So, as I mentioned yesterday Eric and I essentially ate our way from one end of the weekend to the other. Delicious. (Said in the Candy Crush voice.) And I’ve been so excited to tell you guys about our experience with hot pots in Chinatown since it happened.

On Saturday night, Eric and I were in the mood for some real Chinese food. So we walked right past the PF Chang’s, continued past the row of restaurants on the border of Chinatown that caters to tourists, and made our way to the section of restaurants where  you actually have to request menus in English rather than Mandarin.*

(*Ok we didn’t technically have to request English menus, they handed them to us as we were sitting there looking like white people and talking English to each other. But still, it’s really authentic.)

So, if you’re not familiar with hot pots- as neither Eric nor I were before we ventured in to this place- it’s just like fondue. But instead of dipping your raw meat/fish/veggies into boiling oil or cheese with a skewer, you dip them into broth. And instead of using a skewer, you have just about every other utensil imaginable at your disposal… and more sauces, spices and noodles than you know what to do with.

Not pictured: a whole bowl of noodles and another spoon that was also a strainer

Not pictured: a whole bowl of noodles, another spoon/ strainer and the huge drop cloth the waiter was undoubtedly keeping behind the counter in case I kept spilling everything everywhere

For those of you keeping score that’s 3 plates, 2 bowls, 1 dish for sauce, 2 trays for spices, 1 set of chopsticks, 1 ladle/spoon, 1 strainer/spoon, one big pot of broth and one hidden drop cloth. And by the way, that was just my side. Eric had his own identical set up.

We quickly noticed that the technique we were using to cook and then subsequently transport the food into our mouths was much, much, different than that of the locals who were sitting around us. However, we didn’t want to stare at them so we just continued doing it our way.

cat with chopsticks

The waiter gave us some pointers because as if it wasn’t obvious enough, I told him flat out we didn’t know what we were doing. However his instructions came in the form of “cook the pork for 30 seconds, cook the chicken for 35 seconds, beef for 13 seconds, lamb for 14 seconds, broccoli for 8 minutes, noodles for 3 seconds….” etc etc. I smiled and nodded eagerly through the whole list. Then when he was through, I turned to Eric, blinked twice and mumbled, “wait, what?” Eric shrugged and we just started scooping things into the broth.

That's Eric cooking like a pro

That’s Eric cooking like a pro

It worked out. We cooked the food and got it into our mouths.  It wasn’t pretty nor graceful, but it was delicious and fun and nobody got food poisoning from under-cooked meats, so, I considered it an all-around win.

When we finished it was about 10:15pm, and we were both thinking one thing.

bridesmaids ready to party

Hahaha no.

Ice cream!! So we first tried to stop into a Ben & Jerry’s that was on our way home, but they were severely lacking in the fro yo department so we left.

We had 2 choices at that point- go home or go to our favorite place, JP Licks, which was all the way across town. Well, obviously going home without fro yo and ice cream wasn’t happening so we set out for JP Licks.

michelle tanner ice cream

We even called ahead to make sure they wouldn’t close before we got there. It was worth the walk :)

Have you ever been to a hot pot restaurant?

Do you know how to do it correctly? (Please tell me if you do! I’d like to go back one day)

What’s your favorite flavor of fro yo or ice cream? (Mine is mint chocolate chip hard frozen yogurt. Hands down.)


56 Thoughts on “Hot Pots and Fro Yo (Alternate Title: Good Times with Food That Rhymes)

  1. I’ve never had hot pots but it sounds fun! I am soooo envious of your J.p. licks trip! That is on my list of must-stops when I’m home! Maybe we can meet up?!! My favorite froyo flavors are salted caramel and anything cake batter! Glad you had a good weekend hun!
    Meredith recently posted…fathers are a blessingMy Profile

    • Omg let me know when you’re in town and we’ll do a jp licks meet up!! i love cake batter fro yo too, i havent had it in forever, i may need to get that next time. enjoy the rest of your evening! (actually in australia it’s probably tomorrow by now, so have a good morning!)

  2. I’ve never tried hot pots, but they sound like a culinary adventure! Hmmm, I don’t know if I can narrow down my love for ice cream/fro yo to a single flavor. Doesn’t seem fair to play favorites when there are so many delectable combinations out there! I’m a huge fan of mint chocolate chip too. Some of my other favorite Blue Bell flavors include summer berries, lemon, Butter Crunch (vanilla with butterfinger pieces), pistachio almond, the list goes on and on. Last weekend my husband and I split some blueberry and vanilla swirled froyo, topped with whipped cream, marshmallow sauce, and fresh blueberries. It was AWESOME! OK, now I want ice cream for breakfast!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted…Travel Tips for New ParentsMy Profile

    • Oh YUM that list just put me in the mood for an after work fro yo run!! (actually considering the strength of monsoon outside, that may need to wait until tomorrow, or later tonight weather permitting :) ) that blueberry swirled sundae you guys had sounds absolutely divine!! (and that is not a word i use lightly!)

