Whether you go mild or spicy, Chinese, Korean or Japanese, hot pots are perfect for gathering with friends or family, especially on chilly days and nights.
Dragon Hot Pot
Specialising in malatang hot pot, which has a numbingly spicy Sichuan pepper and dried chilli broth, Dragon Hot Pot is so hot right now. Head to one of four CBD locations found at QV, Swanston Street, Elizabeth Street or Russell Street (open 24 hours). Choose from 100+ ingredients, which are priced at $3.20 per 100 grams, your soup style (there’s also hot ‘n’ sour and collagen bone broth) and level of spiciness, then get ready to slurp.
For the true hot pot aka ‘steamboat’ experience, make a date with your mates at China Chilli. Gather round your big communal bowl of steaming broth, which can be something simple like chicken and fish, or a fancier option such as Signature Spicy. Dunk in your choice of ingredients from enoki mushrooms to lobster balls then dip them in the yummy sauces.
Momo Sukiyaki & Shabu Shabu
Try Japanese-style hot pot – but will you go the savoury kelp-based shabu-shabu broth or the slightly thicker, sweeter sukiyaki style made with soy and rice wine? There are variations of each too, like Tokyo and Kyoto sukiyaki. So ask the staff at Momo Sukiyaki & Shabu Shabu for advice if you’re new to this traditional style of communal dining. Then raise a cup of sake and get busy adding ingredients like pork belly and wagyu beef to your table’s boiling pot of deliciousness.
Mrs Zan’s Kitchen
Get your Chinese hot pot just how you like it at Mrs Zan’s Kitchen, open from 11am to 11pm every day. Here you’ll find shelves stuffed with fresh ingredients like meat, tofu and lots of veggies. Pick what you want, and don’t hold back because it’s only $2.99 per 100 grams. Choose your noodles and level of spice, and in minutes you’ll have a big bowl of soupy goodness.
It’s best known for Korean barbecue, but Carlton’s Hwatu also does a mean Korean-style hot pot. Enjoy the best of both worlds with the beef bulgogi hot pot, whose star ingredient is thin slices of marinated and barbecued beef. Other options include the seafood and soft tofu or red spicy jjamppong hot pots, as well as seasonal specials. They’re big servings made for sharing, so bring your besties.
Da Long Yi Hot Pot
From Chengdu, the capital of the spicy hot pot red zone of Sichuan province, Da Long Yi Hot Pot has grown into a global favourite. There are 200+ outlets around the world, from New York to Melbourne, where a fierce dragon watches over diners pondering a similar number of ingredients. If your posse can’t decide on a soup base, go the half-and-half option: segmented pots mean you can choose two flavours.
Xiao Long Kan
Melbourne’s Xiao Long Kan is part of an international brand named for the road (meaning ‘little dragon’) between Chengdu and Chongqing. Which ingredients will you choose for your hot pot? Familiar favourites such as minced shrimp and fresh lotus root, or something more daring like pig lung slices? It all tastes good freshly simmered and washed down with ice-cold Tsingtao beer.
The owner of David’s Hotpot grew up in Sichuan, so no wonder it’s a Melbourne favourite with three CBD locations. There are heaps of hot pot options to choose from including a Special Nine Grid Spicy Base broth. For this dish the pot is partitioned into nine sections with different emphasis on the various soup-base ingredients, including chilli.
No 1 Delicious Hotpot & BBQ
Its quality and quantity at Carlton’s No 1 Delicious Hotpot & BBQ, which has a modern-meets-traditional Chinese style and a mega menu. The soup base options alone make deciding a challenge, from Beijing lamb to Royal Special Mushrooms. Lucky they give you the option of choosing two flavours in a double-sectioned pot.