Hotpot 101

Holly Chen, Staff Writer

What is the best way to warm up on a cold winter night? Some might say the answer is a steamy cup of coffee, or a heartfelt hug from a lover, all of which are nice ways to warm up, but the best way is hotpot.

Hotpot is an ancient Monogolian dish, where raw meats and vegetables cook in a boiling pot of soup.

This dish is not served at any Asian restaurant or local Panda Express, because it is a high-maintenance dish. However, Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in San Mateo serves hotpot, and it’s good too.

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Raw vegetables and meat go great in soup.
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The soup tasted delicious with meat and vegetables.

The soup is unlike any kind of soup out there. It is not thick and creamy like clam chowder, but more thin and brothy. It is made with fresh herbs and spices, and makes every thing flavorful.

One can choose between spicy, regular, or 1/2 and 1/2 (one side of the pot is regular and the other is spicy). Just rinse in some lamb, wait for a few seconds, until a light brown color, and enjoy the flavors. It drips with a salty, tangy punch.

I found that fish balls were soft, chewy, and able to hold the flavor of the soup.

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The flavorful broth that makes everything delicious.

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot also makes great beef pancakes. A thin crispy layer of dough, fried and battered with strips of beef inside, is like a Chinese version of the hamburger. It has leek and cilantro flavoring mixed inside the beef, giving it an extra kick of flavor.

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These Chinese hamburgers are crispy and crunchy.

Since it is located in downtown San Mateo, it is usually very crowded. It is best to come around 5:30-5:40 p.m., or there will be a long line.

There were a few servers who were attentive and patient, while  most had more of an I’m-too-busy-for-you-so-take-care-of-yourself attitude. One server rolled his eyes when a customer brushed him while walking by.

Despite the service, the food was amazing.

4 / 5 hot soup broths