanese shabu shabu in a water broth and also an array of flavorful broths. They have selections of high-quality meats like Kobe Wagyu Beef, Certified Angus Beef, Kurobuta Berkshire Pork, Free Range Jidori Chicken, and Seafood.Each order comes with vegetables, noodles, and dipping sauces. They have a kobe beef lunch special for $9.99. Tokyo Shabu Shabu also offers set menus for two for $39.99, which includes your choice of an appetizer, drinks, a choice of 2 large shabu shabus, and your choice desserts.
Bonus: Happy Hour is everyday before 6:30 p.m. and after 9 p.m. Their specials include: $1 beers, $12 medium kobe beef, $3 Gyoza, and $3 house chicken wings. They also have a good selection of Japanese and Taiwanese beers.
Tokyo Shabu Shabu is located at 141 North Atlantic Boulevard in Monterey Park, (626) 282-6795
(Photo by Bill L.)
MONGOLIAN-STYLE HOT POT
Hot Pot Hot Pot serves Mongolian-style shabu shabu. For those unfamiliar, Mongolian broth is filled with spices like cumin, which may taste like a Chinese herbal flavor if you are not accustomed to it. There's an extensive amount of ingredients to choose from for your soup, including a variety of mushrooms, seafood, chicken, beef, pork, fish, lamb, noodles, and tofu. The veggies and meats are all under $4. They have four sauces: hot chili, hoisin, fermented tofu, and sesame paste.
Quip: They charge $3.75 per person for the broth.
Bonus: closes at 1 a.m.
Hot Pot Hot Pot is located at 120 South Atlantic Boulevard in Monterey Park, (626) 282-1089
(Photo via the Tasty Dining Facebook page.)
WUHAN DRY POTS
If you like it spicy, Tasty Dining is sure to make your tongue numb. First, choose the size of your dry pot (small, medium, or large) and then choose your cut of meat. Choices include the typical meats as well as bullfrog, pig intestine, and crab. All the dry pots come with celery, cauliflower, bean sprouts, red chili peppers, and potatoes. A small stove is then set on the table with all the ingredients piled high.
Tasty Dining is located at 301 West Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel, (626) 570-1234
(Photo by Anna W.)
LUXURY HOT POT
If you've got money to spend and someone you really want to impress, then Haidilao is for you. This newly-opened shabu shabu restaurant is the most modern and decadent of those in the San Gabriel Valley. Servers use iPads to take your order and there's even a noodle dancer available upon request. Haidilao is the most popular hot pot chain in China and its initiation to the San Gabriel Valley has meant high prices and a 2+ hour wait on weekends. The food is average, but for an extra $2 and you get a staff member to do a noodle dance for you. Yup, a noodle maker will come make noodles from dough in front of you and spin it in the air fancy-style!
Quips: There's also a $3 additional charge per person for sauce. Expect to pay at least $40/head and wait awhile.
Haidilao is located in the Westfield Santa Anita Mall at 400 South Baldwin Avenue in Arcadia, (626) 445-7232.
(Photo by Kristie Hang/LAist)
HOT POT WHILE BBQING
Going to Cocary Shabu Shabu BBQ is an experience. Patrons constantly walk back and forth from the large refrigerators in the back and choose from a variety of different meats, vegetables, and accompaniments to the boiling broth. The dishes are relatively cheap: about $3 for meat and $2 for vegetables. They also have unlimited rice and congee for free, but the broth is $6.99 for the table. Since you pay per each plate, the waiters simply wait to tally everything up at the end of the meal. You can choose to either grill your food on the hot plate or use the soup bowl in the middle and boil it. The hot pot soup at the end of the meal tastes delicious after all the food you cooked in it has simmered down. They also have Taiwanese desserts such as slushes, shaved ice, and boba drinks.
Quips: Considering this restaurant is all about self-service, it's amazing how bad the service from the wait staff is. Plates, cups, and napkins arrive dirty, but if you can get over that the food is pretty good and it's a unique experience to be able to barbecue and have hot pot at the same time.
Bonus: Closes at 1 a.m. 20% off during 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. for lunch.
Cocary Shabu Shabu BBQ is located at 209 South Garfield Avenue in Monterey Park, (626) 573-0691
(Photo by Clarissa Wei)
PAPER POT SHABU
Paper Pot Shabu is your typical hot pot with a touch of novelty. Your broth is boiled in a basket-weaved pot lined with wax paper instead of a traditional pot. There are a handful of soup bases to chose from: Basic (water), House Special (spicy tomato soup), Sukiyaki, Miso, and Spicy Miso. Although there are only two sauce options: sesame and ponzu, you do get the option to grind your own sesame to add extra flavor. Gimmicky? Yes. But at the end of the day, the shabu shabu here does make the mark.
Paper Pot Shabu is located at 20657 Golden Springs Drive in Diamond Bar, (909) 598-4433
(Photo by Huang W.)
MONEY POT SHABU SHABU
Money Pot has a large selection of hot pot flavors. If you love stinky tofu, then you should definitely make this your go-to hot place. They have many types of stinky tofu and broth varieties available. Money Pot also has a sauce bar where you can mix your own sauce. Their spicy chili sauce is a dose of home-made, fresh, spicy goodness. Lunch hour specials start at $8.99. Dinner stats at $12.99.
Quip: Money Pot closes from 3-5 p.m. between lunch and dinnertime.
Money Pot is located at 1236 S Golden West Avenue in Arcadia, (626) 446-9293
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Kristie Hang is an avid world traveler that spends 3 months a year in Asia. She has an affinity for bizarre foods and is also the co-founder of the 626 Foodettes Blog, a hyperlocal food blog highlighting culinary options in the San Gabriel Valley. You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.