Monday, 13 January 2014

YEG Winter = New Hotpot Restaurant! Chili Hotpot

Nothing beats the cold winters in Edmonton better than a hot bowl of soup, hot bowls of pho or all you can eat hotpot. I love my hotpot and I have been to almost all the hotpot places here in Edmonton. Recently, there has been a couple of new hotpot places appearing. Chili hotpot is one of the newest, located in the south side (kind of) right across from Strathcona High School on 104th street. The location is quite odd and parking may be difficult to find on a busy day, since the majority of parking will be on the street. I am a little behind on posting but I wanted to get this one out first since there are many things to be brought to attention after visiting this place twice..
1) Please be advised, the restaurant is kind of small and is similar in size to Asian Express, do make reservations in advance! Unfortunately, they do not open until around 2:30pm (or rather pick up the phone?) so calling after that time will be your best bet! Also, parking is troublesome on busy days as I mentioned above.
Expect a very full restaurant during weekend nights!

2) The sauce station has quite a bit of options (ranging from the usual hoisin sauce to peanut to satay to XO etc, and cilantro, ginger, garlic, lemon..etc) but it is VERY SMALL. It is tucked away in the back corner of the restaurant and only 2 people can go at a time. Even with 2 people obtaining sauces, there is a lot of arm crossing to reach to the other side, positions to switch...it can get a little messy. On a busy day, be prepared to line up to obtain your sauces.

3) The menu is amazing! So many options and so many choices. The oysters are quite big in size (was unlimited but now limited to the usual 2 per person), the shrimp are decent size. The meat slices are also quite well sliced! There are so many different things to try and the variation is awesome! I have never seen a menu that large before. A lot of the items are pretty good in terms of quality.

4) Plain broth (qing tong) is not on the menu, so if you want plain soup do tell them so. They like to push and up sell their soup bases but you can still get the plain broth. Also I really do prefer individual hotpots that you can customize yourself!
5) The service is very inconsistent. There will be days where you will receive better service and days where there will be no service.The kitchen is a mess and I guarantee you they will mess up your order!!! After coming here twice, they never get the order right. The first time here, they brought us completely random things that we did not order and the second time, they gave our order to a different table. After the other table gave us our order, the waitress came out with a double order!! So if you know right away you are missing something or have been given something extra, tell them right away. You may end up with more than what you want or not getting anything you ordered at all.

6) Don't get the fish mash.....or handmade fish balls. There are hidden bones in there or maybe I was just unlucky. But out of the 3 people who ate the grey fish mash, all of us were confused as to why it had a crunchy, prickly texture.. As I was chewing it, it was pricking my mouth and I couldn't stand it so I "fished" around for the bones in my mouth and managed to pull out 2 from the small fish balls. Unbelievable. The last thing I would want is for fish bones to be lodged in my esophagus.

7) If you speak Cantonese or Mandarin....use it! English will get you by fine, but from my experience, I felt that from using my Cantonese they seemed to be more comfortable, relaxed, attentive and helpful!

Overall, Chili Hotpot is wonderful, much needed hotpot place located in the south side. Yes they offer a wide variety of things to order from, but with the disorganized kitchen and numerous amount of mix ups that do occur, I am in no hurry to be back for the third time. I think this restaurant needs time to figure out the best way to operate and meet everyone's need. You can definitely tell the waitresses are scrambling all over the place to take orders, drop off items as well as refilling soup. Hopefully everyone will have a better experience than the ones I had, but for now I will be staying with Kings Noodle Hotpot to satisfy my hotpot cravings. 
Chili Hot Pot on Urbanspoon

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