Hot pot, or for those of you who hail from Malaysia/South East Asia like myself, who better know it as ‘steamboat’, refers to a simmering metal pot of soup/stock, into which ingredients are then cooked in it at the table.
Those of you who have grown up enjoying this during family gatherings will understand the simply pleasures of this concept of sharing food from the same communal pot.
For me, steamboat has been a common tradition in my family which we usually enjoy at home on Chinese New Year’s Eve – the ‘adults’ were usually sat at the main table, whilst us ‘kids’/younger generation usually sat at the neighbouring table where we had the bonus grill pan on the side (!)
But since living abroad for almost a decade now, and having rarely made it home for Chinese New Year, the new opening of Shuang Shuang in Chinatown had me quite excited.
In contrast to communal sharing around a round table, Shuang Shuang offers counter seats where you are instead provided with your own individual hot pot, or booths where you can share a large two-flavour pot, which we had that day.
The conveyor belt concept is something that most people would associate with sushi joints, so it is different to see it utilized for hot pot ingredients, which apparently circulate up to 50 fresh ingredients.
For the wine aficionados, there is a selection of wines specially chosen by Zeren Wilson to complement your hot pot journey, or if you’re old-fashioned like me, you can order some hot tea.
For those of you unfamiliar with how this concept works, fear not, as the menu comes with clear step-by-step pictorial guidance, including the essential ‘Three Steps To Being A Hot Pot Expert’, and a reassuring ‘BE BRAVE’ at the end.
All their broths are freshly made in house every day, from which there are five different options to choose from. We went for the Black Bird, made from a rare breed black chicken, and Fish Pond, a slightly tangy and spicy seafood based broth. There is also a list of dipping sauces to choose from to have with your hot pot – we ordered one of everything to try.
The plates are colour coded to indicate the price, which ranges from £1 to £4.30, and divided into categories: Meat, Fish & Shellfish, Greens & Roots, and Tofu & Noodles. There is also a small selection of snacks which are available to order upon request.
Click here for the menu.
For me, the best method is to grab a bit of everything and just throw them in to boil, taking out the ones that cook fast in between e.g. prawns/fish, and just let everything else simmer for a bit which then adds more flavour to the broth later on. Top-ups of vegetable-based broths are readily available upon request.
Our bill came up to a total of approximately £32 per person, which in my opinion is slightly pricey for hot pot standards, considering we had mainly vegetables, fishballs and some prawns.
Hot pot is not exactly a mind-blowing dish, but it is simple and comforting, and I suppose that the selling point for Shuang Shuang is probably the intriguing conveyor belt concept which gets passers-by to stop and look inside.
It is quite fun, and I would recommend a visit to experience it for yourself, but if you have a large(r) appetite, then be prepared for the bill at the end…
The Cheekster, signing out x