Hot pot with a twist
Xu is trying to bring the concept of traditional Chinese hot pots - but with a modern and Western twist - to the Lower Mainland.
"I was on vacation in Beijing when I saw this in a mall," said Xu. "It was a much different setup because it was trying to appeal to more than just the Oriental (diner). This is hot pots for a new generation. This is hot pots for people who don't have two hours for lunch. This is for people who want to eat a healthy meal with healthy ingredients."
On a recent weekday, I sat down with the Xu family to sample some of their offerings and was impressed by the variety and complexity of many of the dishes.
We started with the pan-fried gyozas, which had a great spicy kick courtesy of the smart choice of cooking with chili oil.
We followed with the spicy cashew chicken wings, which were spicy indeed, courtesy of another great use of chili powder and chili oil.
To cool my taste buds, we had the soup of the day, a great broccoli and cheese number that you won't find at many Asian restaurants.
The soup was delicious and a perfect prelude to our three signature Firepots dishes.
Our first dish is the Crown Daisy steak firepot, featuring steak slices, Crown Daisy, needle and oyster mushrooms, Yakisoba noodles and a satay spicy soup broth.
What makes the meal even more fun is you can hold a conversation while you're cooking, and you can cook at your own speed.
And for those people a bit scared of their cooking ineptitude, you can order any dish and have the kitchen prepare it for you instead.
Our second dish, the coconut curry chicken, includes chickens, potatoes, carrots, cloud ear mushrooms, jasmine rice and a tasty coconut curry south broth.
We also try the seafood medley firepot, which includes fish cutlets, prawns, scallops, spinach, tomatoes, seaweed, cilantro, lemon grass and rice vermicelli.
The portions are ample, and because the meals feel so light, there's plenty of room for dessert - the restaurant offers both hot and cold desserts.
Firepots is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights). See www.firepots. ca or call 604-293-9955.
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