It has been a month since we all began staying at home, and all non essential businesses have shuttered down. All in order to slow down and possibly suppress the spread of Covid-19. As a result, the restaurant and hospitality industries, built on gathering people and socializing in person, have taken a major hit. Only now are we seeing more solutions and people supporting their favourites food stops, as there doesn’t seem to be a sign of this landscape changing any time soon. So it is uplifting to see restaurants that are open, and looking to different promotions and themes in order to entice diners to take out and eat at home.
This is especially the case for such social dining experience like hot pot. In an era that requires one to distance themselves and not share fluids or air, getting together and sharing a meal that gets cooked out of the same pot for all, seems like out of the question. However this popular Chinese hot pot chain has come up with a promotional special that takes all the work out of preparing a hot pot feast, while allowing yourself to enjoy with immediate family members or yourself. Our group would fall into the latter category, choosing to enjoy our hot pot individually, but together, virtual.
This is a recap of our delivery and hot pot dinner experience. To skip the reading, and learn some tips for a successful hot pot, visit the link below for my latest YouTube video.
With locations in Downtown Vancouver, Burnaby, and Richmond; Liuyishou has delivery covered. The corresponding location will prepare your meal and pack it all up to go for contactless delivery. They will leave the packages by your door for you to retrieve and sanitize at home. Each order includes a card that has the employee who prepared and packed your meal sign off on their well being; which includes an up to date temperature read. This is to help create peace of mind for those who are weary, but want to support such businesses with a delivery order.
And then, all you need is a heat source, like a portal propane stove, and if you don’t have that, your stove top would work in a pinch. You will also need their special split pot to enjoy two broths at once, here they have you covered. With any order over $100 they throw one in for you, and it includes ladles that will help in the scooping process, once the food is cooked.
The set I enjoyed was the Hot pot combo for 2 for $78. A deal that was reduced from $118. To this I had add-ons, to better round out the meal: rice and a few sides, including fresh fruit for dessert.
The meal is set, but there are a few customizations that you can make. Like which of the two soup bases you want to start off with. I skipped the spicy one and the pork bone for something a little more mild to build on. The “Wild mushroom soup base” came with Chinese herbs. The enoki and sliced shiitake bobbing about was a nice bonus, in addition to the following ingredients that I would boil up with it. For good measure, I also ordered additional mushrooms to drop in and cook.
But my favourite of my two broths was the “Tomato soup base”. What looked like a spicy neon red serving was delicious in rich tomatoey flavour. It added its essence to everything it touched, whereas the other broth barely left a trace.
Worth noting is that, seeing as you are not dining in, you won’t get servers checking in on you, offering to top up your broth. So when doing this for yourself at home, the easiest solution is to add water when your broth boils down, or chicken stock if you have any handy.
Although regardless of the broth, your hot pot meat and vegetables do end up tasting like the sauce you dip them in to anyways. With the set you get your choice of two sauces. But here, I went a little overboard asking for a lot more. The sesame oil, sesame paste, chilli oil, minced garlic, green onion, cilantro, etc. A variety of mixes help to elongate your experience: changing the flavour as needed.
The combo includes 300g of sliced marinated beef and a 300g sliced Australian lamb. Both perfectly packed in the same curls that you would get when dining in. They definitely focus on presentation regardless of takeout, and the use of plastic disposable containers.
Especially seen with their “House special shrimp paste”. A pate of sorts that you ball up and add into the broth to boil up. It is set to look like a thumbs up shape, in honour of Liuyishou’s logo. This was one of my favourite ingredients, a great flavour and an enjoyable texture.
Speaking of texture, the next collection was the “Chongqing hot pot specialities” with House special beef tripe, Beef aorta, and Classic duck blood cube. Being a novice to all three, I was happy to have my virtual lunch mates walk me through the appropriate cooking time for each.
The tripe only needed 7 seconds, much like the thin slices of red meat. The result, a soft and rubbery chew. Although speaking from experience, over cooking it does not make it inedible. The aorta slices looked like calamari rings with a similar texture, a quick dip and it was ready to enjoy like cartilage. The duck blood cube was a little out there for me, a delicacy I couldn’t get my head around. It was a solid formed slice of blood, that didn’t melt after it was boiled. It retained its jello-like jiggle with a similar mouth feel. I have never had anything like it.
More familiar is the vegetable platter that included Potato slices. Potato purposely cut thick so that they wouldn’t disintegrate when left in boiling soup. I passed on the Crown daisy and Chinese cabbage, not enjoying the texture or the taste of wilted leafy greens. I also find that their flavour tends to dominate the broth once added. My favourite was the kelt knots, another great chew and texture to maw through.
On top of other hot pot fixings, you can also order off of Liuyishou’s appetizer menu. I highly recommend their fried rice, if you are like me and enjoy a starchy base with your meat and vegetable hot pot.
In terms of drinks, I highly recommend beer with your hot pot. Like with spicy foods and salty bar offerings, beer is great with dishes that have plenty of flavour. And if you are enjoying a glass, you can also order some edamame to pair with it as a munching snack; and way to catch your second wind. Hot pot is about eating slowly and enjoying the cooking process while socializing. Social distancing provides a challenge, but video conferencing your friends is a great solution.
For more details on how you can order this delicious set for a fun night in, visit the link below and check out our live hot pot party video!
5507 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 2G3