Hot Pot for the Soul…..Megan’s Kitchen

Megan’s Kitchen caught my eye many years ago when i stumbled across an article about a hot pot restaurant actually being in the Michelin Guide. Of course I asked my cousins in HK about it and all i got was posh posh and very expensive.  I checked out their website and indeed it was very very expensive – it can run almost 80 – 200 HK dollars just for the soup base.  Very expensive indeed even for HK pricing.  6 years later working alone and no one to have lunch with i gave it a go.  I went to the website to reserve a seat – and there was a special promotion – Lunch set for 148 dollars.  Off i went….

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Choice of Japanese Miso, Malaysian Satay and Coriander & Salted Egg and I chose Winter Melon Soup

It was interesting that hotpot is a communal activity – Even if you had individual pots you almost never see people eat hotpot alone.  I’m not surprised when the waiter asked me “How many Miss?”  “For one?”  Nothing bothered me as I settled for the Beef Hotpot Set with the Winter Melon and Yunan Ham broth.  With the lunch set i suppose as it’s the bare minimum you wont get much of the usual things you might get with the normal price – but i think it was good enough as it is.  The condiment set came with Chillies, Spring Onion, Garlic, Shallots and their soy sauce.  I asked for some vinegar – Chou which they gave me at no extra charge.

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Condiment Overload – Chillies-Garlic-Shallots-Sesame Seeds-YUM…

 I peeked at the other tables though and some people paid another 25 HKD for the big sauce condiment – I thought i saw OX sauce, fried shallots etc.  I honestly believe you don’t need anything else as the broth was so good already.  Eating for one gets you the luxury of being able to do as you please – I ordered the Shrimp Paste (Which was almost 70 HK Dollars – GASP) this is something you don’t get in thailand.  Fresh beaten and flavored shrimp is pounded until it’s a sticky paste, when you drop in boiling broth it becomes sort of a misshapen meatball with non of the fake floury taste.  It transforms into a soft, sticky chewy deliciousness.

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A giant Scoop gets you around 8 mouthfuls

In the set there was 2 meatballs and 2 wontons.  I”m not really a boiled wonton person, i feel sometimes the wrapping is too thick and the filling is sad.  I also have a mistrust with meatballs – Either you get rubbery icky borax filled bits of minced mystery meat or you hit the jackpot with something very good.  The meatballs here is a delight – you can feel how fresh the beef is with a carrot filling.  Usually meatballs come precooked which you jsut sort of reheat, these ones were fresh beef which were a bit bouncy and very juicy and with the carrot in the middle it was a surprise.  However the wonton actually won the show.  It was pieces of chopped beef with cheese.  The wrapping was a perfect ratio to the meat.  IT wasnt smushy but chewey and nicely dense.  It was amazing!

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Lovely Chunks of meat in Cheese Sauce

The set itself was quite plentiful – The beef is nice marbled and not too thickly or thinly cut.  It was amazing.  I think it’s very important and I judge alot of these hot pot places by the thickness of the beef – It’s crutial to have extremely good thickness – Too thin and the beef has freezer burn, too thick and it’s too tough and chewy.  You really can’t find problems with Megans Kitchen except for the fact that it’s expensive.

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Good Quality Beef – Perfect ration of fat to meat 

The set came with 3 different kinds of lettuces, 2 giant shitake mushrooms, 3 tomatoes, some Eringi Mushrooms, Rice noodles, the 6 slices of beef (Quite big sized slices) and 2 meatballs and 2 wontons.  The soup is great it’s bubbly and always topped up by the nice staff.  It’s really delicious and great for spending that lunch hour alone.  It’s a treat noone should miss….  (Theres a 12 HKD for the tea and a 10 percent service charge.

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Megans Kitchen

5th Floor Lucky Centre –

Wan Chai Road

Hongkong

MALA Hotpot – A plethora combination of addictive deathly ingredients…

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A duo of soups – Spicy and Calm…

What is a Mala hotpot you may ask.  It is a deathly delicious combination of bubbling stock, oil fried with Szechuan Peppercorns, dried chilies, garlic, Chinese bean paste, dried jujubes, and a mix of other herbs and spices.  Each restaurant blends their own special recipe or they just use a ready mix.  This is my favorite style of hotpot, usually you would get a half and half which you can numb and burn yourself on the spicy mala side and cool down with the normal stock.  I believe that in the olden days this was used to help mask not so appetizing smells from using the cheaper cuts of meat.

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Hand cut shank is tender and melting

This restaurant is a gem hidden in on of the off sois located in Silom called Boon restaurant.  We ordered just enough for two and it was a great way to cure a hangover…. Amazingly the fishballs had a soft chewy texture, not too fishy and went well with this spicy oil.

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Watercress, Taro and Fishballs

Taro is usually flash fried to help keep it’s shape in the bubbling broth.  Personally i like to mash the taro in my soup.  It gives it a creamy texture to the soup. A creamy spicy, hot and numbing mouthful of soup.

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Pig’s small intestines – Gross but delicious

It may look gross but it’s got a chewy, porky flavor that is either a favorite or you can’t stand the look of it at all.

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Lightly Battered Squid – Garlicky, Spicy – Very delicious!

Hard to understand why this battered squid works so well.  Its lightly crispy, spicy when chewed with the Chilies, extremely garlicky and just so soft and perfectly chewy.  No calamari can beat this dish.

This restaurant doesn’t rank high is nice atmosphere, clean bathrooms and smiling service.  It’s a no frills, inexpensive family styled restaurant – the menu has pictures!!!!!  Drop by for a good time.

Boon Pochana, 152/8-9, Silom Rd.,

Bangkok, 10500 Thailand

Warming Hot Pot in HongKong

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During our last quick trip to Hong Kong for a passport renewal, we had a quick dinner with relatives and being in Hong Kong it’s a must to have a family get together hotpot meal.  For those not in the know, Hot Pot is a  pot of bubbling stock, where you dip your raw meats and veggies into cook and then eat.  Before we only had plain vegetable broth or pork broth, nowadays there’s curry, satay, ox tail soup, herbs, traditional Ma La or the sezhuan peppercorns super spicy broth, you name it they have it.

This particular hot pot i think it’s either called the Little Fat Cow or smiling Cow i’m not so sure but it’s near the Wan Chai Fire Station on the 3rd floor.  My absolute favorite thing is the octopus meatballs, it comes in a large scoop with fish roe on top you spoon a bit of the mixture and when it starts to float it’s done.  It really is an acquired taste, it’s a chewy rubbery squidy meatball.  It’s not available in Thailand so it’s a treat every time we go back to HK.

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Doesn’t the pork belly look nice? It comes rolled up and looks like a mini flower peaking out of the bowl, and another of my favorites is the fried tofu sheets.  It’s fluffy, light and crispy.  A quick quick dip in the hot bubbling broth and you chew it quick before it gets soggy.

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Normal soft soybean tofu but still good.IMG_1586

I must say given their quite medium high pricing, the shrimp came beautifully cleaned and separated into heads and bodies.  Good for me cause i love shrimp heads.

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Fresh veggies and pork wontons, sometimes wonton comes in a yellow noodle wrap but these ones are more leaning to those gyoza type wrapping like the Japanese kind.

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The highlight of this meal was the splurge on a plate of Angus beef.  It was probably 200 HK dollars but it was melt in the mouth, a real beefy flavor and a great soft chew.  It was delicious!IMG_1579

We also ordered fried chicken joints, nice piping hot, crispy salty and garlicky.  Maybe the savoury taste came from the MSG. – -”

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And again as with all hotpots, we enjoy the meats and veggies and either we pour in rice or a type of noodles to soak up all the yummy broth.  This time we had this really delicious chewy udon.

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So if anyone who can read chinese please let me know what is the shops name.IMG_1594

1st Floor, 141-145 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai Heng Center

Chinese Hot Pot, Cheap and Cheerful… Ruen Petch Bangkok

Diamond House!
Diamond House!
Bubbling pots!
Bubbling pots!

First, you tick off what you want from their menu, and then they serve it to your table with a hot pot bubbling in the centre.  They actually offer other ala carte items which are actually equally yummy, but we didn’t order any..

It's in english!
It’s in english!

Having a sunday family feast, us being well, Chinese, we like to have something ferociously boiling, even during the hot weather… HOTPOT!  Now, there are so many varieties of hotpot around, but this one is a traditional family favorite, it’s a simple hotpot but their meats come adorned with some sort of a marinade which is maybe fermented bean paste and an egg.  I really don’t know what they put in it since i’ve tired to replicate it so here it is.

You get a choice of their fermented pink tofu and bean sauce which is indescribable but so delish.  You flavour it with more garlic, lime and chilies to your liking or you can opt for a soy sauce.

Add at your own risk!
Add at your own risk!

It’s hearty, salty, flavourful, (due to the copious amounts of msg no doubt) even i get a rash afterwards it’s well worth it.  Not much to say but all chinese after we’re done with the meat and veggies and all that’s left is a soup pot full of boiling stock and marinade, we would pop in bowlfuls of rice to make like an instant congee and either keep with for breakfast or eat it off… Cheers!

See the bright yolk on the marinade? BEEEFFFF
See the bright yolk on the marinade? BEEEFFFF

 

Happy Family Lunch!

 

Seafood Galore!
Seafood Galore!
Veggies...
Veggies…

 

Happy Family Lunch!
Happy Family Lunch!