Another wave of the cold front.
Has me shivering in my long underwear.
Though Chengdu gets no snow.
But sitting in a room with a few friends surrounding a bubbling hot pot.
While laughing at those poor souls outside braving against the frigid wind.
Now that's a jolly good time.
What? You have no friends?
No worries, as long as you have a pot, because I've tested some instant hot pots.
That will warm up your belly and whet your appetite just as well.
One more thing, before you dig in, allow me to give a quick rundown on how this type of quick hot pot is prepared and consumed.
Step one: Rip the soup base pack open and unload the goodies into the upper box, then add cold water. (Adjust amount of soup base added according to personal preference)
Step two: Tear open the meat pack, veggie pack, noodles pack and throw the contents into the upper box in order.
Step three: Remove the external packaging of the heat pack and put the heat pack into the bottom compartment, add cold water until the heat pack is just covered (Heat pack will begin heating up after 15 seconds, don't eat it!)
Step four: Quickly place the upper box on top of the lower compartment, put a lid on it and let it heat up and simmer. Beware of steam.
Step five: After cooking for 15 minutes, stir it up and enjoy.
Meat pack: Beef, chicken wing tip, duck gizzard, chicken duodenum, ham sausage
Veggie pack: Potato, lotus root, sliced bamboo shoot, sweet potato noodles
Condiments: Age vinegar, dry condiments
Of the four quick hot pots, Xiao Longkan tastes most like a real hot pot, and is also the most fragrant with the most direct flavors. Furthermore, thumbs-up should be given for the very user-friendly and considerate design, as the product comes with trash bag, moist towelette and dry condiments in addition to the foods. God is in the detail~
Recommendation level: ★★★★
Meats: Luncheon meat, fish ball, spiced corned egg
Vegetables: Wood ear fungus, potato, shiitake mushroom, king trumpet mushroom, enoki mushroom, Sichuan noodles
A bit flavorless and placid to begin with, De Zhuang's convenient hot pot turns up the heat and intensity as time passes. The spiced corned eggs and tiny meatballs in the meat pack are quite delicious, and the sausage slices remind me of the spicy stringy snacks I used to have as a kid. If anything, the ingredients here are the most unique. To sum it up in a word, tasty!
Recommendation level: ★★★★☆
Meats: Beef, beef offal, ox tongue
Vegetables: Lotus root, potato, kelp, wood ear fungus, bamboo shoot, crunchy tofu, rice vermicelli
The packaging of the HaiDiLao instant hot pot is just as thoughtful and user-oriented as its physical stores, as exemplified by the deep bowl in the picture, you won't need to worry about soup splashing out in the process. In comparison, the other three brands use smaller bowls and if too much water is added, soup would often spill out as you cook or eat. In terms of food, the plus side is that the meats come in big chunks and not tiny bits, but the down side is that the soup base probably used some sort of clear or light oil, so the flavor profile is weak and the taste far less gratifying then eating at their restaurants.
Recommendation level: ★★☆
Da Long Yi
Vegetables: Potato, hot pot noodles, bamboo shoot, lotus root, wood ear fungus, kelp
To be honest, I am at a lost of words. A friend exclaimed "Tastes great! Spicy enough, fragrant enough, just like the real McCoy!" So I bought like a dozen pack. However, when three other friends and I surrounded this instant hot pot, after merely the first bite we all looked at each other a bit dumbfounded. The soup base tastes almost like water that was used to cook some peculiar meat. It was hard to use chopsticks to pick out anything because there isn't much to pick out except for the hot pot noodles, which were all bundled together! What a joke. Did I buy counterfeit Da Long Yi instant hot pot or something...
Follow us and recommend your favorite hot pot restaurant in the comments below (It is the coldest time of the year, and we all survive on hot pots), and the one with the most likes will get an instant hot pot gift for giving me a "lifeline" in such frigid winter days.