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YX Yuxiang Mini Hot Pot – Haymarket NSW Hotpot Review

Our bank accounts are very modest, and when my girlfriend suggested we go to the Dolar Shop for hotpot I very skillfully redirected us to YX Mini Hot Pot, a competent and reasonable alternative situated across the road.

One of the things I really like about YX Mini Hotpot are the semi-private booths that they offer. The interior is quite dark, and the spacious booths mean that you can enjoy your meal in private away from prying eyes.

We enjoyed YX Mini Hot Pot’s various hotpot bases. I chose the dual-base with preserved vegetable and fish (酸菜) and chili. I liked both bases but I wish that the fish and chilli base could be paired with a more neutral base like the mushroom base or the bone broth base. Unfortunately the combinations available for the dual broths were limited and I had to settle for two tasty broths.

My partner picked the mushroom base and the tomato base. The mushroom base was light and shroomy, and the tomato base was quite sweet. Both were quite good.

We enjoyed the assorted mushrooms and the bok choy. My partner particularly liked the way the oyster mushrooms were cut, which were flat and thin. One thing I would mention is that the bok choy was cut in a way where the stem and root end were completely removed, leaving only the leaf. I don’t know why they would have done this, as I quite like the stem part. As I was typing this my partner informed me that bok choy is her favourite vegetable to wash “as they have nice broad stems, and there’s not much room to hide dirt, and the leaves are easy to peel and detach.”

I can recommend both the fried tofu skin and the fresh tofu. Both were great at absorbing the taste of the soup.

As we are budget eaters, we ordered the normal sliced beef and sliced lamb. There were differing cuts and grades of wagyu on offer, however, for the discerning and wide walleted diner. The beef was very good and fresh. The lamb we found to be a bit lamby, however acceptable when cooked in the chilli soup base.

The assorted balls (meat and seafood) I thought was a bit missable. It was nice that they offered fresh stuff as opposed to supermarket freezer stuff, but they didn’t really wow me. If I had my time again I would not get these and get more meat or other seafood.

In conclusion: We really enjoyed YX Mini Hot Pot. We paid around $120 to satisfy two humans, which I think is a reasonable amount to pay for fresh ingredients. The ingredients were much fresher than Legend Hotpot Buffet in Emerald Square Burwood, however more expensive. We paid a similar amount at Chong Qing Ji Gong Bao in Kingsford, which is also a good option a bit further out from the city. I can recommend, however I can’t say anything about YX’s more premium offerings.

Yuxiang Mini Hot Pot Haymarket
1/102-108 Hay St, Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 8065 9932

Categories
Chinese

The Dolar Shop – Haymarket NSW Restaurant Review

The Dolar Shop is, to date, the most luxurious and expensive hot pot restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. We paid around $70 per person for a full hot pot meal with 7 attendees. The restaurant was operated in the personal hot pot format, and so each person needed to fork out for individual soup bases.

The quality of the wagyu was truly extreme, and each briefly-boiled mouthful was a great experience. The sauce station provided ample choices, and there were lower-yield complimentary options including fresh fruit and matcha and vanilla soft serve.

VERDICT
The Dolar Shop, being extremely expensive, is really only a high end option for a special occasion. There are much plenty of cheaper hot pot places across Sydney that are almost as good.

The Dolar Shop Sydney
Shop 5-7 1909 Dining Precinct, Level 3
Market City, 13 Hay St, Haymarket NSW 2000
0487 886 677

Featured Colleagues: WKS, JZHW, BC, AL, JO

Categories
Chinese

JC Dragon Fusion – Parramatta NSW Restaurant Review

When you think about Asian Fusion cuisine you normally think about Asian inspired meals cooked with a mixture of both Asian and European cooking techniques. JC Dragon Fusion in Parramatta flips any such expectations on their heads and serves Chinese food fused with Chinese, cooked with the traditional Chinese techniques of steaming, boiling, deep frying, and stir frying.

Let’s go back in time to before you had seen the above photo. I want you to close your eye and picture for me “steamed prawn and pork dumplings” ($8.80). Now open your eyes. Is this what you imagined?

While Chinese-literate punters would immediately recognise the 燒賣 on the menu as shaomai, the English listing of this item on the menu leads in and traps members of the Asian Fusion diaspora like myself. As shaomai these are pretty good, in no way better or worse than you would get from your regular yum cha restaurant. As dumplings they are a bit lacking.

The pork ribs with black bean sauce ($8.80) was exactly as you’d picture them, though I felt that they did not have such a strong black bean flavour as the shadows cast by pork ribs with black bean sauce of past.

Ever the intrepid explorer, my girlfriend saw a distant table enjoying an aromatic hot pot with their lobster meal, and asked if we could have the same sans lobster. The traditional free range chicken hot pot ($39.80) is not generally offered on the menu, and I’m pretty sure the owner just made up a price for it on the spot. It features half a raw free range chicken (also known as a chicken who walks in Chinese), which is boiled at the table in an aromatic bak kut teh like broth. I thought that the soup tasted and smelled good, however did not find that the chicken added very much at all. The chicken was a skinny triathelete chook, cut up with lots of bones included inside the chicken, making it quite difficult to get any actual meat. Though a large portion I did feel that spending $40 on this presumably more legitimate bak kut teh did not provide much better a result than $5 bak kut teh packet mix soup. My girlfriend stuck to her guns and said she enjoyed it but I wouldn’t get it again.

