How to Eat Vegan Hot Pot in NYC
Hot Pot is an excuse to get everyone together and eat! If you don’t know what hot pot is, it’s a Chinese way of cooking/eating where you have a hot broth that you cook raw ingredients in, and then dip in a sauce. There are places where you can eat unlimited amounts of food for two hours, there are places where you share one giant pot with others, and you can even make it at home!
Here’s how to eat hot pot:
First, pick your broth. Most vegan broths at traditional hot pot places in NYC are mushroom, curry, or tomato based. Be careful though because sometimes they use bone broth in addition to having vegetables in the name, so always ask. Once you have chosen, you’ll get a pot of that broth delivered to your table, which will then sit on an electronic stove (that’s attached to your table. Thank you science). Wait for the broth to boil.
Next, pick your ingredients. I always go for anything with tofu (tofu skin, fried tofu, cold tofu…except fishball tofu - that’s not vegan!), veggies (pumpkin, spinach, watercress, bok choy, lotus root), seaweed (seaweed knots), carbs (udon, ramen, spinach noodles, glass noodles, rice cakes, fried bread), and mushrooms (shiitake, straw, woodear). What will get delivered to your table will be an Oprah Winfrey sized basket of vegetables.
Now, while your ingredients are being chopped up and your broth is boiling, make a sauce! There’s usually a sauce station at most restaurants where you can create your own sauce combination. I usually like to do hoisin sauce with chili, but sesame oil with cilantro + garlic is often my second choice.
Finally, once everything is assembled, you take your spinach and then put it in the broth. Often times, your pot isn’t very large, so you can’t put everything in at once. Patience is key. Everything cooks at different lengths of time (usually a few minutes at most), but once it seems done, dip it in your sauce and enjoy! Feel free to lower the temperature if your pot seems to be over boiling.
If you go with any meat-eating counterparts, you’ll often find that their broth at the end of the meal is brown and oily, while your broth is clean and more flavorful than before. Most people don’t drink the end broth, but I do take little sips towards the end.
Where to get vegan hot pot:
Please note that most hot pot places in New York have long waits because you spend a long time eating and hanging with your friends. PS: Bring your friends and wear clothes that you won’t be afraid to smell like hot pot.
All you can eat buffet-style hot pot spot in Flushing for $17 where there’s literally an abundance of vegetables to choose from.
Location: 136-20 38th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Flushing, NY 11354
Veggie Broth: Veggie + Mushroom
Fancier, pay per item hot pot spot in Flushing that has the best ambiance and service.
36-36 Prince St, Flushing, NY 11354
Veggie Broth: Mushroom
All you can eat for $26.
Location: 194 Grand St, New York, NY 10013
Veggie Broths: Curry, Vegetable, and Spicy Mala
All you can eat hot pot for $23 with various locations.
Locations: Various (Chinatown, St. Marks, Flushing)
Veggie Broth: Tomato (be careful that they refill you with the veggie tomato broth and not the generic bone broth)