So Hot So Pot (a.k.a. Sohot Sopot) on Alexandra and Garden City, Richmond

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.

So-Hot-So-Pot. LOL!

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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There are pork bones with meat in the soup base too.

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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.

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The prawns were quite OK. Big and fresh. We like it that we ordered this twice.

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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.

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The others are just fillers to us. They are mostly good.

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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.

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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 …

Coal-Hot-Pot

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:

http://hub.video.msn.com/embed/254aa667-99c4-4c74-92d6-8b5580f9b128/?vars=Y29uZmlnQ3NpZD1NU05WaWRlbyZmcj1zaGFyZWVtYmVkLXN5bmRpY2F0aW9uJmxpbmtiYWNrPWh0dHAlM0ElMkYlMkZ3d3cuYmluZy5jb20lMkZ2aWRlb3MmbWt0PWVuLXNnJnN5bmRpY2F0aW9uPXRhZyZjb25maWdOYW1lPXN5bmRpY2F0aW9ucGxheWVyJmxpbmtvdmVycmlkZTI9aHR0cCUzQSUyRiUyRnd3dy5iaW5nLmNvbSUyRnZpZGVvcyUzRm1rdCUzRGVuLXVzJTI2dmlkJTNEJTdCMCU3RCUyNmZyb20lM0Q%3D

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!

So Hot So Pot on UrbanspoonBusiness Hour

7 days a week

5:00 pm to 2:00 am

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. I love it that you didnt order a single vegetable or noodle. LOL.

  2. Good review Ben, looks worth a try.
    By the time you left, was the restaurant packed already?

    1. Hi Eric: The restaurant was busy when we left with a few big parties. It wasn’t full though. Ben

  3. O_O No veggie!!! That’s the way to do it! We should go together next time! LOL! Just like you, I ALWAYS ignore the servers whenever they tell me that I had to leave by a certain time, at any restaurant…if they cannot accommodate me…they don not seat me!!! Anyways, I love those old style hot pots!!! My favorite place in Taiwan (for sour cabbage hot pot) is still using this style!!! Love it!

  4. Great post Ben, I dont really go for hotpot much as it all tastes the same, but the broth at the end after all the meats cooking is always tasty..

    1. Hahaha, I agree ! Now if someone would bottle that broth and sell ’em in convenient 6-packs ………

      Ben – a laksa hot pot would be awesome !! I like the typical Chinese hotpot but the broth gets boring after awhile, and I don’t particularly like the “spicy” clear broth they offer. But a laksa broth with coconut milk …. mmmmm !

  5. This is what we called “steam boat” in Singapore and yes, we don’t generally have hot pot but mainly for Chinese New Year. Ben, you right, they are the same everywhere but I still like them especially during the cold winter days.

  6. I love that herbal tea, Ben. DylanK introduced it to me at 9 Dishes. Now I buy it at Big Crazy ($18 for 24 cans) and add fresh lemon juice and ice. Best iced tea evah!

  7. Hehe laksa hot pot… Great idea ben.

    Carina, I notice that some people drink the broth that has been used to cook the food in. And I agree that it has better flavor with all the food simmering away at it. I believe some even add
    egg and noodles at the end of the meal. While others consider this odd even nasty.
    IMHO, there are lotsa different versions if hot pots predominantly in Asian countries. And don’t think they are all the same. but locally yea they are very similar. Either hkg, or china/mongol style.
    Now laksa hot pot would be great. Have tried tom yum hot pot and curry hot pot but not specifically laksa hot pot.
    I’ll be ready for this chowdown… 🙂

    1. Hi TimeToChow:

      Me too … I’ll be ready for a Laksa Hot Pot chowdown anytime. Question is where. It depends on how determined we are. Hmmm … what about buying the laksa broth from Bo and then bring it a hot pot restaurant. Already I am thinking of scalding the sliced marbled beef in the laksa broth … yum! I am quite determined … are you?

      Anyone who operates a hot pot restaurant (or knows someone who does) willing to host? Hello … hello … hello … (echoing in the distance)

      Ben

      1. How about Chez Ben ? 😉

        1. You mean Chez Suanne? I shudder you would even mention this. I won’t dare to broach this subject to her. You do it … and keep me out of it! Ben

          1. Hehehe I wanna try the laksa hotpot too! Thinking of it makes me drool!

            But honestly, if we can find someone to host, it’s probably a lot cheaper than to do it at a restaurant! Especially when you can buy a lot of hotpot ingredients in large quantities!

      2. I’m trying to think where I’ve seen a laksa soup base around here, but I can’t quite recall. I was thinking Hot Pot One might have one, but it seems like they only have a Thai Tom Yum soup base as one of their choices. Given the number of soup bases they have, I’m hoping they might be more amenable to having laksa soup base as another option for a chowdown.

