I think I’ve taken the 2 hour drive from San Diego to Los Angeles 4 times in 3 weeks; each for a slightly different reason but it still seems excessive and not planned well. Anyways, we made our way to Boiling Point in Monterey Park for some Taiwanese hotpot. It was a cold (for Southern California) spring day and some warm hotpot just seemed perfect. Although we were not hungry yet, we knew to head over to Boiling Point and wait. We were bound to get hungry by the time we sat down knowing how long the wait could be.
We were told that it was going to be a 45 minute wait, and my Dad being my Dad decided to time it. We were seated about 55 minutes later – so I guess the estimated time was relatively close. Having waited for such a long time, it felt awkward standing right outside of the restaurant. There were quite a few people waiting, and often times people just sat down on the curb or on some stairs just around the corner. It sure would be nice to have a bench or two outside.
The restaurant is small, but also has a second floor – which is a little bigger. We were seated after they opened up the second floor. I definitely prefer being seated on the second floor where it feels much more spacious. The menu didn’t seem too complicated, you simply choose a type of hotpot, it comes with rice or vermicelli, select how spicy you’d like it to be, and any additional add-ons.
Between the 4 of us, we got 3 different hot pots. My mom and sister got the House Special Hot Soup, my Dad got the Seafood and Tofu Hot Soup, and I got the Lamb Hot Soup. The House Special Hot Soup and Seafood and Tofu Hot Soup are our go to items and have been relatively consistent at this location (we’ve tried the Irvine location as well). As for me, I think I’m making my way down the menu to try them all (well, if and when I think I can handle the spicier ones). And we each added some instant noodle (for additional $1) or spinach wok noodle (additional $1.50).
All of the pots are more like little personalized woks that sit on a box that houses the fire that will keep your soup boiling as you eat. You can ask your server to either add more soup into your pot / wok or have them turn off the fire for you anytime.
And when it comes to hotpot, how can we forget the dipping sauce. They have several sauces available at your table, where you can mix together to create your own. Perfect to dip your meat and everything else into.
The House Special Hot Pot also know as 招牌臭臭鍋 (literally means house special smelly pot) includes nappa, fermented tofu (stinky tofu), pork sliced, enoki mushroom, kamaboko, meatball, clam, quail egg, pork blood, pork intestine, green nira, salty veggies, and tomato. This is obviously an adventurous option considering the ingredients in the pot. At first I was really intimidated especially with the fermented stinky tofu, but I didn’t really get much of the stinky tofu aroma from the pot. I oddly ended up really enjoying the pork blood. Unlike the pork blood I’ve had in other Vietnamese and Chinese dishes, the pork blood also had some sticky rice in it which added some nice flavor and texture to it. It actually kind of reminded me of the Korean dish Sundae which is pork intestines stuffed with noodles and pork blood.
My Dad’s Seafood and Tofu Hotpot 海鮮豆腐鍋 is an easy go to. The pot includes vermicelli, pork sliced, enoki mushroom, iced tofu, calamari, clam, cuttlefish ring, fish fillet, foochow fishball. We always get it not spicy just for the fresh seafood flavor in the soup. I always have to remember that if I want to try this pot, I have to eat if first since it’s flavors are not as strong as the other two pots we got. It’s also not a very photogenic pot; look at all of the greens that are covering all of the pretty seafood!
For those who do not read Chinese, this one seems to be a bit of a disadvantage. In English it’s simply a Lamb Hot Soup but in Chinese it is 酸菜羊肉鍋 which literally means sour mustard lamp pot. I love sour mustard, so why didn’t they include that in the English translation? My pot included nappa, vermicelli, lamb sliced, enoki mushroom, imitation crabstick, kamaboko, pork blood, fired tofu skin, maitake mushroom, clam, sour mustard, firm tofu. I barely finished my pot by myself (but then again, I did try everyone else’s food as well) with two soup refills and an add on of instant noodle.
Last but not least is dessert! I finally decided to make room for dessert today and got the macaroon ice cream from Brick. I got the green tea flavor, which comes with a pink macaroon. It was a nice way to cool down after a having hot pot. They also have shaved iced, I’ll consider trying that next time if I come with people who will enjoy more dessert with me. My mom actually kept commenting at the people walking out of the restaurant with the macaroon ice cream as we were waiting outside. She actually though the ice cream came with our meal – that would be nice if it really was free. We did get little cups of tapioca something as a dessert for free when we got our check. Anyone one know what that is? I thought it was a little bland but interesting – I prefer my ice cream.
250 W. Valley Blvd. #J
San Gabriel, CA 91776