Updated 30th Oct 2014: This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
Update 25-Sep-2010: This restaurant had renamed themselves as Sohot Sopot recently.
So-Hot-So-Pot. What a name!
I got two hot pot restaurants that is on our to-try list but when we came across this new place with this unique name, I thought we better go try even though it is summer now. Hot Pot are great as a winter food. Not so great for summer. We went anyway.
Just because of the name.
That big $18.95 All You Can Eat sign caught our attention. It can’t be that cheap. It’s always that they charge a lot for the soup and make their money from extras. That is their business model.
If you see $18.95, count on spending at least $25 … or more likely $30, once you get the bill.
As usual we get there early. It was about 6 PM. There was only one table taken and yet they ask us “Do you have a reservation?”.
Puzzled, I said “No”.
“Oh, I am sorry we are full today”, the lady who looked like the owner said.
I was quite stunned and as we were about to turn around, she said “Hmmm … let me see if I can squeeze you in” … thinking hard, looking at the reservation page which has four lines on it and tapping the pen on the counter.
“Tell you what. You have to leave by 7:30PM … are you OK with that?” she said.
Hah! I heard of that before. These AYCE places make money not only by turning the tables but pressure you to eat fast, order the wrong stuff and such.
“Oh yeah, sure”, I said cheerfully. Let me tell you, ignore the time limit they tell you. Don’t get annoyed, just agree and then deal with it later. They will find it hard to eject you come the time. LOL!
The restaurant is modern and quite big. I like it. It is one of the better looking, if not the best looking, hot pot restaurants around. It is very clean too.
Of course it is clean. Apparently they had been opened just nine days.
Service was good, I must say. They have lots of staff. The weird thing is the staff is always walking round and round the restaurant even though there are only two tables. I am not sure if they are bored and just walk round and round the same route or their boss made them do that. Weird!
So we get our plates cleared out very fast. The soup was topped all the time.
The table setting is very nice too. They are brand new and shiny and all.
OK, it is kind of hard to read the above. Click on it to get a larger image.
That was out first order. We are not yet experts in hot pot but we are getting there.
This time we stayed our course … we are going for the high price items … meat, meatballs and seafood. Ignore the vegetable. Ignore the noodles.
The soup base is from $7 to to as high as $15. That is charged per pot, not per person. So, the more people sharing the pot, the cheaper it is. You know that already, right?
What I did not like is that they charge extra for sauces. Not cheap too … 50 cents for ginger, 50 cents for green onions … cut throat prices. These stuff is very important to me and we had to plonk down another $2.50 for it.
You know what is missing from the menu? Suanne said they should have desserts. Come to think of it, it is a pretty good idea.
The drinks are $1.50. I ordered a Wong Lo Kat which is a popular Cantonese herbal first invented by Wong Lo Kat (who else?) almost 200 years ago.
I thought they would brew this in house like the other hot pot restaurants. But it is in a can. Suanne had the coconut juice.
Here is the combo which we had to pay extra $2.50. Such a small bowl and has five items in it … ginger, green onions, parsley, garlic and sweet pepper sauce.
If I recall correctly, Garden City Hot Pot provides this free of charge.
Don’t go yet. I got lots more to tell. I’ll cut to the chase and tell you about the items we love the best here.
The beef items is what you should order … a lot. Stuff yourself full first with this. The beef (and pork and lamb) slices above looked all the same and we could not tell the difference really.
If you had followed our hot pot posts, you will know that I love to individually cook my beef. They get cooked very fast and so don’t throw it all in and let it boil too long in the soup.
I just put a slice or two on the scoop and let it boil for a few seconds until the pinkness just goes away.
This is the best way to eat it. 🙂
Look at the marbling on the beef slices. Aren’t they a beaut? It is so good you don’t need dipping sauce with this.
That is why you should just order the beef … like … 1-3 orders per person first and foremost.
Make your money worth.
I put the cooked slice by the side just for comparison (he he he … for what, I don’t know).
The soup base is unique. We got the House Special Pork Bone with Apple. That’s right … with Apples. There are slices of apples in the soup. Odd.
There are pork bones with meat in the soup base too.
We had the combo and the other side of the pot if the Sichuan soup. This time we did not want to be a hero and asked for the medium spicy way.
The prawns were quite OK. Big and fresh. We like it that we ordered this twice.
We made it all at once and then took our own sweet time peeling them. Like eating this as a course.
The prawns could have been better … if it were spotted prawns, right? This is the messiest part of the hot pot meal.
The others are just fillers to us. They are mostly good.
Our last order was the sliced beef meat until we could not eat anymore. Next time, we will try to eat 50% of the beef slices.
15 minutes before 7:30 pm, the waiter came to ask if we need to order any more. That is like the signal to us to finish up … time’s up buddy. We had enough already and so we did not stay past 7:30PM.
It was slightly less than $30 per person. That is for Suanne, Nanzaro and I. I felt it was a couple of dollars on the high side but this is pretty much how much hot pot costs.
They only accepts credit card if bill above $50.
In summary, So-Hot-So-Pot is So-So-Hot-Pot like what I read in the Low Yau Kee forum.
A little story …
When I was young, my mum has a hot pot at home like the one above. Those were the days where they don’t have those electric ones nor was table top gas cannisters were invented yet.
So we had this hot pot which uses coal and has a chimney in the middle. We had great fun as a family eating this. She only brings this out for special occasions and it was a treat. Usually around Chinese festivals or birthdays. I miss those days. I think my mum still has it stored up somewhere because she never throws things away. I don’t see this anymore because the modern electric ones has taken its place today.
Hey … actually when you think of it, hot pots are pretty boring. It’s almost the same everywhere. It’s always the same soup base, the same cut of meat … the same menu. How is this for a change:
Sorry this is in Mandarin. And I know for those of you who are not familiar with Asian shows, you would think they all talk and act weird. LOL!
How about LAKSA as a soup base. I hope someone in Vancouver makes this and I would make a beeline for this in a heartbeat!
This one is about a TOMATO Hot Pot. I don’t like tomato but laksa … yeah!