Huat Pot : Eat All You Can Hot Pot Restaurant in San Juan

Huat Ah!*

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In the spirit of the Chinese New Year (yes, the celebration never ends!), let me continue my story-telling on how my family and I celebrated this special occasion back in Manila. After tossing our Yu Sheng salad to bring in all the good fortunes, happiness and luck, we headed out for a family dinner at Huat Pot, a newly-opened hotpot restaurant in San Juan.

Stepping inside Huat Pot, we were led towards our table that the far corner of the restaurant which was quite cramped and definitely could not comfortably sit 5 people. Oh dear! Sadly, the entire restaurant was filled to the brim so we had to make do with a little adjustments here and there. As soon as we were all seated, Paul, Pan and I were tasked by our parents to take care of getting the food. The set-up reminds me of our favorite hotpot restaurant in Taiwan where all the meats and veggies were neatly stored in a huge chiller and there were a lot of drink options and the best part of all -- free ice cream!

For the first timers, here's the drill at Huat Pot:

First -- Choose your Soup!
You can get a combination of two flavors. Will it be the Huat Pot Special (clear soup)? Sate? Oden (Vegetarian)? Mala (Spicy)? We went for the Huat Pot Special and the Sate that evening.

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Second -- Choose your Drinks
Choose from a variety of sodas from the vendo to refillable San Miguel Beer which was available till 10PM only. They also have coffee and tea too.

Third -- Make your sauce.
This is the only part where I hope they'd provide the same sauce mix platter per table. It can be quite a hassle to stand up should you want more garlic or sate while enjoying your meal. Also this station can be quite crowded as it takes a little bit more time to create ones sauce.

Fourth -- Pick your Ingredients.
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This is where the fun begins! Start from the chiller that contains all the veggies and seafood. In a very systematic manner, my sister took care of the veggies while Paul chose the seafood and meatballs. We're obviously taking this hotpot session seriously. To make your hotpot broth more flavorful, I recommend adding in the following: corn, taro and spring onions. Leave them longer than the others to make your soup really yummy. I also love slightly mashed taro so I normally would fish it out last.

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The seafood selection at Huat Pot was just a-okay. I was somehow disappointed that they didn't have the Mozzarella Balls that we love so much. Wish they'd consider adding that in next time. However, do get lots of Mushroom Balls! It was super yummy. I notice that the servers were quick to check which ingredients needs to be refilled and we didn't have to wait that long for a new batch of beef, shrimps or taro which seems to be the crowd's favorite that evening.

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After getting the seafood and veggies, head over to the freezer that has the meats! We got a lot of beef and lamb which Papa loved! The lamb was very sweet and definitely doesn't have that gamey smell/flavor at all. Thumbs up for that.

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Fifth -- Start Cooking!
As soon as they pour in the soup stock, wait for it to boil before you drop in the flavorful ingredients (see above) then slowly drop in the balls and more veggies. Note that some ingredients cooks faster than the other so keep a close watch at your pot all the time.

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Shrimps/Prawns takes a minute or two to cook, be sure to take this out as being overcooked makes the shell stick to the meat making it such a challenge to peel. We also like dipping the beef quickly till it turns light brown and still tender. The only things that you can leave in your soup for a longer time would be the noodles, balls and veggies (corn/taro). It's a fun experience so don't be afraid to experiment. Just be sure to cook all ingredients well as you don't want to end up with a tummy ache after. When in doubt, just ask the server for help. :)

Sixth -- It's chow time! 
After cooking your hot pot ingredients, it's time to enjoy it! I usually like dipping every single item into my customized sauce which consists of soy sauce, sate, spring onions, chopped garlic and peanut sauce. No carbs for me but for those who just can't live without rice, there's a rice cooker for you to help yourselves too.

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As you enjoy your meal, be sure to leave space for dessert. You can make your own taho (soybean pudding) or help yourselves to unlimited Magnum Ice Cream! I obviously went for the latter. So yummy!

Save for the really cramped table, we enjoyed our dinner at Huat Pot. Given that they just opened, we were impressed that the restaurant was already filled with happy and hungry diners.

Eat all you can Hot Pot rate: Php. 688++

*Huat Ah! means to prosper in Hokkien and is widely used during the CNY in Taiwan and Singapore

Check out Huat Pot at the 2nd Floor Metropoint Center, P. Guevarra cor Wilson Street, San Juan. (They share the same building as Nathaniel's and Rustan's Supermarket). Parking is available at the Basement. Call them at 650-3091 / 0915-4805500.

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