Spicy Legend on Kingsway and Joyce, Vancouver

Updated: 22nd Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed.

It was another cold rainy day last week and that means only one thing to us when it comes to deciding what to eat for dinner.

I have a feeling that we are going to do a number of hot pot posts this next few months. With the snow already on the North Shore Mountains it constantly reminded me that this is going to be a long cold winter. Long term forecasts shows that there will be wet snow next week.

I am just bracing myself.

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Suanne and I had been meaning to visit the Spicy Legend for sometime already. So when the weather presented the opportunity, we drove to Kingsway and Joyce where the restaurant is.

Spicy Legend is a Sichuan Hot Pot restaurant. It is all you can eat at $19 per person. Soups and others extra of course, like the other places. All AYCE place will easily set you back $25 to $30 after accounting for everything. They are almost all the same price-wise. So don’t be taken in by the $18 or $19 per person signs outside the restaurant.

The only way you will only pay $18/$19 is if love raw meat and you dunk the meat into lukewarm glass of water. I think they will provide you a glass of hot water if you ask nicely.

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I had always wanted to go to Spicy Legend when they were a Mickey Mouse restaurant a few doors away (see above). I first found out about this place when the 8GTCC gang went looking for dinner. This old place was really small. I think it will sit about 12 people max with four tables only.

I had never seen any hot pot restaurants so small before but it sure was very busy then. You have to have a reservation back then.

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So they moved a few doors away. It is now a much much bigger place. Now, they can fit 50 – 70 people at least.

They open at 5:30 PM. So Suanne and I decided to go at 6:00 PM thinking that it would be just OK since the restaurant is much bigger.

Guess what.

The first thing we came through the door was the question “Do you have a reservation?”.

Their first sitting was already full! They explain that normally they can fit in walk-in customers but that day being a public holiday and the start to a long weekend, they are fully booked for the 1st sitting. She said that if we want she have a few tables left for the 8PM slot.

Not wanting to go elsewhere and quite determined to have hot pot that day, we decided to take that slot and went to do something else around Metrotown.

We came back at 15 mins before 8:00 PM and the place was packed. Despite us having that 8:00 PM reservation, we had to wait till 8:30 PM before we were finally given a table!!

It was a true test of our patience. LOL!

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You may click on the images above to enlarge it.

It is $19 per person. Soup base, sauces and condiments are extra. There is a 2 hour time limit which is more than enough time for us.

The soup base choices is complex. It comes in three sizes depending on the number of people you have. Then there is the spicy or non-spicy or a combination of both. They also have two fancier ones called Tea Plant Mushroom Soup Base and Black-bone Chicken Soup Base. In a place like this, you want the SPICY one.

Unlike other places, they ask you to specify how you want the spicy soup base. Listen to this … you have to specify the combination of SPICINESS and NUMBNESS on the scale of “big, medium or small”. Suanne and I debated on this for sometime. I wanted “big” on both spiciness and numbness but sanity prevailed. We went with “medium” on both spiciness and numbness.

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The burner they use is a built in electronic table burner. There are no naked flames and so we did not see one of those special purpose sprinkler pipes hanging from the ceiling here.

The burners are not very effective. It takes 2-3 minutes to bring the pot to boil unlike other places where it is powerful enough to boil the soup instantly.

Their tables are mobile which is something we had not seen before. They can fit a few tables together for bigger parties.

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As in most (not all) hot pot restaurants, the sauces and condiments are extra.

We wanted to order garlic ($1), cilantro (50 cents) and sesame paste ($1.50) but because of the way the order form were arranged, we got the fresh chili ($1) instead of the garlic. We decided to keep it.

It was a generous portion that they gave us. Other places were barely half of this. So we were pretty glad about it.

Suanne got the sesame paste (brownish sauce in picture above) because she learned from iSpicy that it is the best sauce with non-spicy soup base. For your info, the sesame oil is best with spicy soup base.

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We also ordered a jug of soy milk which is $5 and good for 3-4 glasses.

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The food came served on a side tray. I like that because I hate cluttered tables.

Yeah, our goal is have lots of beef and lamb and so we asked for extra servings. They gave us lots. Made us happy. 🙂

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We got mixed soup, spicy and non-spicy. The spicy soup does not … have a lot of chilies floating on it as we asked for medium spiciness but looks is deceiving. It was very very very spicy despite we asking for medium!

Hey, see the picture above. Question for you … why does the spicy soup always boils faster than the non spicy soup?

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I can eat really spicy food but their spiciness is darn ridiculous. I had to stop eating from the spicy side after 1/3 of the way through.

I even scooped out all the chilis and peppercorns in the effort to make it less spicy. I was hoping that by cooking the food in it and then further diluting it with more broth, it would be better. It was not.

It was so spicy my head was starting to go woozy and sweaty. So I pulled out my white flag and waved it. I surrender. First time I was totally defeated by a Sichuan hot pot.

