Friday, January 17, 2014

Huat Pot Taiwanese Style Eat-All-You-Can Hot Pot

In the interest of full disclosure, let me just say that I normally don't like hotpot. Everyone who knows me will attest to this.

So when my cousin, who's an events organizer invited me to a bloggers event to try out this new Hot Pot restaurant, my initial reaction was really, "Oh no!" Hahaha. Then I formulated my game plan. I knew that it would read really well, if I wrote that I don't like Hot Pot, but this new place I really liked. But then, if I didn't like the place, then it would put me in a bind, so I decided that if I didn't like it, then I would NOT leave without paying for my meal. Hahaha. Para walang utang na loob. Luckily, I really enjoyed the Hot Pot or should I say Huat Pot, so let me tell you why.

Haut Pot is not your typical "healthy-ama or angkong (chinese for grandparents) restaurant" and is actually set-up like the Taiwanese style Hot Pot eat-all-you-can restaurants (EAYC). In Taiwan, it's quite common to see EAYC hot pot places where the come on is an all-inclusive meal experience, including drinks like Soda, Juices and even Beer on tap, as well as hot drinks (all kinds of coffee variations,  as well as hot chocolate and milk tea) - things that normally cost an arm and a leg in other traditional cheap affordable EAYC places where they make you pay for your EAYC discount in drinks that are 30-50x the actual cost. At Huat Pot, you get all that, plus they also have a taho (soy beancurd) bar and Magnum Ice Cream for dessert, and that's on top of the regular fresh fruit selection.

I absolutely love the hot drink machine because it has different
coffee and hot chocolate variations - and ALL the buttons work.
The taho bar is also a clear win. I skipped the tapioca because it's all carbs,
but the vanilla syrup was so yummy. It reminded me of pancakes!
The Magnum would be a big come on for a lot of guests.
It just didn't excite me that much because it's easy enough to get it for free
 in the office. (with regards to my day job that will not be named)
After scoping out all my favorite add-ons, I started my meal with fruit,
in my attempt to be compliant to the diet program I'm on.

Huat Pot has a wide selection of items you can choose from to cook yourself.

The have a chiller full of different cuts of pork, beef, and lamb.
. so you just get 1 tray for yourself.
Small beef servings are arranged on stackable trays, so you just get one for
yourself.  No messy meat here! I hate it when other customers mess up
the meat they don't get anyway - at other EAYC places.
We tried this cut of lamb.
And this cut of Pork.
Chicken is also available, but it's displayed with the veggies and balls.
They also have fresh vegetables, different kinds of balls and dumplings
I've never seen before, as well as seafood, like export quality shrimp,
crabs, and other stuff. (I'm just not a seafood person).

While the Huat Pot has an impressive array of stuff you can cook, their main competitive advantage is that they personally import the balls (and instant noodles) from Taiwan - if they don't find the quality they are looking for in the offerings of the local suppliers here, since the benchmark of the owner and chef, is what they really enjoying eating when they are in Taiwan, and they didn't want to compromise on the quality.

Part of the dining experience is creating your own adventure and this is true for both the broth and the sauce.
 There are 4 different options for the broth.  You can choose 2.
 and while 
We opted to try the Huat Pot Special and Mala,
the spicy one.  It just has a mild kick - so you can ask
them to make it spicier depending on your taste.
Chef Jonas assured us that in his restaurant, they don't use MSG in the broth
so no threat of MSG induced migraine attacks if you eat here.
The sheer number of options for the sauce is quite intimidating,
but the staff is trained to help out their customers on popular combinations.
Once you get the hang of it, the fun is really in experimenting.
Chef Jonas helped create me create my sauce
and it was good! you have the option of adding
a raw egg yolk if you want (similar to Sukiyaki).
Photo Credit: Huat Pot PR Pack
My hotpot favorites include the tofu skin and the imported noodles,
because they sop up the sauce really well so it's really tasty when you eat it.

However, I will be honest and say that my favorite part of the Huat Pot experience is not the hotpot but the really yummy "Taiwanese loba station". Loba is a local Chinese dish (sometimes also called humba) where the pork is cooked until it's melt in your mouth and hard boiled eggs are added in.
In Taiwan, you can get loba from any street corner. A small bowl like this
 is NT$25 or Php40. The problem is there's barely any pork.
In Huat Pot, because it's self service and eat all you can,
so you can get as much pork as you want.
I actually did a reverse of the meat to carb ratio. Hahaha. And since the fat bits
 are too small to remove, I just pretended that they were not there.

Overall,  I really enjoyed the dinner at Huat Pot (so I didn't have to demand to pay). Though, I would be happy to come back and pay Php688++  which I think is reasonable for everything they offer.

One of the owners I was chatting with said one of the reasons they put up this restaurant was because they used to get bill shock when they ate at one of the other hot pot restaurants in the metro because after you add up everything they ordered, the bill would be even more than the popular EAYC hot pot places in Taiwan, so the result is that this place was born.

Chef Jonas Ng, One of the owners of Huat Pot

Thanks for the lovely meal Chef Jonas! Even if I did all the cooking. just saying.

Huat Pot
2nd floor Metropoint Center,
P. Guevarra cor. Wilson St.
Greenhills, San Juan.
For table reservations and general inquiries, please contact 650-3092 or 0915-4805500.
It's in the same complex as the newly opened Rustans Grocery. 
Parking can be difficult, so bring a driver, or park across the street (Pegi Waffles complex).

1 comment:

  1. thank you for loving the Lo Ba. at least i cooked one thing right! haha