The first rule of dining at 97 Hot Pot: Do not wear clothes you will have to wear in public later. It’s more of an unspoken rule but, in a restaurant where every customer has a personal, boiling, pot of broth (complete with heat controls), the air gets a tad sauna-like. The room fills with steam, saturated with soup smell — and you can bet that the scent will linger in your wardrobe.
But that’s just the kind of (totally worth it) sacrifice one must make for the experience. And make no mistake; it’s a culinary experience everyone should try once.
First, pick your broth. For the price of $25.95, you receive a chicken broth base (other selections such as Mongolian lamb, Tom Yum Kung, Mixed Mushrooms and Truffle, Malaysian Curry and more, are $2.00 extra) and an unlimited selection of soup ingredients.
I go with the classic broth because half the fun is adding sauces and spices from the sauce counter to personalize the flavour. Then, order from an extensive list of ingredients, marking them on a papered list at your table. Quail eggs (depending on how long you cook them) provide a mini boiled-egg surprise; the ground pork becomes infused with all the flavour you’ve injected into your broth.
Vegetables such as bok choy, broccoli, green onions, potatoes, sweet corn, and more are always a welcome addition to a soup. Meanwhile the proteins and fungi can be plucked from the broth to be dipped in sauces (ranging from sesame, chili and soy, to peanut, and hoisin among others) and consumed all on their own.
With hot pot, it’s all about the options — even if one of them is leaving smelling a tad more delicious than when you entered.
Open daily 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
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