Recently, I visited To Hot Pot with a group of my fellow foodie bloggers (Foodology, Amy Food Queen, Instanomsss, and Foodobyte. We were there to try out the newest hot pot restaurant in Richmond as part of the upcoming Chopstick Fest coming up on Oct 15-30, 2016. Chopstick Fest is essentially Vancouver’s first Chinese Cuisine Festival. It draws inspiration from Dine Out Vancouver where customers can choose from a list of participating Asian restaurants. Each restaurant will offer a prixe fix menu crafted specifically for the festival with both English and Chinese so ordering from it will be super easy.
To Hot Pot is one of the participating restaurants and they just opened up a month ago. It’s located inside the Ackroyd strip mall and has a fantastic lighted sign that says “To Hot Pot I Love You’. I have no idea who thought of that tagline (?) but he’s awesome. XD
They have a DIY sauce area which is awesome because you can load up on your favourite condiments without having to ask for a server. My only compliant would be that everything is labelled in Chinese and not everyone (obviously) can speak Chinese. Our poor friend Amy who’s Caucasian had absolutely no idea what to get so please, To Hot Pot, put some English labels please!
They even have assorted fried peanuts and brown sugar and sesame oil if you’re into that.
For my dipping sauce, I got satay sauce, sesame oil, fresh red chilies, green onion, and loads of sesame seeds.
I didn’t grab any of thes ebut it seems like they have some cold side dishes and free orange wedges for you to nibble on for dessert.
They played via Youtube the China version of “The Voice” and it was broadcasted throughout the entire restaurant. I personally thought it was pretty amusing and loved it!
So the reason why I call this hot pot very ‘high tech’ is because everything seems to be automated. From ordering drinks at this self serve machine…
…to the electronic NFC card you get representing your table number, everything is digital, cashless (at least up front), and easy to use.
To get your food items, you must walk through a cafeteria looking line where you get to choose from an array of items behind a glass case. These are the tofus, prepared meats, bean curd, and bamboo shoots.
They also have seafood including giant scallops, mini octopus, raw oysters, tiger prawns, mussels, and surf clams.
Then on to the veggies, they have bak choy, spinach, cauliflower, and a whole lot of other Chinese veggies I can’t translate into English.
At the end of the line, there’s a cashier looking area where you place your whole tray along with your goodies on a flat surface. All of the individual white trays have their own NFC tag programmed into it, so when you put the entire thing onto the flat surface, the computer automatically calculates everything you have on your tray along with the cost. Then you put your ‘table NFC card’ onto the area on the right, and the balance gets loaded onto the card. I assume that at the end of the meal, you bring the card to the front of the restaurant to pay the entire bill.
This you have to order on a separate expensive sheet but it’s essentially thinly sliced rolled beef.
Whenever I eat hot pot, I like to get a refreshing cold drink to counter the hotness of the boiling food. That’s why I chose the winter melon tea. It was super delicious definitely a thirst quencher! Highly recommended.
This is also another item on the separate sheet but it consists of a variety of fresh Asian meat balls (cuttlefish, pork, chicken, beef).
The deep fried buns with condensed milk is not part of the menu but you might be able to get it if you request it from the chef. It’s usually reserved for the VIP rooms only. 😛
Yummy in my tummy!!!!
They also have these cool side tray tables to hold all of your food. It totally came in use since we were gluttonous and had a billion plates.
For your soup base, you also have the option of doing a dual soup base hot pot. We ordered half Szechuan pepper half pork rib soup and I literally only ate from the pork rib soup base. The Szechuan soup base, while delicious for people who LOVE spicy, is INCREDIBLY hot for anyone with a sensitive palate. It might also give you the ring of fire, just sayin’. 😛
All in all, To Hot Pot is a great new addition to the hot pot scene in Richmond. It reminds me of the hot pot restaurants you’d find in Hong Kong and China, and from what I heard from the manager, they shipped most of the furniture from Asia. I say give this place a try if you’re looking to try something different from the typical Mongolian Sheep Hot Pot or Fatty Cow Hot Pot.
Disclosure: We did not pay for our meal or drinks. All opinions are truthful and my own.
Service Rating: 4.5/5
Food Rating: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3/5