Hot Pot Hot Pot: Bringing Chinese Soup to Boil in Monterey Park

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Restaurant Sign Los Angeles

Hot Pot Hot Pot has a redundant name, but focused flavor.

When the temperature dips below 60 degrees, Angelenos practically start to panic. Thankfully, there’s always solution at the bottom of a bowl, especially in the San Gabriel Valley. For instance, Hot Pot Hot Pot occupies a Monterey Park home thanks to proprietors Barry Hin Chiang and Chi San Chiang. The owners are from Hong Kong, but when I asked the manager if the food was from a particular region of China, say, Beijing, she said, “Beijing? No! Bullshit!” She added that hot pot’s popular throughout China, the broth just changes. Regardless, I remain convinced that Hot Pot Hot Pot has a handle on the concept.

The stand-alone space is fairly modern, with wall-mounted photos of ingredients like chiles and jujubes. A fish tank rests near the hostess stand, offering safe haven to the only creatures (other than people) that won’t end up in a tabletop hot pot.


Chinese Food Los Angeles

Our token appetizer involved juicy, pan-fried, scallion flecked Mongolian Lamb Meat Pie ($4.50).

Chinese Food Los Angeles

Some people – like us – ordered so many dishes they provided a rolling cart.

Chinese Food Los Angeles

The subdivided cauldron features two broths: mild chicken, and a spicy broth with sliced ginger, jujubes, wolfberries, star anise, scallions and more.

The menu touts “36 different types of herbs,” adding, “Not only is the food delicious and savory, but our herbs actually enhance your respiratory and digestive functions, as well as your blood circulation.”

Chinese Food Los Angeles

Not all ingredients at Hot Pot Hot Pot are challenging. Sliced Lamb was super lean.

Chinese Food Los Angeles

Other Meats provided more of a challenge, including tender Pork Stomach ($3.95) strips, firm Pork Kidney ($3.95) and supple Pork Intestine ($3.95) flaps with almost creamy centers.

Vegetables and Tofu counterbalance the offal richness. Nappa ($2.25) cabbage was nice and crisp. Baby Bok Choy ($2.25)’s leafy greens became slick with chile oil. At first, Buddha’s Hand Melon ($2.25) looked like avocado, but it was actually fibrous chayote squash. Hot Pot Hot Pot also stocks a variety of mushrooms, including firm flaps of abalone.

Chinese Food Los Angeles

People who want less funk should order colorful Hokkigai Clam ($4.50) red and white, firm and chewy.

Rosy Flounder Fillet ($3.95) requires spice to reach its full potential.

Hand Made Noodle ($2.75) are firm, fettuccine like, and stained green with spinach juice. They also cook quickly, so add incrementally, and not at once, or they’ll turn to mush.

Chinese Food Los Angeles

We closed with semi-firm, torpedo shaped Chiu Chow Fish Cakes ($4.50) and iron rich coagulated Pork Blood ($3.95) cubes that cooked in an instant in the bubbling broth.

Chinese Food Los Angeles

Sadly, Hot Pot Hot Pot’s dipping sauces failed to charm me. Sesame, fermented bean (dark burgundy), fermented bean (light violet) and chile paste were all rather dull.

At least the key ingredients were fresh, and the broth flavorful.

Hot Pot Los Angeles

We paid close attention to the restaurant’s helpful Steps To Enjoy Hot Pot, balancing our inner “Meat-eater” with “The Ocean Seafood” and an urge to “Give Me The Greens” and “Eat Healthy.”

The resulting cart full of ingredients yielded a fun, interactive night out in the SGV.

Hot Pot Hot Pot: Bringing Chinese Soup to Boil in Monterey Park

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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Super…….excited…..

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