Boston Is Steaming With Hot Pots
Hot pot is a DIY eating experience that will be sure to warm your heart and soul. Here are ten spots where you can enjoy a simmering pot of soup... and cook it yourself.
Like fondue, hot pot, or shabu shabu, is a great communal experience that you can share with friends and family, or even to break the ice on a first date. With a large simmering pot of broth in the center of the table, you get involved with your food as you pick and choose the ingredients to add and make it yours.
Meats, vegetables, noodles, tofu and seafood can all play a part — you just have to drop them into a boiling broth and let them cook! A great pick-me-up on a cold rainy day – or if you're just tired of the A/C. Here are ten of our favorite spots around Boston to enjoy hot-pot hopping.
Kaze Shabu Shabu
With a hip mural of a totoro enjoying a hot pot, you'll have no trouble finding Kaze Shabu Shabu. The menu is broad, making this a great place to start for hot pot amateurs. And when you're ordering appetizers, don't let the fried spicy jumbo tentacles scare you — they'll be sure to octopi your heart with their taste (heh). These little suckers pack so much spice and crunch that you'll wish you had extra arms to finish them.
The first step to ordering your hot pot is choosing your soup base. We enjoy the Szechuan broth at Kaze. It's deliciously spicy; three out of six "peppers"; the perfect level of heat. Next comes the DIY part: choosing a platter of fixin's for your soup. The dish comes with a plate of fresh vegetables, but the protein is up to you. The meat lover combo is our favorite. It's a feast of prime rib eye, Kobe, Black Angus rib eye, boneless short ribs, and beef. Delicious!
Fun fact? You might recognize this spot as “Zhu’s Authentic Hong Kong Food’’ from the 2016 movie, Ghostbusters.
1 Harrison Ave., Chinatown, 617.338.8283, kazeshabu.com
Happy Lamb Hot Pot
Located near Central Square, Happy Lamb Hot Pot is part of the evolving, authentic Asian restaurant scene in Cambridge. Affiliated with the international hot pot chain Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot, it will fulfill all of your expectations with its fresh soups and ingredients.
We recommend the half & half pot; a mixture of spicy broths that pair deliciously with New Zealand spring lamb. Throw in the veggie combo platter: greens, corn, sliced radish, and spinach; and you have one flavor-packed meal.
The Mongolian grilled skewers and house pork dumplings are a delightful way to start your meal. And the self-serve cotton candy machine near the door? Definitely worth saving room for.
485 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 857.285.6933, Happy Lamb Facebook
A solid shabu restaurant, with two locations — Chinatown and Allston, Shabu-Zen is a hot pot spot known for its bustling, bistro-like atmosphere, and earthy broths.
We love their sweet and spicy Korean kimchi broth. It pairs well with thick and chewy udon noodles, and comes with a heaping side of vegetables including: napa cabbage, corn, mushrooms, bok choy or watercress, carrots and a square of tofu. The surf and turf combo is always a winner. The fresh seafood and beef pairs perfectly with the accompaniments and allows you to try several different soup combinations.
At the end of every meal comes a complimentary bowl of sweet red bean soup — a traditional Asian dessert made with azuki beans, and a refreshing way to end your meal.
16 Tyler St., Boston & 80 Brighton Ave., Allston, shabuzen.com
Hot Pot Buffet
Want to eat a whole lotta hot pot while staying on budget? Head over to Hot Pot Buffet. It's enormous; three floors of all-you-can-eat goodness! Their buffet has everything you could possibly want, including: crawfish, sirloin, and scallops. And they mean business when it comes to their dipping options. You get sides of chopped garlic, peppers or cilantro that you can add to the satay and soy-based sauces so that you can make your own.
In addition to hot pot, you can get Korean BBQ on the third floor. This is also a DIY event where you use a gas-heated grill to cook your food. We recommending grilling the classics like spam, and hot dogs. It's a new take on some old favorites, and makes the experience feel like an indoor camping trip!
70 Beach St., Chinatown, 617.338.0808, Hot Pot Buffet Facebook
A blue bubble wall is a sure sign that Q Restaurant is not your typical hot pot cafe. The food reflects the funky decor. And you can enjoy chocolate martinis with you creative cuisine. Excellent.