        1. Don’t Malaysian/Singaporean hotpots/steamboats use a curry soup base ? So none of the local Malay/Singapore restos offer hotpots ?

          1. Hi LotusRapper: None of the Malaysian/Singaporean restaurants offer hot pots as far as I know. Ben

        2. Hi JS: You got me excited for a while. I just called Hot Pot One but unfortunately they don’t have laksa. They do have spicy satay sauce though. It’s not the same. The search continues … Ben

          1. Maybe like how some restos charge corkage fee for customers bringing in their own wines, maybe we can make our own batch of laksa and bring into a hot pot resto, LOL !

            Bo of Bo Laksa King really ought to be attuned to what we’re talking about here 😉

  8. The price caught my attention, when I scroll down and looked at the menu you had posted. The Soup base is some what reasonable price, but for the price of $18.95 per person of ayce. I think it’s too pricey, they don’t have much varies to choose from.
    My sister and her friends went to try out this place last weekend. She said that it was packed of people waiting. Her feedback of this hot pot was poooor. Very less meat per dish, believe it was about 5-6 slices. The seafood was no good at all, oysters was black and start to smell. Their sauces are in a very small dishes, not wroth that price. My sis have order their Ginger, G.Onion, Parsley, Garlic & S. Pepper Sauce Combo (house sauce??) was totally not wroth it as Ben stated in his review. Very small dish, just soya sauce and very less ingredient for $2.50.

    So, Ben where is your next hotpot stop??

    1. Hi Ken K: I really want to try the new location of the Spicy Legend Hot Pot. They used to operate a really small place but they moved to a new location just a few doors away. They are on Kingsway and Joyce. Of course, I am still looking for a restaurant who will served LAKSA Hot Pot. BTW, regarding So-So-Hot-Pot, it’s not a problem if they gave you lesser meat per dish as you can always order more. Yeah, the seafood was not too good too. While we had lots of prawns, they were not as fresh as we hope it was (not stale though!). Ben

  9. We tried the pre-mix Laksa sauce for a hot pot and it taste really good.

    It’s call “Prima taste” ready to cook sauce kit for Laksa, it’s a orange and yellow box, you can buy it everywhere, I got my last one from the chinese snack store in Lansdowne mall.

    I also make my own Laksa noodle with that sauce, some prawns, some tofu puff, and noodles and you are done.

    1. That’s an idea. Just ask for plain hot water in your pot (hopefully no charge) and then use the packaged laksa mix. You can do the same for Pinoy sinigang (sour soup) mix.

    2. Hi Kelly: The most important ingredient is coconut milk … does Prima Taste pre-mix has that? Ben

      1. Yes it does! We have a “dual hot pot” pot at home so we usually make laksa on one side and clear soup (or cilantro + thousand year old egg, I don’t think your kids would eat thousand year old eggs).

  10. Msia and spore’s steamboat is a variation of the hk/guandong hot pot. Have not heard of laksa hot pot, though local and geographical influence have included a variety of broths. But not laksa. As laksa broth is more associated as a noodle broth.
    Prima taste laksa is a good product. I’ve got them at choices on west 4th. But at around $10 per package, you can make some for less. It does come with the powdered santan(coconut milk) mix as well as a little dry shredded curry leaves.
    Get a clear broth and add the mix sounds like a good idea. 😉 . Just add some fresh curry leaves. I guess most ayce can accomodate if that is the case I think. All ben needs is some cockles. ;-D

    1. Hi TimeToChow: COCKLES! Oh … how I miss them. They are an absolute must with Laksa (and char koay teow too!). And … they must be eaten RAW! I used to go to Madras Lane in KL’s Chinatown and asked the jee-mooi (sisters) to give me extra. My mum always warn me that eating them gives people hepatitis. LOL! Ben

  11. Hey Ben
    I was going to drop by the hot pot that you are planning to go, but I end going to one of your other review hot pot place. Fatty cow. They have a summer special seafood, lobster, crab, and fish for only $10.80. Great deal

    1. Hi Ken K (strange, like addressing myself …..)

      Is that the one on Alexandra (Rich) or on Victoria Dr (Vanc) ? Do you know how long the summer special lasts ?

    2. Hi Ken K: Good choice. I like Fatty Cow better than So-So-Hot-Pot. Fatty Cow is our favourite hot pot restaurant. Ben

  12. Hey
    It’s the one on Victoria drive. I guess it will be ending soon because summer its over.
    Ben, will you re-visit fatty cow anytime soon?

    1. Hi Ken K: Given our long list of restaurants to try, we don’t plan on going back to Fatty Cow anytime soon to tell the truth. I can imagine why the specials in Fatty Cow during summer. People generally do not eat hotpot in summer. Ben

  13. I think the spicy soup base is totally worth going back for if you can take the spice!

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