Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot (Burnaby)

"How do you find time in the day to do everything you do???", I'm often asked.  Generally, I don't even think about it because as the great Bertuzzi once said, "it is what it is...".  But there are times when I really wonder.  For instance, this particular day started at 9:00am at the PNE media tasting and then after that I headed into work.  Then leaving straight from work to hockey at 8 Rinks, where I got hit in the throat.  Quickly changing, showering and then stuffing my gear into my bag, I picked up Grace for our ChineseBites dinner at Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot.  Yes, poor me...  #firstworldproblems  And believe it or not, my biggest concern was whether I could swallow or not (hey, get your mind outta the gutter) or not.  It hurt, but I persevered and ate good food.  Again, poor me...

Joining Grace and myself, the usual crew of Diana, RickAlvin, Kevin, Sean and Amy were there to help us with the AYCE hot pot.  We were started off with some Salty Donuts and Sesame Crusted Bread.  These were to dip into the hot pot, but we ate them because we were hungry.  The salty donut was a touch dense and doughy, yet crisp on the outside while the sesame bread was light and fluffy. Following that up, we were presented with one plate each of Lamb and Beef Skewers.  I liked the lamb as it was flavourful with the usual accompaniment of cumin with a touch of spice.  I wasn't too fond of the beef as it was somewhat chewy with a few inedible pieces.

Alright, moving onto the Hot Pot, we got the soup base consisting of half spicy with peppers and the other half herbal with dates and wolfberries.  Loved the ying yang pot.  The herbal soup was actually quite mild while the spicy was not as hot as its appearance.  2 plates of Meatballs hit the table first including cuttlefish, shrimp, lamb and beef.  Naturally, the freshly made (ingredients may have been previously frozen though) meatballs were psychologically-pleasing (really!) and were texturally on point when cooked (good bounce and meat texture while tender).  Next up was a bevy of Seafood consisting of mussels, scallops, cuttlefish, sea cucumber innards, basa and shrimp.  Nothing was amiss with this selection.

Paying homage to the restaurant's namesake, we got thin slices of Lamb next. Despite the modest amount of fat, the meat was still super tender after a quick dunk into the boiling broth.  The same could be said with the Beef.  On a side note, as a public service announcement of sorts, please do not leave thinly sliced meats in boiling soup unattended.  That is a surefire way of overcooking it and rendering the wonderful meat into jerky.  Put it in and keep an eye on it.  Once it changes colour, take it out!  Sorry, personal pet peeve...  We were also presented with a variety of Mushrooms (oyster and enoki), Tofu (fresh and frozen) and Leafy Greens (tong ho, watercress, spinach and romaine).  Again, nothing to say other than they were fresh.  With hot pot, it really is about fresh ingredients and it's not rocket science, so kudos to Little Sheep for that.

Seeing how they forgot to bring us the best items on the menu (in my opinion), we decided to order some Offal including beef tendon, bible tripe, honeycomb tripe, pork liver and pork blood. Again, we found well-prepared items including tender tendon (oooo... alliteration!) and properly washed tripe.  We also tried the Garlic Beef which was tenderized.  Hence, it was flavourful and had a nice bounce texture.  We gave the Dumplings a shot too, but they were really salty.  Possibly a heavy hand with the seasoning?  Yet, that was the only item (and the beef skewers) we didn't like. Essentially, this was a pretty textbook hot pot where nearly everything was decent.  Located in the spacious old location of Sammy J Peppers, Little Sheep offers up some good competition for Top Gun Hot Pot at Crystal Mall.

*Note: This was an invited dinner where all food was comped*

The Good:
- Items were well-prepared
- Fairly large menu
- Spacious

The Bad:
- The DIY sauce station was getting a bit disheveled
- Food came out curiously slow 

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot (Burnaby) 小肥羊火鍋連鎖店 on Urbanspoon

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