SECOND VISIT, VIBE CHECK ONLY

I quite enjoyed these special pan fried stuffed bean curd ($16.80), like what you would find in a combination seafood hot pot, but not in a hot pot, and with some kind of animal combination attached to the tofu. Pretty delicious to be honest.

The Spicy Chicken with Chinese Wine Sauce ($17.80) was solid in taste and price, but I just don’t love chopped up bones in my chicken. Personal preference.

The battered and salt and pepper fried eggplant was a HUGE portion. Pretty tasty, but super unhealthy. Definitely more than we bargained for.

VERDICT

JC Dragon Fusion Restaurant’s only claim to fusion may be that it fuses yum cha lunch items and dinner items into an all day menu. I do appreciate the availability of dim sum for dinner, and can therefore recommend paying them a visit if you do too.

4 yums/5 chas

JC Dragon Fusion
Shop 4/115 Church St, Parramatta NSW 2150
(02) 9635 8333

Categories
Chinese

Thumbs Up Hot Pot – Hurstville NSW Restaurant Review

Thumbs Up Hot Pot in Hurstville provides an authentic Chinese hotpot all you can eat experience for the very affordable price of $32 per head.

Ordering is by circling options on a piece of paper. There are English and Chinese translations, however if you are after bok choy that is the only option that is not translated to English.

There are also multiple options for soup, with the option of single or double soup bases or triple, or quadruple choices for an additional fee. We chose the Chongqing Spicy Hot Pot Base and the Bone Broth Base. All hot-potting is done in a large communal hotpot, although if you’re keen to have your own private pot that’s also possible provided you sit by yourself. There were a few solo diners in the restaurant with us.

We had quite an eclectic selection of ingredients, drawn from the tastes of myself and my three colleagues. We definitely circled much more than our stomachs could handle, and the restaurant staff only brought out as much as they thought that we could eat. While we missed out on many of the items that we had ordered, it turned out that they knew us better than we did. We were absolutely full by the end of our meal.

The lamb and beef rolls are quite fatty. Overall the menu had quite base level ingredients, with frozen fish balls and probably not really anything made in house. You get what you paid for, however, and at $32 the price is right.

VERDICT
$32 for all you can eat hot pot is excellent. Thumbs Up Hot Pot reminds me of all those hot pot places on Clayton Road in Clayton VIC where my partner and I would go while she was staying with me. While the quality of ingredients is definitely not premium as some other competitors like YX Mini Hot Pot, I’d definitely recommend Thumbs Up to a price-conscious friend or colleague.

5/5

Thumbs Up Hot Pot Hurstville
164 Forest Rd, Hurstville NSW 2220
0415 338 539

Categories
Japanese

Gyusha – Chippendale NSW Restaurant Review

Chippendale’s Gyusha is a mixed-service restaurant and meat-focused grocery store. Their restaurant business offers a selection of meats for yakiniku and shabu-shabu, as well as a less core selection of sushi and sashimi.

Gyusha’s yakiniku meats can be ordered as part of teishoku sets or on their own. It was only a few dollars extra to add a lot of extra accompaniments to our order of chicken thigh, and so we ended up going with a chicken yakiniku set ($18.80), which along with its core offering of chicken thigh marinated in soy and spicy sauces (150g each, 300g total) came with a bowl of miso soup, some agedashi tofu, pickles, rice, tamago, edamame, and a small garden salad.

The chicken thigh meat was marinated well , but not too overmarinated. My pick was the soy marinated chicken as it had less sugar on it to burn. The rest of the teishoku set was actually quite delightful, and we loved the variety and fun flavours on offer to us at such a cheap price.

If I had one complaint about the yakiniku experience it’s that our grill wasn’t changed during our time, and it did get quite encrusted with burnt marinade towards the end.

The shabu-shabu hot pot with 300 grams of sliced wagyu beef also came with its own set of accompaniments – thought not as complete as the chicken yakiniku set. This set was without miso soup or agedashi tofu, which was a shame as the miso soup bowl ended up being the bowl we had that was really suitable for eating the shabu shabu. The flavours were light and good, and there was plenty of mushroom and vegetables (and just a little bit of tofu) to go with our meat. Additional meat for the shabu shabu could’ve been added on at the same price as yakiniku, and indeed the meat was interchangeable as we did grill some of the shabu shabu meat.

VERDICT
We had quite a nice time at Gyusha. Their teishoku set menus are quite aggressively priced and provide a really nice array of different flavours. The yakiniku and shabu shabu components of the meal consisted of high quality meat at a reasonable price. I thought it was odd that the guy kept calling me “young man”.

I can definitely recommend giving Gyusha a try.

A4.5

Gyusha
Shop 7/6 Central Park Ave, Chippendale NSW 2008
(02) 9304 0451