Hot pot can be made in a variety of ways, for example the newly opened iPot minutes away from Chatswood station has taken inspiration from a fusion of traditional Chinese cooking and Australian cuisine. The fun factor about this hot pot experience is custom made electric tables allowing EACH CUSTOMER to boil your own selection of ingredients to their liking. The restaurant has been furnished with comfy leathery red chairs and inbuilt glossy hotplates for… you guessed it HOT POT. What’s different about iPot and ordinary hot pot is their soup bases. You’ll be convinced to try all available options because of its unique components. In other words, it’s WORTH a HOT POT VISIT.
Oh look at the sauce bar…feeling saucy 😛
Unlimited supply of sauces for ($4 per head)
Pay extra EXTRA attention to the sauce bar, you can’t miss it! One of the more intriguing option that I came across is the minced beef sauce. The cooked minced beef is marinated with flavours of garlic oil. Feel free to double or triple the sauce if you like it really really SAUCY.
WOW, Minced Beef Sauce, now that’s interesting.
Do you like a bit of spice in your life? If you can handle ultra hot chilli then Hot and Spicy Soup Pot ($9) is pleading for you to order it. This pot arrives with a mass of dried chilli, black cardanin, fennel seeds, peppercorn and floating dried bay leaves. You must watch the spicy soup bring to a steady bubbly boil because it looks like a potion pot, haha. Heads up, this soup may cause a good tongue paralysis.
Hot and Spicy Soup Pot ($9)
In addition, staring me right in the face is the Soy Milk Seafood Pot ($12) – Similarly to Masuya but not even close to taste is a soy milk and miso soup with added SEE-FOOD ingredients hidden like prawn, clam, scallop, mussel, two pieces of crab leg. It looks great and the milky broth is completely a combination of Japanese and Western invention.
Soy Milk Seafood Pot ($12)
Found some treasure in my Soy Milk Seafood Pot
It’s also remarkable that iPot serve Smokey Mushroom Pot ($7) – A mixture of savory, smokey broth with a culmination of earthy mushrooms, goji, tomato, cup mushrooms and Chinese mushrooms. The flavour is a nice balance of sweet and salty but it’s also terrific with a toss of sliced meat being dunked into this flavoursome pot to add additional savory flavour.
Smokey Mushroom Pot ($7)
Totes up to you which ingredients you’d want to cook. For me, I couldn’t resist the Beef and Lamb Combination ($22) – Dunk those frozen slices of beef or lamb into the pot and watch it slowly swirl and that’s when you know it’s cooked.
Beef and Lamb Combination ($22)
It’s rare to see Abalone Mushroom ($8) so when we saw this on the menu we HAD TO ORDER IT. Its name is resemblance to the abalone shellfish. When cooked it has a solid, meaty texture. They have a juicy flavour and at times slippery texture with light anise scent.
Abalone Mushroom ($8)
You may also want to try Dried Bean Curd ($4) – Might sound or look enticing ingredient but it’s texture is very silky and is made from the skin that forms on soymilk. They also have a delicious chewiness if combined with other ingredients like pork fat or mushrooms. Much like the texture of tofu, these bean curd absorb the flavours of whatever you chuck inside your pot.
Dried Bean Curd ($4)
Serious Asians tend to order the Fresh Chrysanthemum greens ($5) when it’s hot pot hour. If you fancy the natural fragrant smell of chrysanthemum flowers, then consider ordering these greens. When boiled these chrysanthemum greens contain a mildly grassy, herbaceous taste and texture. With the stalks they bring out the sweetness and slightly remain crunchy even when dunked in hot broth.
Fresh Chrysanthemum greens ($5)
It’s up to you to order the Handmade Noodles ($5) but I am telling you, this bowl does offer fresh exquisite stringy noodles. It’s very stomach-nourishing with rich flour fragrant, so it’s a YES for me.
Handmade Noodles ($5)
Some of the more captivating options include Fresh Shrimp Wah ($13)– The trick to preparing the shrimp wah is to not to toss the entire thing in. So when the pot is simmering, it’s best to use a spoon and scoop it into dollops of round balls. It doesn’t have to look that professional, as long as you find it pretty enough to eat.
Fresh Shrimp Wah ($13)
Looks round enough…HAHA
Behold the tofu is frozen, yes it’s literally FROZEN! I normally eat tofu when it’s extra silky and soft, but what changed was the the flavour and texture when I witness the Frozen Tofu ($5). If you look closely the water context inside the tofu looks like crystals. This technique does give the tofu a toothsome texture.
Frozen Tofu ($5)
There are plenty of more adventurous dishes like Mushroom and Pork Mini Wah ($7) – which is a mash up of pork, garlic and mushroom. These juicy little meatballs beautifully go so well with the hot pot. Fantastic flavour when coated with your soup base. You’ll feel good when stuffing your stomach with these- they’re creatively delectable.
Mushrooms and Pork Mini Wah ($7)
Did you know…these Mini Wah are handmade.
These pretty Cuttlefish and Oyster Wah ($18) has infused a lot of cuttlefish and oyster flavour. You’d want to continue eating these until it’s all gone. You can’t go wrong with these because they are perfectly prepared with no mess and no fuss.
Cuttlefish and Oyster Wah ($18)
Are you aware these oysters are delicious?
An oyster is hidden in there!!!
We ended up paying $35 per head between 4 people and managed to eat a large froyo afterwards. You’d be fascinated with the sauce bar but be warned that’s additional ($4) per head and they didn’t bother to mention that to us. I personally think they qualify as a unique hot pot with their range of soup base and dishes like Cuttlefish and Oyster Wah, Mushrooms and Pork Mini Wah and Fresh Shrimp Wah. If I didn’t have to think about the cost of each plate then I’d come here every night during winter.
Photos by Vanny Tang
Like to know more about Nessy Eater food adventures?