I’m coming clean to all of you and I’m clearing my conscience. They say admittance is the first step and after all this time, I can no longer run from my truths, but know this – I’ve been working hard to fix myself and I think I may be on the path to recovery.
Yes, my friends, I’ve addicted to the Hot Pot. I just can’t get enough. It’s all I think about, it’s all I dream about.
My heart yearns for the way those steaming pieces of boiled meat submerged in a deluge of soy sauce just light my taste buds on fire and the very thought of the squishy udon noodles running through my mouth is enough to make my my heart soar.
My crippling addiction to the Hpot finally brought us to Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot on another rainy Autumn night and to my foolish dismay, we are greeted by a 45 minute wait. The tantalizing mingling aromas of steaming soup and satay are enough to make me wait four hours, so I suck up the pain and say yes to the wait.
When we are finally seated, we make a mad scramble to the menu.
As with any hot pot experience, the monumental task is to select your broth. Always a daunting responsibility because choose wisely, the next two hours are spent in monosodium glutamate bliss but choose incorrectly, you are in for a world of misery.
I’ve always liked my broths clean so as to destroy my body with the abundance of questionable soy, satay, and peanut sauce later, so it is House Special all the way for us tonight. Filled with asian herbs and about a million and one garlic cloves, this was a decent soup.
Any fellow addict knows that it is not until the very end that the broth really becomes desirable, after all the meats, balls, dumplings, and seafoods have had a chance to bubble and cook themselves into oblivion leaving the soup an ultra savoury concoction.
Once having ordered soup base and food items, the time has come to make the jolly jaunt over to the sauce station. The small stand offers soy sauce, satay sauce, peanut sauce, and chili sauce. Admittedly, the stand positioned a little too close for comfort to the bathroom, but sometimes in life, you do what it takes to enjoy your msg fueled night out.
Extras like garlic, green onions, and chive sauce cost $1 and if you’re anything like me, are necessary for the complete Hpot experience, but save yourself the heartache and loonie, and skip the chive sauce which is really just salty green gunk anyway.
When it comes to meat selection, you go hard or you go home. 100%, whatever beef is on the menu, you’ve got to go for it. If not because for your love of beef, at least in the name of getting your money’s worth.
So yes to Ribeye, yes to Beef Loin, and yes to Garlic Beef. These types of restaurants never stock the very best quality of meat but you know what – the beef at Little Sheep is almost spectacular when compared to other places. To spice up your night, make sure you try out the garlic beef with its tasty marinade and tender slices.
Add to that list of musts Lamb, Chicken, and Pork Slices and we’ve got the makings of a real celebration. Thinly cut, these meats cook up quickly for optimal pot to mouth time.
Pork and Veggie Dumplings and Pork and Shrimp Dumplings are pretty basic. Filled with a nice amount of meat, I wouldn’t have minded if the skin was a tad thicker but you win some you lose some.
Squid always has a tendency to cook out rubbery so I never waste my time on it but to each their own.
Oysters cost extra so in true asian spirit, I have no idea what those are like at Little Sheep as I am frugal and will not pay.
A selection of Lamb, Beef, Fish, and Cuttlefish balls are also available for your Hpot enjoyment. And let’s not forget about the Luncheon Meat because while sadly it was not spam, we must remember the important role it plays in keeping the balance in the pot. It’s not a veg, not quite a meat, but you can cook it for an entire day and it will still be soft and we must never undervalue this feature.
Our Napa Cabbage, Enoki Mushrooms, and Spinach added a refreshing touch of green nutrients to the pot and when eaten with Udon and Sweet Potato Noodles then drenched in soy sauce mixture, completes the ultimate Hot Pot Experience. Marks taken off for absence of glutenous rice cakes from menu but I will survive.
Leaving a massive mound of MSG, would I return?
Once an addict, always an addict. Asian standard clean, and at $20 per adult plus the extra $10 for soup base and $2 unlimited Pop and Lemon Tea refills, it’s a competitive price.
More importantly, it’s about a 10 minute drive from my home and when I get that itch, I’m gonna need to fix it fast.