We recommend you start your meal with the spicy seafood salad; a combination of octopus, shrimp, crab, flying fish roe, and julienned cucumber - all mixed with a spicy mayo dressing and crunchy taro flakes. It's a refreshing and tasty appetizer that'll prep you for the main course.
We can't get enough of the Q's Ying Yang pot. It comes with a large veggie platter and two broths — we're fans of the popular Mala broth, and the black bone chicken broth — and the choices just keep going from there. For tofu lovers, the array of fried, soft, iced, and dried allows you to experience every texture possible. Meat lovers should try the Angus sirloin, which absorbs the most flavor from the broth. The Q also has lamb, pork, and Wagyu beef. Finally, when ordering noodles, always ask for the large! The delicious broths will have you slurping them up throughout your entire meal.
660 Washington St., Chinatown, 857.350.3968, thequsa.com
Shabu Restaurant is in a cozy location and offers small outdoor, indoor, and bar seating so plan on getting there early or be prepared to wait. Don't worry, it's worth it. And if you're on a mission to eat your weight in hot pot, check out the lunch buffet (offered daily), or the dinner buffet on Monday and Tuesday nights.
We like starting off with their Tom Yum broth; a spicy, sour, and savory Thai shrimp soup that pairs well with any meat (or non-meat) option. Scallops are a perfect protein for this dish, and Shabu serves them up fresh and plump. And if you're looking for a real seafood adventure, try ordering a plate of fish paste along with your meal. It's a pillowy dumpling-filling that you scoop into the broth, and oh man does it amp up the flavor.
Save room for dessert because the fried ice cream is delish! You've got seven flavors to choose from, including favorites like coconut and ginger.
397 Hancock St., Quincy, 617.689.0288, shaburestaurant.com
One of the best Asian restaurants around Boston, Yuki Shabu is at the top of their game with their fare. Starting with their broth, you're guaranteed a hot and tasty main course. For shabu fixin's, you can choose from pork, sirloin, chicken, enoki mushrooms, seafood, or fish balls, and all their hot pots come with a heaping side of veggies. Simple. Fresh. The absolute best.
And you get to skip the trip to Chinatown if you're not up for it — Yuki Shabu is conveninently located just two doors down from Union Square Donuts.
16 Bow St., Somerville, 857.327.8429, yukishabusomervillema.com
Little Q Hot Pot
We first fell in love with Little Q Hot Pot when they were located in Quincy, and were a little nervous about the new location in Arlington. But nope — it's love all over again. With a huge selection of vegetables, meats and broths, Little Q has been able to maintain the winning formula that makes them a true hidden gem.
Their miso broth is just pure simmering goodness all around — some of the best we've had. And it goes great with a variety of items like: scallops, quail eggs, seaweed knots, Chilean sea bass, and more. The extravagant spread they serve gives a Thanksgiving feast a run for it. A + dining here.
196 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, 781.583.1367, littleqhotpotma.com
Shabu & Mein
Between the hyper-modern interior and the tastiest shabu shabu on the Cambridge side of the Charles, Shabu & Mein has a funky, fresh bistro feel, and are known for their thick and creamy Tonkotsu broth (for both ramen and hot pot).
Shabu & Mein really delivers on quality. The vegetables are crisp and their selection of fresh seafood options — including salmon, white fish, scallops, squid, shrimp, fish cake, and clams — really hit the mark. You can even order fresh lobster tail. We recommend you make a night of it and indulge. It's amazing.
Shabu & Mein also has a fantastic, and largely local, beer selection. Order a Rogue Sriracha Hot Stout with your pot and spice things up!
148 1st St., Cambridge, 617.577.7888, shabumein.com
Royal Hotpot Sushi & Bar
Have a seat in a big comfy chair while metal carts roll out your food; you'll be treated like a noble when dining at Royal! You'll also eat like one — their all-you-can-eat buffet is top notch and includes a large selection of sushi and seafood like crab, eel, red clam, white tuna, and salmon.
We recommend starting off with some sashimi and working your way to hot pot. And be sure to try their Chinese herbal broth, it's a fragrant and light base for the noodles and protein to cook in and can be flavored any way you like. BBQ sauce and extra peppers is a favorite combo; a perfect balance of sweet and spicy.
Save some room for a green tea. We were more than impressed with their offerings, which include black currant green tea. It's a refreshingly perfect way to end your feast.
227 Parkingway, Quincy, 617.481.4874, royalquincy.com