My Shanghai – High end hot pot at Hai di lao

9 Jul

During the winter months we are consistent visitors at our neighborhood hot pot place – a branch of 小肥羊(The little lamb) which is known for it’s lamb hot pot and affordable prices.  As the weather gets hotter, our tastes change and we will seek out cooler options that don’t leave you drenched in sweat and smelling like chili.  This spring before the weather changed to permanent heat we decided to try another famous hot pot chain called Hai di lao (海底捞).

They even give you a bag to put your cell phone, lest you get soup on it!

They even give you a bag to put your cell phone, lest you get soup on it!

Haidilao is known for exceptional customer service – and exceptionally long wait times.  As people wait they have games for you to play and even offer free manicures.  We decided to go late on a Saturday between the lunch and dinner rush so there was no need to wait, but even at 2pm there were lots of folks in the restaurant.

Waiting for the pot to boil in our special hot pot aprons.

Waiting for the pot to boil in our special hot pot aprons.

I thought hot pot was only for cooler weather, but now that I have visited Taiwan, I have changed my point of view.  The heat there is in the 90s every day, but the hot pot restaurants are everywhere – and full!

For this trip we got a mixed pot and also a mix of veggies and meat to put in.  I like spicy but sometimes the mild is also nice and then your dipping sauce can have the spice.

This pot was 50% spicy and 50% mild.

This pot was 50% spicy and 50% mild.

Before the feast - with a custom sauce that we mixed ourselves

Before the feast – with a custom sauce that we mixed ourselves

A big plate of tasty food - tofu, veggies, meatballs and lamb

A big plate of tasty food – tofu, veggies, meatballs and lamb

As a special treat – they have one dish that comes with a performance, the special noodles.  We got to watch twice as people around us ordered it.  The second time I got my camera out to capture the master twirling the noodles.  Do you think you could do this?

Can you do that with your pasta?

Can you do that with your pasta?

Or this?

Or this?

Or this?

Or this?

I definitely could not. 

A long time later we succeeded in eating almost everything we ordered and made our way slowly home.  Haidilao is part of my Shanghai.  Have you had hot pot before?

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11 Responses to “My Shanghai – High end hot pot at Hai di lao”

  1. Valerie July 9, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Looks delsih! And I hear you on the temp change and eating habits – its either salads or outdoor grilling. I havent turned the oven or stove on in a long time!

    • gkm2011 July 9, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

      Gotta agree, that is why hot pot in Taiwan when it is 90 degrees surprised me so much.

  2. Jennifer Avventura July 9, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    I’ve never had hot pot before but you’ve got me hungry for it. Looks like a great time!

    • gkm2011 July 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

      The closest thing I had in the west was fondue with the broth instead of cheese, but Chinese hot pot is definitely better. Hope you get to try it soon!

  3. ladyofthecakes July 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    I LOVE hot pot 🙂
    Flinging noodles…? I can just about tie my own shoelaces.

    • gkm2011 July 9, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

      The noodles were a fun edition to the meal, reminded me of a show I saw once on the pizza tossing championships.

      • ladyofthecakes July 9, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

        Mmmmh… we’re back onto pizza 😉

  4. nancy@jamjnr.com July 9, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    I can’t bring myself to eat hot pot during the summer so I’m impressed you’re going to even consider it. The noodle flinging looks fun though and definitely worth ordering if only for the performance.

    • gkm2011 July 9, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      If the restaurant has super strong air conditioning I may consider it again. I had clam hot pot in Taiwan recently and it was luscious. The noodles were really a hoot too.

  5. ottominuti July 10, 2013 at 1:32 am #

    I’va had hot pot only once in the US so I can’t tell about its authenticity. It was good but I don’t like boiling hot foods so I couldn’t appreciate truly. Your pics are spectacular! Love the noodles thing!

    • gkm2011 July 10, 2013 at 7:07 am #

      Yes, the boiling can take a while to get used to. The noodles were fun, though pretty messy. One of the times he did it part way through the noodles broke and he had to start over. Didn’t get a photo of that though.

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