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北京美食之旅 – 海底捞火锅

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In December 2012, 海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot opened its first overseas outlet – right here in Singapore. It created a big hoo-ha as 海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot was extremely popular in China with long waiting times of a few hours at every single outlet. The food was not only great, it was the thoughtful service and clean environment which attracted the China crowd every night.

We have not visited the local outlet in Singapore. What was even better was that we had the chance to visit one of the older 海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot outlet in Beijing!

海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot

海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot

As we had reached just past the lunch hour, there wasn’t much crowd and we skipped the queuing process. As this was an older outlet, food was still ordered using a paper menu, rather than iPads at some newer branches. The waitresses were particularly attentive. For customers who wore glasses, spectacle cleaning cloths would be provided. For those with un-tied long hair, hair rubber bands would be offered. And for those who can’t part with their phones, they provided transparent ziplock bags to contain the phones. A large cloth would also be used to cover our bags. And finally, an apron to prevent any splashes n spills onto our clothes. All these done in a bid for the customers to enjoy a hassle free, clean and comfortable meal.

海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot

海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot

海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot provides a long table of various condiments for customers to concoct their very own dipping sauce – and this was always an excitement for us. We chose the hot pot duo, which came with a non-spicy soup base and a 麻辣 spicy soup base. The 麻辣 soup base was really authentically 麻辣 – it was filled with red hot spicy sichuan peppers which gave the soup a very strong spicy kick with a rich fragrance. Definitely not for drinking though, solely meant to flavour the ingredients.

The ingredients at 海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot spanned across a wide variety and were very fresh. In particular, we enjoyed the Handmade mashed shrimp, which was essentially fresh shrimp paste contained in a tight transparent bag. Upon request, the waiter would squeeze out the shrimp paste from the bag and into the hot pot. The cooked shrimp paste was somewhat like a prawn ball. It was succulent, juicy and very fresh.

As the China palate leans to beef and mutton, there weren’t really many chicken or pork offerings. Hence, we stuck to ingredients such as assorted mushrooms (golden mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, abalone mushrooms), frozen tofu, sweet potatoes, bamboo shoots, Chinese yam and potato slices.

And at 4 RMB per pax, we could enjoy a free flow of 3 kinds of drinks – black soya bean milk, lemonade or herbal tea. The black soya bean milk was a spiciness quencher. It could most effectively bring down the spiciness caused by the 麻辣 soup.

Our first visit was just after lunch time on a weekday. We were so impressed, we made a 2nd trip to another branch for an early dinner on a weekend. And around 7pm, this was the scene that greeted us as we left the restaurant:

海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot

海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot

This was just a fraction of the crowd who was waiting to enter 海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot. In every outlet, tables were placed outside the restaurant where free flow of snacks and drinks were available to the waiting customers. There were also free manicure (weekdays) and hand massage (weekends) for the ladies and free shoe polish services for the men. At this particular outlet, there was even a host gathering customers to participate in mini games.

With great thoughtful service + many free services and snacks + great fresh food + flavourful soup bases + a clean dining environment, it is no wonder 海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot remains the top hot pot restaurant in Beijing.

海底捞火锅 Hai Di Lao Hot Pot


Written by foodphd

August 23, 2013 at 7:58 am

Posted in Beijing, Chinese

Tagged with , , , ,

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