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Archive for December, 2010

                                                        Restaurant Review: Boiling Point

Yao pai duo jiu?” said my mother, as we walked past the restaurant in the empty plaza in Hacienda Heights. We often drove past this small restaurant but we didn’t go that often because of the long wait. No matter when the weather is hot or cold lunch or dinner there was always a line and the only line in the plaza. The English name is called Boiling Point but the Chinese name is called “chou chou guo” if translated also known as Stinky Stinky Pot.

 

Peering from outside one can see and feel the liveliness and youthfulness in the restaurant, there are many college students and families in line and waiting and filling up the small restaurant.  Everyone is dressed in casual attire to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. From the moment you walk in you feel as if almost all of your five senses are used all at one time as you can hear the laughter and Asian pop music, smell the stinky tofu, see the steaming food right before your eyes, feel the warmness once you order a meal, and can almost taste everything.

                       

Who thought of this stinky gumminess you may ask? This restaurant is a Taiwanese Japanese fusion it isn’t the first restaurant with the same concept, but first in the U.S. The concept originated from Taiwan as a mixture of Taiwanese Style Hot Pot. Hot Pot is very similar to Shabu Shabu, which originated from Japan. Hot pot is a broth mixture that is filled with a variety of vegetables and meat.  

 

When entering the restaurant the first thing one can see the bright yellow walls the color of egg yolks, around 15 wooden tables some for a party of 2 to 8 and booths along the wall. On the wall hang the menu and a bulletin board with pictures of customers, chalk drawing and ads. Toward the inner wall is the kitchen and drink station. At the drink station works 4 to 5 college students assigned to a variety of jobs such as making drinks seating customers, serving food, and waiting on tables.

Once seated, an early 20 year old college looking student comes and offers a free sweet winter melon tea drink during lunch then hands a piece of paper and pencil. On the long strip of paper is the menu of 7 hot pots. The seven house pot are House special Hot Pot, Seafood and Tofu hot pot, beef hot pot, Lamb Hot Pot, Korean Kimchi Hot Pot, Curry Fish ball Hot soup, and Tomato and Veggie Hot Soup. Of the variety the House Special stood out as it is the most popular but to others it may not be pleasant, as they never enjoyed a stinky tofu. Most people have only tried fried stinky tofu but the tofu in the hot pot is steamed and is even smellier. As they advertise it a House Special is “So hot. So bubbly. So stinky. So wanty! Originated from Taiwan, stinky with a great savory taste, non-greasy and non-fattening are the distinctive features of our famous soup base.” Since I grew up enjoying stinky tofu I believe the smellier the better, because the food has a unique distinct flavor and smell with a variety of spicyness. If an indredient is not enough or not there I can just order more as a side dish. Usually shabu shabu is eaten with a speical sauce so is the hot pot. The 3 dipping sauce is a Spicy garlic bean paste. Garlic creamy soy sauce, house special spicy sauce–all carries their savory taste, which enhances the unique flavor of the hot soups. When combined, all 3 sauces and bring out all kinds of flavorsr in the hot soup entrees. What make the entrée even tastier is it is affordable of $10.99 for each pot. Craving for sweets after a hot meal one can enjoy a plate of fruit shaved snow. What is shaved snow? It is like melt in your mouth milk snow similar to shaved ice topped with fruit and condensed milk. I recommend this restaurant it is worth the wait.

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