While we were dining at Chicha the previous week, the look on Boss Woman's face was akin to foodie being stuck at Knight & Day. However, it had nothing to do with the food as it was pretty tasty. The real reason was that she wanted to do hot pot and with impending warmer days ahead, the window was closing fast. So with rain in the forecast, I decided to buy a Groupon for Chongqing Qinma Hot Pot in Richmond. Hey, why not give Boss Woman something to smile about and save a bit of cash.
Since it was a Monday evening, the large 2nd floor restaurant was fairly empty. Strangely, this didn't translate to attentive service. Somehow, the servers were far and few in-between. Now they weren't rude or anything, they were just absent. Onto the food, we decided to go for the Half-and-Half Broth consisting of Pork Bone and Spicy. Both were fairly salty, but okay since we were dunking bland items into it. The spicy half was pretty potent with quite a few Szechuan peppercorns. Unlike the frozen ones we had at Chubby Lamb, the Meatballs here were freshly made and were fairly decent. Interestingly, the beef meatballs were not over-processed, hence they retained some natural chewiness, which was welcomed.
Onto the meats, we got a pretty large plate of Beef which looked appealing. These were sliced thin and cooked up quickly. The meat was fairly tender (dependent on us removing it immediately). We also got a plate each of the Fatty Beef, Lamb and Pork as well. Yup, the fatty beef pretty much lived up to its name, but in reality, we would've much preferred marbled beef rather than the large strip of fat in the middle of the slices of beef. Also sliced thin, the lamb emulated the beef by being soft and moist assuming we didn't leave it in the boiling broth too long. On the other hand, the slices of lean pork were a bit drier and chewier, even if we paid close attention to the cooking process.
Moving away from red meat, we had a plate that consisted of a mish mash of items including Deboned Chicken Claws, Cuttlefish, Squid, Tendon, Quail Eggs, Squid, Chicken Wings and Tripe. I guess they wanted to construct a plate of differing shades of white. Of note, the wings turned out to be pretty succulent while the tripe was surprisingly soft (due to proper rinsing and tenderization). I enjoyed the chicken claws, but they weren't really deboned completely as I got some surprise bones. The next plate was simple with Kiwi Mussels, White Shrimp and Oysters. The mussels were the typical frozen variety which could've been defrosted a bit more. There was nothing amiss with the oysters and shrimp as they cooked up nicely with the expected textures.
Other than some veggies (which I didn't bother taking pictures of), we got a plate that included Tofu, Tofu Puffs, Woodear Mushrooms, Bean Curd Stick and Fresh Noodles. Nothing particularly out-of-the-ordinary nor interesting with these items other than the noodles, as they were chewy and a bit doughy. Of course, I had to get an order of the Beef Tongue because what's hot pot without tongue? Well, these were sliced thin and cooked up relatively tender (chewy side of tender). However, it was a chore finding them as they shrunk to small little bits. Overall, we were satisfied with the hot pot at Chongqing Qinma. It didn't stand out amongst its peers in Richmond, but didn't fail either. Service was okay, but rather inattentive. Also, the restaurant could've use a slight cleaning.
- Flavourful broth
- Nothing particularly amiss
- Slow service
- Restaurant could be cleaner