  3. Restaurants that come with instructions? Lol oh that’s great. I’ve never heard of hot pots before, but I’d be kind of scared that I’d do something wrong and end up giving myself food poisoning (biggest fear, right there). Froyo, on the other hand, I’m totally down for… but I have to admit that my experience with it is kinda limited due to allergies 😕 Most places can’t guarantee that their products didn’t come into contact with peanuts, so that kinda makes it off limit for me. Can I go with ice cream instead? Because either vanilla or mint chocolate win first place in my books :)
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. find the good in every day .My Profile

    • absolutely, i sometimes use the words froyo and ice cream interchangeably anyways to mean something cold and creamy that may or may not come with sprinkles. And that must be tough to have a peanut allergy, i hope yours isnt too too bad on the spectrum of peanut allergies!!

  4. I’ve never been to hot pot and I would be just as confused as you were!

    My favourite flavour of anything frozen (ice cream, yogurt) is chocolate. Boring right? I can’t help it!
    Erin recently posted…Some things from the weekend (have you ever seen a cat on a leash?)My Profile

    • nothing boring about chocolate in my opinion!! for the first like, 20 years of my life the only thing i would order was chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles, so you’re talking to the right girl :)

  5. I had to laugh when I read the title of your post! When we were in china, locals took us out to a seafood hot pot restaurant. For a vegan and mostly vegetarian, I can honestly say it was one of the worst meals of the trip! I enjoyed the few veggies that were ordered, but they were few and far between all the meat plates!
    Glad you capped the evening off with fro-yo!
    Abby @ Change of Pace recently posted…Ironman journey – Coeur d’AleneMy Profile

    • I would lovvve to go to china one day! that must have been really hard to navigate as a vegan/vegetarian- i feel like most dishes are meat based, or at least cooked in a meat broth or fish sauce or something similar. hot potting was difficult, i bet the locals taught you great technique while you were there :)

  6. JP licks is THE BEST. When I make it down to Boston this summer (WHEN, not IF), can we go on a date for ice cream/froyo? I’ll do anything!!! I’ve never even heard of a hot pot restaurant before. Sounds interesting. To be perfectly honest, I think I’d save my money and appetite for the ice cream :)
    pickyrunner recently posted…RUNning awayMy Profile

  7. Thanks for the tip. Hot Pots, nice! A good reason to head down to NYC…TY! :)
    Lawrence recently posted…Relexation Stimulates Muscle GrowthMy Profile

  8. Hahaha when you said delicious (in the Candy Crush voice) I immediately heard it and burst out laughing! Nothing beats real, real Chinese food- not American Chinese food. In China, their food is so much different from what takeout places serve here. And much better!
    Alyssa @ Road to RD recently posted…Who Let the Dogs Out?My Profile

    • i know, i would love to go to china one day! my knowledge of real chinese food in china comes pretty much entirely from anthony bourdain’s show, so i’m psyched to actually try it out one day :)

  9. Is it bad that after you said “(Said in the Candy Crush voice.) And I’ve been so excited to tell you guys about our experience with…” I thought you were going to say “about our experience with Candy Crush”?

    Anyway, I feel like a really bad Asian because I’ve never been to a Hot Pot restaurant before. I remember a year or two ago, my friends and I attempted to do the Korean BBQ thing…we didn’t know that they cooked the meat for us, so while we were waiting for our waiter-person to come out, we stuck the meat on the grill even though none of us had any idea how to actually cook it…and then the waiter came out and started flipping out. Oh, Asian restaurants…
    Beth @ Mangoes and Miles recently posted…The only person you have to prove anything to is yourselfMy Profile

    • Lol, i havent tried the korean bbq thing but it is totally right up my alley- i love a dining “experience”. plus ive heard its really delicious!! and oh girl i do have stories about candy crush over the weekend, i just didnt think anybody wanted to hear them :)

  10. I’ve never been to or even heard of a hot pot. It sounds pretty interesting though and who knew there would be instructions on how to eat the food!?! It sounds like you should have brought a pen and paper to write all the directions down! 😉 It does sound pretty awesome thought and glad no one got sick!

