Edmonton’s on the cusp of Spring, but on days like today where there’s still snow on the ground, I crave something warm and filling. What better way to curb those cravings than hot pot! 97 Hot Pot is the newest individual-style hot pot in our central Chinatown. Other competitors, Asian Express Hot Pot (the original individual hot pot go-to place) and Urban Shabu (owned by Urban China) are within walking distance, so what makes 97 Hot Pot different? I got a chance to find out with my coworkers last week… all 18 of us. Makes hot pot all the more exciting when you have such a large group of people!
With 12 different soup bases to choose from, it matches Urban Shabu’s selections. As with the other hot pots, the soup bases cost an additional $2, unless you get the plain chicken broth, which is free. You can also try two soup bases with a half-half divider for an additional $2 as well! Menu items are listed also listed on the laminated spread, although your traditional order by quantity paper is also available to order from. A complete menu is available at the end of the post.
Your sauces and toppings are located on the back wall, all nicely labelled. I liked the fact that a lot of the liquid sauces were in bottles versus bowls or containers like other places. Soy sauce is in the gigantic tap dispenser which was clever. I honestly think the key to good hot pot is your sauce mixture, especially if you choose the plain chicken broth like I usually do! My mixture of choice: oyster sauce, sesame sauce, red chili, garlic, cilantro, green onions, and soy sauce until the consistency is looser for dipping. Ever since I’ve mastered this, I’ve never tried anything else!
Lots of items to order from, and remember it’s all you can eat! There’s a small sign at each table with buttons that you can ring for service. Meat plates come with 5 slices, which takes the guess work out of how many plates to order. Unlike other places, our orders came out correctly, albeit some were slight delays but that was probably because there were 18 of us. It seemed to be general consensus that the quality of meat cuts were a lot better than both Asian Express Hot Pot and Urban Shabu. I always love seafood mashes, a housemade mash that you can portion out into your soup to make balls!
The only downside: the ventilation. Much like Asian Express, the ventilation is minimal and is evident on their windows, thick with condensation! Remember to wear your hot pot clothes and don’t make plans after dinner! Head home and shower! Service was excellent and the space is quite large with room to move around tables. Street parking is available, as well as a private lot west of the building (behind their storefront). Give 97 Hot Pot a try next time you’re in the area!
10602 – 97 St