Sherman's Food Adventures: Xiaolongkan Hot Pot

Xiaolongkan Hot Pot

Man, I've been doing so many AYCE hot pots lately...  As I mentioned, AYCE (All-You-Can-Eat) has made a triumphant comeback during these inflationary times.  Another recent option is Xiaolongkan on Alexandra Road (or Restaurant Row or Food Street).  This recently announced AYCE costs anywhere from $35.99 to $39.99 per person depending on the day and time.  Seeing how they are merely serving what was on the menu before, the food quality is high.

Of course with any hot pot experience, we need to talk about the Sauce Bar.  Much like many in the city, the one here at Xiaolongkan has all the basics and a little bit more.  They have all of the base sauces in large dispensers so you can fill your bowl to your heart's content.  All of the other condiments such as cilantro, green onion, garlic, chilis and the rest were in the actual bar itself.  We also found some light snacks and fruit.  You could also help yourself to some guava candy as well.

Before we get to the "meat" of the meal, we have to talk about the Amaebi as well as the soup bases.  Presented sashimi-style, the sweet shrimp were exactly that.  Buttery soft with just the slightest snap, these were a nice start to the meal.  We ended up with 3 different broths to cook our food in including Tomato, Mixed Mushroom and Traditional House Special Chili (in medium spice).  My favourite was the tomato as it truly had all the tang and sweetness we were looking for.  It was slightly thick too so the broth adhered to all the items we cooked in it.  The mixed mushroom was the mildest and definitely had a salty umami thing going on.  For the house special broth, it was spicy and had plenty of depth thanks to the chili lard.

Onto some cooked items first, we had the Deep Fried Chicken Wings, Glutinous Rice Siu Mai, Crispy Deep Fried Pork, Chinese Donut, Pig's Ears with Chili Oil and Brown Sugar Rice Cake.  I thought these were all pretty decent where the pig's ear was my favourite.  They were tender with a crunch while appealingly spicy.  The brown sugar rice cake was also delicious being soft and sticky with a rich sweetness.  Fried pork was tender and came with a side of spiced salt.

Of course we have to talk about the beef right?  Presented on a "dragon boat" and also served to us by a robot, the Selected Beef Slices were thin and tender.  I especially liked it cooked in the spicy broth as it took on the silky heat well.  However, we really were here for the Superior SRF Wagyu Beef Slices (one order per 3 people).  Oh yeah, these were money with just enough marbling to ensure that each piece would be buttery soft.

We had many more items from the menu, but I want to highlight the ones presented in a box because it was nice to look at and I appreciate the effort they put into making things appealing.  We found Seaweed, Enoki, Shredded Daikon, Quail Eggs, Shrimp Paste, Spicy Beef, Shrimp Balls, Fish Slices and Marinated Beef Tongue.  The highlights included the sweet and bouncy shrimp paste.  Our server spooned little quenelles into the hot broth.  The beef tongue was tender with a bit of a chew.  Perfect texture.  The beef was also good being buttery since it was tenderized.  It still kept some of the marinade even after boiling.  There were a few more items that we had randomly and I know it is an easy thing to say they were good, but in fact, they were!  The food quality was really high for an AYCE menu and to top it off, the price is reasonable.  Would come back in a heat beat.

*All food and beverages were complimentary for this blog post*

The Good:
- Reasonably-priced AYCE
- High ingredient quality
- Nice space, nice presentation

The Bad:

- Sauce bar is smaller than other places
- Large parking lot, but very weird parking arrangements  


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