    My favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip and coffee!
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat recently posted…My Obsession ContinuesMy Profile

    • isnt mint chocolate chip so good? i may or may not have a serious obsession with it lately. and about half way through the waiter’s cook time list i started reaching into my purse to feel around for some scrap paper :)

  11. I have been to a hot-pot restaurant! We have a decent Chinatown in Chicago and there are some amazing places to try this out, but I must admit that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing and spend most of the meal trying not to lose my food in the broth. It’s all very yummy, though! Food adventures are the best! My favorite fro-yo is something involving chocolate and cake batter, loaded with m&m’s and gummies….now I want fro-yo for breakfast. recently posted…Target Practice + Amazing Weekend!My Profile

    • oh i LOVE gummies with froyo. i really like when they get hard/frozen. so good. and yeah- trying to find your food in broth takes about as much time as actually eating and cooking it combined!

  12. Yum to Asian food in general. But, really, we have a place like that here in ATL but it’s called Korean BBQ. They give you raw meat, a bunch of plates, soup, rice, veggies and tons of other things that I have no idea about…. In any case, it’s SO good, and when we go, we are the only Americans in there. Authenticity, baby! I love that you just did things your way and it worked out! Of course it did, Asian food is the best! <3
    Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures recently posted…Pink is IT, ApparentlyMy Profile

  13. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of a hot pot.
    That’s kind of cool that there’s instructions on how to eat the food, that’s definitely a new one 😉
    For some reason, that may freak me out a bit I’d be afraid I’d do something totally wrong haha. I’d leave it to the professionals;)
    I’m not a huge frozen yogurt fan actually, not sure why, I like my ice cream I suppose hah.
    Lisa recently posted…The Perfect Diet For EveryoneMy Profile

    • Oh I know- its so intimidating in restaurants like this where you have no idea what the proper etiquette is- I guess it just comes down to accepting that you’re probably going to look like a bit of a fool :) ohh well. adventures in dining out.

  14. Sounds kinda disappointing the way you described it… I’d rather dip something into cheese rather than broth any day!! Glad you made it up to yourselves by getting B&J! :) Also must have taken a lot of willpower (especially when hungry) to pass up PF Changs eggplant!

    • Lol, whenever we’re on our way to chinatown i ALWAYS say “or we could just do PFs! its RIGHT here” ahh every. time. because lets be honest, when am i not hungry?

  15. Whoa I’ve never done that but it sounds…interesting, hehe. Love how devoted you were to the fro yo cause. I just always get the tart fro yo flavor and load it up with all the unhealthy things in sight. :)
    Caitlyn @ City and the Cubicle recently posted…Tuesday ThingsMy Profile

  16. Goodness it sounds a little like the cook decided to take the night off at that restaurant, so you had to prepare and cook your own food….Actually are you sure that didn’t happen?
    carlotta recently posted…The Health Benefits of GratitudeMy Profile

  17. bahahaha that photo of Michelle Tanner is so impeccably placed in this post.

    I have actually never done a hot pot before, but I have seen them and it always looks so good! Maybe there are YouTube videos about it?

    Korean and Indian food are a little similar in that they often comes with tons of side dishes and things that you have no idea what to do with. I often just end up mixing whatever with whatever. I like to joke that it’s the equivalent of watching someone dip spaghetti into mayonnaise 😛
    Alex @ Brain, Body, Because recently posted…My First Barre ClassMy Profile

  18. I’ve never been to a Hot Pot restaurant
    I love NSA raspberry soft serve froyo
    Liz @ The Girl on Fire Now recently posted…Montreal and QuebecMy Profile

  19. I’ve never been to hot pots or fondue, but one of my favorite places to eat is Mongolian barbecue! Its kinda expensive, so we usually only go on my birthday, but its worth it! I’m ALL about eating where doing something fun with your food comes first :) it sounds like you guys had a GREAT time this weekend, love seeing the pictures! I love anything chocolate when it comes to ice-cream, so I’m a huge fab of brownie or fudge anything! :) have a good one, m’dear!
    Chelsea recently posted…Things I Know #7My Profile

    • i really want to try mongolian bbq!! ive heard great things, is that the same as/ similar to korean bbq? ill have to google that. my favorite ben & jerrys fro yo is the cookie dough, brownie batter choc and vanilla swirl. anything with brownies makes me happy :)

  20. I’ve never even heard of this type of restaurant before but hey, doing new things makes everything exciting, right?! I would probably ditch the proper way to do it, too, and do it my own way! And I’m definitely guilty of traveling all the way across town to buy something because I know it’s the best place to get it. My favorite frozen yogurt flavor has got to be birthday cake. I just love cake batter flavored things. Love your site!

