Flaming Pot is a hot pot restaurant located at 2342 S. Wentworth Avenue in Chinatown. I had found it while on a late night walk with a friend from Sox Stadium that ended with us finding our way to Chinatown. Usually when I’m with friends we don’t walk that far down Wentworth in the older section of chinatown, but since we came from that direction I had a chance to see these newer restaurants with a modern look had popped up. Sadly when we were walking past there was less then a half hour till closing so I had to wait until another day to go.
We weren’t sure exactly what it was when we showed up, but after our waiter asked if we had been there before he took the time to explain the basics of a hot pot to us. Although we did keep calling him over for help throughout our meal and probably made many mistakes. We ordered a half mild half spicy soup base (the spicy side was packed with peppers and we barely used it except on the occasional piece of meat) and then each of us went through the menu and picked out what we wanted to eat. I decided on potato, chicken, udon noodles, and sweet potato noodles, I assumed sweet potato noodles were just elongated sweet potatoes, but they turned out to be those dark grey noodles in the picture below. They were good, but definably not sweet potatoes. I also ordered Chrysanthemum tea, which came in a can. My friends ordered other meats like beef and lamb, and different greens like bok choy, seaweed, spinach, and cabbage, and one more type of noodles which were glass noodles. We also ordered pot stickers, green onion pancakes, and steamed buns as appetizers, all were wonderful.
While we waited for everything to be brought out they told us we could go make our own sauces at a nearby table with different bowls of sauces and additions like peanuts, garlic, peppers, green onions, and other things. However being a bit lost we ended up mixing our sauces together in the tea cups, not quite sure where the bowls were we went with the first containers we could find. One of the workers found us and explained to us where the bowls were and embarrassed, we switched our sauces over into the bowls. I mixed together a soy sauce with garlic, green onions, and peanuts and absolutely loved it.
When we returned to our table all of the food was brought out, all raw because it was to cook inside the soup. Meat is to be cooked for about 20 seconds under the boiling water, but it depends on how thick the meat is, the chicken I had cooked quickly but the lamb my friend ordered took longer and she had to keep checking for red bits in the middle that hadn’t been cooked. We had little baskets that we cooked the meat in and under the boiling soup. We also dumped the noodles in to cook for about 2 minutes and ended up a murky spiderweb under the surface that we if we didn’t want because we were cooking something else would sort of latch on if we had just dropped something in. It was a fun process and I’d love to go again, now that I know and understand it a bit better. We ordered way too much food since the entire process is meant to be food that’s shared, but as the meal went on (for a bit over 2 hours) everything just kept tasting better and better.