It's been a little quiet over on the blog front and that's because I recently came back from a two week trip to Japan and South Korea! I have over 2300+ pictures to sort through and edit so please be patient as I try to get those organized into blog posts! In the meantime, let's talk about hot pot.

Hot pot, for those uninitiated, is essentially fondue's Asian cousin. Its name is pretty self-explanatory -- a "hot pot" of broth is used to boil meat, seafood, noodles, vegetables, etc. Basically any ingredient that you like, just throw it in there. For my family, we usually eat hot pot at home for special occasions. The past few years, we've transitioned to having turkey dinner for Thanksgiving and Christmas but I remember the days where we would celebrate around hot pot. 

Before KN and I left on our trip, we met up with SC at Asian Express in Chinatown. This particular restaurant is one of two locations, the other one located southside. Asian Express, like the majority of hot pot establishments around town, serves an all-you-can-eat (AYCE) menu with a DIY sauce station and individual pots of broth with heaters already built into the table.

Hot pot is traditionally a communal meal but having individual pots comes in pretty handy. It allows you the freedom to choose any soup base that you like (and eliminates any worry about stealing another person's fish ball). 

At Asian Express, AYCE is $27.95 per person and about half price for kids. Besides the free ginger and green onion soup base, other broths cost an additional $2.00. Some of the broth options available are Szechuan, herbs and lamb, tom yum kung, and curry to name a few. If you can't decide on just one soup base, you can opt for a special divided pot which gives you a choice of two flavours for an additional $2.50.

If you're more of a dipping sauce person, the free ginger and green onion soup will do the job just fine. And speaking of dipping sauces, the selection is huge. I'm barely scratching the surface here, but you'll find soy sauce, satay, peanut sauce, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, minced garlic, chopped green onion, and even MSG!  

After making your soup selection and building your sauce, the rest of the menu is fair game. Appetizers, seafood, meat, frozen and dry foods, vegetables, dumplings, and noodles. Try not to fill up on the vegetables and carbs too early and go for the good stuff.

From the appetizers section, SC is a fan of the shrimp with wine sauce. The shrimp comes head and tail-on, so don't be afraid to some dirty work to extract the sweet-tasting meat. 

The sliced lamb and beef is always a must when it comes to hot pot (unless you're vegetarian of course). We weren't too sure of the portion size when we wrote down '1,' since there are some places that will literally give you one slice of meat. Literally, one slice of meat on a plate. Thankfully '1' was a generous serving in itself. The thin slices means quick cooking and most importantly, quick eating.

If you want to get your money's worth, three words. Seafood, seafood, seafood! One of my favourite items are the homemade seafood mashes, available in shrimp, fish, or squid. Just scrape the mash into the soup and almost a minute later, you'll get a fresh, bouncy seafood ball.

Throughout the meal, servers will also be around with kettles periodically to refill your pot when the soup is running low. Dessert is also included at the end -- tapioca dessert soup or a scoop of ice cream. Just what you need to end a hot (and probably sweaty) meal.

I've only been to one other hot pot restaurant in town, but I can say that Asian Express offers up a complete, no-frills hot pot experience with their large variety and selection of ingredients. Hot pot might not be the smartest meal to have in the summer months but hey, ice cream in winter is totally acceptable as well.

Asian Express Hot Pot (Chinatown)
 10586 100 St NW
Edmonton, AB
(780) 421-8300

Asian Express Hot Pot Menu, Reviews, 
Photos, Location and Info - Zomato  

- CT


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CT is a 20-something Edmontonian who started blogging as an excuse for taking pictures of her food.

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf