Probably the warmest and nicest day of the year so far. Perfect day to eat something that can really take advantage of the weather. Picnic? Fish 'n Chips on the wharf? A sandwich from Finch's eaten at the seawall? Nope, nope and nope. Pomegranate and I went to eat hot pot. That's right, a boiling vessel of steaming broth. That's exactly what we needed today. Yah, call us weird, call us strange; but never accuse us of not putting food first before function. Besides, the place is air-conditioned. Hot pot anytime baby! It reminds me of the time we had hot pot at Costanza's house in mid-July. Halfway through our meal and dripping with sweat, we figured that it was not exactly the best idea. Just like the time we lined up for Boxing Day whilst eating Yogen Fruz. Fine, we make bad decisions. Maybe we'll go for a sno-cone in December.
Thinking that they had AYCE hot pot for lunch, Pomegranate and I proceeded to Fu Lin in Coquitlam. My cousin had tipped me off about this place and Jessica blogged about it as well. For $18.99 for dinner, it is a relatively good value considering its location. However, on our way there, I was almost side-swiped by a Volvo while exiting the Trans-Canada. The Volvo was well past the exit ramp and had to cut in, barely avoiding the median and a hitchhiker to exit. If I hadn't caught the glimpse of what is the equivalent of a Swedish tank to my left, I would not be blogging about hot pot right now. Well into full rage, I opened my sunroof and appropriately "saluted" the idiotic driver. Maybe I'll reconsider my shots against Richmond drivers and now proclaim Coquitlam as Richmond North...
To add insult to injury, Fu Lin doesn't offer AYCE for lunch. However, there were a few lunch specials for under $10.00. Each special comes with a choice of dipping sauce. We got our items pretty quickly and I put some Dumplings and beef slices into the boiling broth. I look down for a second and Pomegranate proclaims that, "it's cold and frozen in the middle". Cold and frozen? Huh? The beef slices are really thin and they should cook... OH NO! "You didn't eat the dumpling did you???". Apparently he plopped the whole thing in his mouth and had swallowed it. The dumpling had only been in the broth for less than a minute. Well, pork sashimi is not dangerous is it? Anyways, the cooked dumplings were quite good with a soft skin and meaty filling. The super thin slices of Fatty Beef cooked on contact with the boiling water. Very tender; but gone very fast. It looks like a lot more than there really is.
We really enjoyed the Fresh Noodles. Since we could control the cooking time, we pulled them out when they were al dente. Mixed with the dipping sauces (satay and spicy soy), the noodles were actually one of the highlights of the meal. As for the veggies, we had Napa cabbage and Shanghai bak choy. Both were fresh and properly cleaned. For my combo, I got some shrimp, mussel and squid. As for the other items, they are your typical prepackaged foods such as meatballs, fish tofu, imitation crab and vermicelli. Nothing much to say about them other than they were fine to eat. In terms of being a hot pot restaurant, Fu Lin does the job for a reasonable price. What we really look for in these type of places is freshness and value. Considering that there are not many choices in Coquitlam, Fu Lin is pretty good. Furthermore, the AYCE for $18.95 is a more than acceptable price given all the mitigating factors.
- The items we tried were fresh
- Pricing is reasonable
- Service is friendly
- No AYCE option for lunch
- Not a big restaurant, cannot accommodate large groups