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There were so much food I won’t show all of them but instead will just highlight the more prominent ones.

Of course the beef is our favourite with hot pots. One of their sliced beef is totally tough. Hardly any marbling at all (not the one above which is better). So we thought that it was a disappointment in the one dish we like so much.

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The two items above is listed under the their Chef’s Recommendation section. They call this simply the Spicy Beef and Spicy Fish.

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Above is cooked. It has a numbing spiciness to it and very salty, especially the fish. We don’t understand what is special about it. The beef was tough and thick. Moreover, my head was woozy already and seeing more chili doesn’t make me want to eat it.

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I like the prawns. It is big and succulent. The trick is not to over cook it. So you got to monitor the cooking of this and not dump it into the soup and forget about it.

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The non-spicy soup base was good. It helped me recovering from all the spiciness which lingered for a long time.

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Spicy Legend closes at 11 PM. But the time we were done the place was already half empty. So, I guess the best time for walk in customers is after 9PM otherwise you are advised to call in for reservations.

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They are cash only. Spicy Legend is good if you like it ultra spicy. Otherwise, the food is just so-so.

Yeah, I was dealing with “plumbing problems” the next day. Don’t ask me why I subject myself to this sometimes … I just like hot pot especially in cold weather.

Spicy Legend 紅錦天 on UrbanspoonBusiness Hours: 5:30pm to 11pm

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  1. OMG I am excited. I have yet to find a hot pot place spicy enough! But your descriptions made me scared…LMAO…

    1. Hi Elaine: Be warned about the spiciness. It’s ridiculously hot. Ben

  2. I love spicy!!! I gotta try it!!! Elaine, let’s go after your exams!!! Since Buddha Boy don’t like hot pots! LOL!!!

    1. Yesss le’t do it!!! YAY! How come Buddha Boy doesn’t like hotpot =O he can have so much meat!

      1. He doesn’t like “boiled meats”…sigh…he likes grilled, BBQ, or smoked…those “heavy” stuff…

  3. The reason the spicy side boil faster is due to the fat content that float on top which prevents heat transfer out and not to mention all the floating chilly. 😉 Now may I have some?

  4. Elaine,
    I don’t like hot pots because i don’t like ‘boiled’ meats. I find it too bland even with lots of sauces for dipping.

    Ben,
    ‘Plumbing’ issues, Unfortunately, I know what you are talking about.

  5. I’m not big on plain-boiled meats too, like Buddha Boy. Grilling, bbq, smoked etc. caramelizes meats and adds so much more dimension to the taste (carcinogenics notwithstanding).

    Plumbing issues eh ? Ben maybe you need a couple of days of 100% congee diet to purify yourself !

    1. Hehehe … and yeah, that’s exactly what I had. Boy it was agonizing the first day but boy, would I do it again. I love hot pot. It is just the relaxing manner of cooking and chatting that makes it such a unique experience.

      Anyway, I was just sitting there during the hotpot meal and I see all the customers are Asians/Chinese. I was thinking that perhaps I should organize a “Hot Pot for Non-Asians” event. A lot more people need to try hot pot and see what it is all about. Doesn’t matter if they like it or not. 🙂

      Ben

  6. We just got back from a trip to Chengdu, and we’re craving some good Sichuan hotpot. Wo Ai Ma La. Which is better Ispicy or Spicy Legend?

    1. Hi Hungry Girl:

      The soup in Sichuan Hot Pot in iSpicy is very much better and there are not many other places that they can beat it. However, the meat in iSpicy was not as fresh as other places. As for Spicy Legend, the broth is ridiculously spicy that it’s bordering on dangerous. The meat and all are much fresher and better because of the volumes they dish out every day.

      Tell us more about your trip to Chengdu! Share food pictures?

      Ben

  7. That place has been on my radar as well. However, be careful of drinking soup at Chinese restaurants right now. Although I don’t think there has been been a reported case in Vancouver, it is a big story in Chinese news right now about “one drop aroma” (literal translation). One drop of this stuff in water supposedly tastes like flavorful stock without the hours of cooking. Most cases are in China but it may have reached Canada.

    1. Hi Vicki: I have heard people talking about this but am not sure if it is urban legend or not. Can you tell us more about what you know of this issue? I mean, could you point to newspaper articles on this? Ben

  8. Forgot to mention that the stuff is made from old paint. Do not want to be eating that stuff.

  9. Hi Ben,

    Tried searching it out on google so I could give you a link. Unfortuntely I couldn’t find one. Someone who could do some searches in Chinese might be able to turn something up. I did see a segment on the Chinese channel a few weeks ago about it and how it can be purchased online. Maybe it is posted in their archives section here: http://www.fairchildtv.com/otherarchive.php#

    My grandmother has told me about segments on Chinese radio about it too. I definitely don’t think it is an urban legend.

  10. The medium/medium 麻辣 hot pot hit you that hard? The big/big version must be like napalm!

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