All across Asia, families gather over a boiling pot of broth, chopsticks poised with meats, noodles and vegetables ready to be cooked to perfection. Chinese hot pot is perhaps the most common sort of hot pot. But there’s also Japanese hot pot (often called shabu shabu), Thai hot pot, Malaysian hot pot, Korean and Taiwanese hot pot. The premise is simple. Set up a portable burner on a table and make a delicious aromatic and slightly spicy broth. On the table are piles of fresh cut vegetables, thinly sliced meats, seafood and noodles. Throughout the meal, different foods are added to the boiling soup. Vegetables take 1-5 minutes to cook and are often added first. Sliced Kobe beef is often only cooked for 1 few seconds.
Hot pot is a bonding experience. You are going to be sharing a bowl with your fellow diners so make sure everyone is on the same page and no one has the flu. Vegetarians should get their own bowl if necessary. Last weekend, the ladies of Ethnic Food Adventure Club (#EFAC) and I went to Flushing for the second time to feast on Mongolian hot pot at Little Sheep.
Now I am no hot pot EXPERT. It’s not my favorite sort of eating so I claim no supreme knowledge of whether this is the best place or not. However, there seemed to be a consensus on the Internets that Little Sheep is good, affordable and easy to deal with. When you have coerced 6 ladies out of bed at 11 am on a Sunday to travel to Queens you want to make sure everyone has a good time.
After a bit of research I settled on Little Sheep because it appeared to be one of the more modern hot places in flushing. With stores across China and the US, Little Sheep has been called “the Applebees of China” but I’m afraid that’s not exactly fair. I thought Little Sheep was delicious. The two different broths of the “yin and yang” were flavorful and the produce and meats fresh. Little Sheep has a DIY sauce bar that resembles a Mongolian barbecue sauce bar: lemon juice, garlic, soy, ponzu, scallions, cilantro. I’m on board.
We ordered the “yin and yang” hot pot with the mushroom combo, the vegetable combo and various meats. Don’t order the pork meatballs, though I hear the beef ones are delicious. Definitely order the sweet Mongolian kimchi as well as the dumplings. Each diner is charged about 7 dollars for soup and the add-ins range from $1 to $25 for premium meats. I was pleasantly surprised at how cheap the meal was (just under $20 per person). Definitely try the sour plum juice. It’s very odd and smoky but delicious.
Flushing, NY11354 Take the 7 train to flushing main street Here’s a taste of our other Ethnic Food Adventures:
EFAC #5 Italian Food on Arthur Ave, Bronx