“Cook-your-own food” restaurants are a lot of fun. Romantic fondue places, hip Japanese grills and spicy Korean barbeque joints have been popular since the 1960’s. What’s the new craze, you ask? Hot Pot! The House of Asia Hot Pot in Lauderdale Lakes is a hidden paradise of fresh meats, seafood and vegetables just waiting to be explored. It is a bit of a drive from Wilton Manors or downtown Ft. Lauderdale, but it’s surely worth the trip!
This new restaurant is a huge open space with rows of dining tables in the center and deep freezers and ice tables surrounding the peripheral of the room. With seating that can accommodate up to 12 people, this would be a great place to bring a huge group. The décor is modern with a nod to the Asia culture. The place was very clean and smelled fresh, despite the fact we were surrounded by a sea of raw seafood.
For one price ($24.95, $11.95 for the kiddies under 10), it’s all-you-can-eat at the House of Asia Hot Pot. Once seated at your table, you will notice a recessed hot plate in front of each place setting. Now it is decision time…select your choice of broth base: The Signature Base (sour pineapple seafood base), Tum Yum Base (sour and spicy), Coconut Tum Yum Base (sour and spicy), Kim Chi Base (spicy), Miso Base, Sichuan Base (spicy) or Curry Base. Pick your favorite and soon it is delivered to the hot plate to warm for the meal. Implements to assist you in cooking your food…a ladle and small Japanese wire strainer…are also presented. I chose the Signature Base and it paired well with everything that followed.
I decided to try this new experience out in courses, building the broth’s flavor profile with each succession. Veggie and pork dumplings cooked in the sour pineapple goodness was a great start. Be sure to head over to the “sauces area” where you can play chef and mix or amp up the Asia condiments with other tantalizing ingredients. Next, time for seafood and what a spread they offer! Since it is buffet style, I selected a few things I might not normally order if I was limited to only one entree. Blue crab, jumbo shrimp, crawfish, mussels and clams all took a dip in my hot pot!
After my seafood orgy, the broth was perfected primed. Time to head on to the main course…a meat, veggie and noodle soup! Back to the buffet I went and grabbed some fatty beef, pork belly, lamb, corn on the cob, bok choy, quail eggs, Enokitake mushrooms, bean sprout and Udon noodles. It only takes a couple of minutes in the boiling broth until everything is perfectly cooked and ready to devour. With so many types of bases and ingredients to choose from, you’ll certainly never have the same meal at House of Asia Hot Pot. I’m feeling even more adventurous after this trip and might even try the frog legs next time!
House of Asia Hot Pot is located at 4301 North State Road 7 in Lauderdale Lakes and is open Monday through Thursday from 5-11pm, Friday and Saturday from 5pm-midnight and Sunday 3pm-10pm. Their phone number is 954-440-2959 but reservations are not required.