Sherman's Food Adventures: Liuyishou Hotpot (Richmond)

Liuyishou Hotpot (Richmond)

Once upon a time, I would regularly enjoy hot pot with a variety of meats and veggies with only one type of broth...  at home.  However, as the 2000's rounded the corner, people started to head out to hot pot joints for more variety and different broth options.  There were some AYCE spots as well as a few a al carte restaurants.  Fast forward to the present and the high-end hot pot experience is all the rage.  This has a lot to do with the invasion of chains from China as well as the tastes of many of the newer immigrants.  These places boast quality meats as well as sauce bars that could pass for a buffet station.  Mijune and I were recently invited to the Richmond location of Liuyishou to see how it stacks up to the likes of Haidilao and Dolar Shop.  I've been to the Kingsway location before and if that was any indication, this was going to be a real treat.

That is was, but we began by making some of their Sauces from the prominent bar at the front.  In addition to some little bites including marinated tripe, edamame, pickled daikon/carrots, roasted peanuts and fruit, we found a dessert soup.  Not shown in the picture, there was instructions as to what ingredients were needed to create specific sauces.  We were served 4 different Broths including their signature "beef butter" shaped as a cow (that melted as the pot began to boil).  This silky (fatty) broth was rich with flavour that was nutty, aromatic and spicy.  Next to it was a meaty house special pork bone soup that was cloudy from the bone marrow.  In another pot (not pictured), we had garden-fresh tomato as well as a wild mixed mushroom broth.

Onto the food, it was a real feast including Liu's Beef & Lamb Platter (presented as a wood ring around the hot pot) that included freshly sliced-to-order meat.  These were super tender with a balanced amount of fat.  This was a fantastic value in my opinion for $19.95, not to mention the majestic visual presentation.  That was good, but the Deluxe Meat Platter was all about quality, not quantity as it featured supreme marbled Wagyu beef, Wagyu beef cubes, Angus beef and beef tongue.  Naturally, there is only one way to describe lightly cooked thin slices of Wagyu beef - heavenly and buttery.  No chewing required (okay, maybe a bit).  The cubes needed a bit more chewing, but only slightly where it gave a meatier texture.  Even though we had Wagyu on the platter, the Angus beef was still super tender.  The same couldn't be said about the tongue, but that was to be expected when it wasn't braised first (it was cooked from raw).

Featuring a good amount of spot prawns, the Seafood Platter also sported sea cucumber innards, oysters, scallops, baby cuttlefish and imitation crab stick.  Normally, there would be sole filet rather than the crab stick, but I'm guessing they were either out of sole or it wasn't fresh enough to serve.  No matter, the rest of the items were fresh and cooked up nicely, especially the gwei fa bong (sea cucumber innards) where there was a sweet snap.  Made-to-order, the Hand Made Meatball Platter included cuttlefish, pork, beef and shrimp.  These were airy and light with a rebound texture.  They were not overseasoned, so that the natural flavours really came through.  Presented as a flower, the Duck Gizzards were chewy in a good way.  It exhibited the classic firm rebound texture.

Also on the table, we found Fish Tofu, 3-Second Bean Curd Skin, Veggie Platter and Braised Tripe.  Not sure if they made their fish tofu or not, but it was light with a bounce and plenty of sweetness.  The 3-second bean curd skin was soft with a light chew and yes, cook it for only 3 seconds.  The veggies included spinach, lettuce, crown daisy, napa cabbage, enoki, shiitake, crab and oyster mushroom.  We were served a cooked tripe dish which was reminiscent of dim sum.  We didn't end there as we also had Argentine Red Shrimp, Kung Fu Sliced Potato, House Special Beef Tripe and Fried Chinese Donut with Shrimp Paste.  Although the red shimp would've been previously frozen, it was super sweet and still maintained a meaty texture.  I found the Chinese donut to be interesting where the donut got rather soggy while the shrimp paste was sweet and bouncy.  Believe this or not, but we actually had a few more plates of food that I didn't even get a chance to mention here.  This visit to the Richmond location reinforces my opinion that Liuyishou as one of the better a la carte hot pot restaurants in town.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- High food quality
- Fair pricing
- Attentive service (as observed on previous visits)

The Bad:
- Their locations are generally smaller than the competitors so tables are at a premium


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