Beijing Hot Pot

What do you crave on a cold rainy day?  Usually something hot and soupy right?  I turned to my trusty Yelp to find something that would hit the spot on this cold rainy Portland night.  I came up with 2 hot pot spots, one all you can eat (AYCE) and one traditional pay as you go.  One always has to be wary of AYCE: low quality ingredients, poor preparation, etc.  Just to be safe, we opted for the traditional spot.  We were quite pleased with our choice, since everything was fresh, service was friendly, and we ended up paying less than the AYCE place and we were pretty full.

The decor left much to be desired.  I hate whitewash color walls.  It’s so harsh yet so dull.

Pickled Cucumbers

Very tasty.  Lightly pickled with the unique added ingredient of sesame oil.  Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to taste, but I never picked up on it before.  I’ll have to try making this at home.

Dumplings pork, chives, cabbage

Not bad, not great.  Tasted like homemade.  It’s nice to have these in addition to the hotpot just to mix things up a bit.  I appreciated the chewy thick skin, you can tell it was made from scratch.

(left moving clockwise) chicken balls, rice cakes, mushrooms, glass noodles, crabsticks, dried tofu, fresh tofu

 We opted for the 2 person combo for $24.  It included all of the above plus meat, veggies, and fresh noodles.  We were plenty full by the end, but Dumpling Man was not super hungry to begin with so maybe a bowl of rice or two to supplement the meal the next time we go.

romaine lettuce, napa cabbage, watercress

I was happy that they gave us a lot of veggies.  Everything was nice and green!

pork, beef

Unfortunately, there was nothing spectacular about the meat.  I wouldn’t say they gave tons of it either, but it wasn’t riddled with fat like what I heard about the meat at the AYCE place.

spicy (left) & nourish broth (right)

I kid you not, that is what they called it on the menu.  Now I’ve never had Beijing style hot pot, only Mongolian, Japanese, and Korean.  I would say Beijing style was most similar to Mongolian hotpot with the spicy and non spicy varieties of broth for cooking.  One main difference is that both broths lacked that very herbal, spicy quality that is very distinct in Mongolian hotpot.  Sometimes those herbs and spices can be a bit much after a while, so it was not too big a loss having a more simple spicy broth.

fresh noodles

This was the highlight of the meal, which the AYCE did not offer.  The noodles cooked up beautifully in the soup.  I was so full by the end I could barely eat my share.

Mmmm, I want a big bowl of these right now…

I contemplated taking pictures of the food while we were cooking, but it all looked sorta sloppy and not nearly as appetizing as it all tasted.  I really wanted to do the place justice.  My only knock on the place is the one note dipping sauce.  It was soy sauce based, but pretty tasty after adding their chilli sauce and some vinegar.  It also had toasted garlic or something else aromatic in there.  I really would have appreciated a sesame based sauce or something else to add another dimension of flavor.

I’m always pleasantly surprised after eating out in Portland.  The food is pretty good.  But I questioned myself, “Would I really think this was good if I were eating it in LA?”  I don’t know why, but the question was just hard to answer.  After much deliberation, I have decided that my standards are lower when it comes to Portland restaurants, especially the Asian ones.  Beijing Hot Pot was good, but I don’t think it would stand a chance against Little Fat Sheep or Mon Land Hot Pot with their bigger menus and additional sauces.  In any case, if I were craving hot and soupy in Portland, I would definitely come to Beijing Hot Pot.

Beijing Hot Pot

2768 SE 82nd Ave

Portland, OR 97266

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