    • Thanks Lauren!! i havent had cake batter fro yo in wayyy too long, i think i need to get some on my next visit. its so good. and yeah and meal thats also an experience is cool in my book :)

  21. Ha, that looks like so much fun! I’ve never tried hot pots before, but it is definitely on my list now.
    Favourite flavour of ice cream or froyo? Hmmm…tough call! I’d have to say chocolate chip cookie dough or chocolate peanut butter ice cream, and either cookies and cream or white chocolate peppermint froyo. Yes, I gave you four different possibilities because I couldn’t possibly pick just one.
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…Not Superwoman.My Profile

    • omg- white chocolate peppermint froyo- mind blown. that sounds amazing, i need that in my life! i have to admit, if the mint frozen yogurt had chunks of cookie dough in it, i’d be even happier.

  22. You are my kind of diner! Calling ahead to make sure you get your fro-yo is a total win in my book. Also I LOVE fondue so this whole hot pot phenomena sounds like it is right up my alley! What kind of sauces did they give you? If something spicy was involved I am sold!
    Her Happy Balance recently posted…5 Reasons I’m a Grandma…My Profile

    • i like it spicy too!! they actually gave you a regular brown sauce to dip stuff in- it was a bit more flavorful than straight up soy sauce, but along those lines. and then they gave you spices like garlic, chili peppers, scallions and a shrimp based paste of some sort and you could make the dipping sauce as spicy as you wanted. i loved that part!

  23. I’ve heard of hot pots but I’ve never tried it myself (I shake my fist at you, Celiac!) — that said, I’ve heard great things from people who have tried it. :)

    As for my fave fro yo/ice cream flavor, it’s a tie between salted caramel and butter pecan. OMG, so much drooling. Gaaaaaaah.
    Lillian @ Seize the Latte recently posted…I Am My Own Lab RatMy Profile

    • i need to get on this salted caramel bandwagon- lots of people are mentioning it. ive had salted caramel flavored desserts in the past, and i’ve always been impressed, so i feel like i would love it in froyo form. im adding that to the to do list. right below pay rent and above do laundry.

  24. I’ve never tried hot pots either!! I’ll have to add that to the ‘ole bucket list. My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip, OOORRRR a close second is Moose Tracks. Flashback to middle school, not even sure if they still make that, but it’s the!
    Sarah @ Sweet Miles recently posted…that time I ran to kroger…My Profile

    • Haha! omg moose tracks- i did just flashback to middle/high school. does ben & jerrys still make that?? you can bet im going to be googling that as soon as i finish this comment. actually 1 sec- doing it now… omg i think its been discontinued! aw man, thats a shame.

  25. I’ve never heard of a hot pot restaurant but I’m a huge huge fan of fondue. I’m going to have to find a hot pot place now, although it always stresses me out – did I cook it long enough? Am I going to food poison myself? Lol!

    Mmm froyo is always worth it!
    Ari @ The Pace of it All recently posted…Latest addiction and too many treats…My Profile

  26. I haven’t heard of hotpots either, sounds interesting! Asian fondue, who would have thunk it? I love the instructions from the waiter! You need a notepad to eat there, apparently. My favorite froyo is classic chocolate vanilla swirl- nothing better than that! :)
    Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health recently posted…Roasted Corn & Tomato Naan Pizzas with Burrata CheeseMy Profile

  27. Wow! That restaurant sounds really cool and interesting. It looks much healthier than a typical American fondue too. I would love to try out something like that, but I’m pretty sure we don’t have a restaurant like that nearby ):
    My favorite ice cream/fro yo flavor would have to be coffee. Coffee with chocolate sauce is better. or chocolate. Or any flavor really ;D
    Nausheen @ 15 and Eating Clean recently posted…New Oatmeal Recipe!My Profile

    • Yeah if there’s a hot pot place near you, you must give it a try! it’s delicious and a really fun experience! haha everything with chocolate sauce is better :)

  28. Never tried hot pots before, but it def. sounds like a food adventure that I’d be willing to try. Of course, I’d be just as confused as you were though! 😉 Favorite froyo?? Waayyy to difficult to narrow it down to one, but I like the sugar free vanilla (when I’m being good), the red velvet (when I’m not ;-)) and yes, mint chocolate chip froyo/ice cream/Anything (lol) is soo good!
    Koryn @ High Heels & Healthy Alternatives recently posted…WIAW – What I’m Lovin’ and What I’m Thankful forMy Profile

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