4 Places to Get Your Hot Pot Fix in Honolulu
The hot-pot trend won’t quit; we take a look at four Honolulu spots for cooking up you own tasty dinner.
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The extensive and unique ingredients at Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in Ward contrast its humble selection of dipping broths.
Photo: Steve Czerniak
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
The California-based hot-pot chain Little Sheep, which boasts more than 300 locations in Asia and across North America, opened in the sprawling space vacated by E&O Trading Co. (and other short-lived ventures) in Ward Center this past May, to much anticipation.
A new hot-pot spot, one with international appeal and an eclectic menu of ingredients that you won’t find anywhere else, in a glossy space with cushy lime-green chairs, a full bar with six beers on draft, a shiny sauce bar where you can create your own dipping combinations and Asian pop music pulsing throughout the dining area. It’s no surprise the crowd here is as young as the vibe.
The menu is big and broad, with unique ingredients that include goose intestines, pork kidneys, lamb shoulder, surf clams, roe-filled fishcake, Taiwanese lettuce, taro vermicelli knots, wood ear mushrooms, yam noodles, tomatoes, wintermelon, housemade lamb wontons, pork blood rice cakes and Spam—“for the kids,” our slick-haired server said.
In addition, Little Sheep offers a nice selection of side dishes that don’t need to be cooked, including pickled garlic, Mongolian kim chee, a beef pie, and a big and dense sesame pancake that we couldn’t stop dipping into the broth and eating. It was addictive.
Unlike most hot-pot places, though, Little Sheep offers only two broths ($3.95 per person): a milky and mild 36-spice original soup with dried longan, garlic and sweet red dates; and a spicy version packed with chili peppers and sesame. The signature, though, is the Yin and Yang pot, which we ordered. It’s the best way to sample both broths.
I’m not a big fan of the plethora of assorted broths at hot-pot restaurants. In fact, I actually prefer to eat shabu shabu with lightly seasoned boiling water—kombu is enough—and use dipping sauces to add flavor to the ingredients I’m cooking. So I didn’t mind the lack of broth variety.
Another selling point: This place offers half orders of everything, so you can sample more items on the menu. The small plate of baby bok choy, for example, had maybe three heads. And the tables here are wide and big, with plenty of room to spread out, which we needed to do, since we ordered more plates than I thought it possible to finish.
We finished it all, then went to Baskin-Robbins for dessert.
Lunch and dinner daily, free parking, major credit cards, Ward Village, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd., 593-0055, littlesheephotpot.com