TakeoutHan Ju Hot Pot

[rating: 3]

If you were to take a bit of Korean flavour, mix that with some Taiwanese flare — and shake the entire thing into one big pot, you might end up with something like Han Ju Hot Pot. Located on the corner of Kingsway and Willingdon at Metrotown’s Crystal Mall, Han Ju Hot Pot is a Korean Style hot pot restaurant done fast food style — but run by a bunch of Taiwanese folks.

I want to start of first by saying that this place is far from authentic — I mean, it’s Korean food; made by Taiwanese people. So any gripes about how the flavours aren’t authentic are just as futile as complaining that Rob Feenie’s sushi isn’t as authentic as the Japanese. No shit. Get over it. It doesn’t mean the food can’t be tasty.

This place is popular. On a cold, wet Vancouver evening — you could easily see lineups out the door spilling onto the sidewalks of Kingsway. Even on warm Summer afternoons, you’ll likely be waiting in line. So Case and I sometimes opt for take out.

The Hot Pot menu is simple and basically consists of four items, all of them a slight variation of the same soup. I get the Seafood Noodle hot pot, which substitutes the regular rice and bean thread noodle with the thick udon noodles. Case orders the Seafood hot pot which comes with bean thread noodle and a small side of rice. All the hot pots come in a reddish seafood and garlic broth filled with all sorts of goodness like prawns, mussels, tofu, thinly sliced pieces of marinated beef, and a cracked egg thrown in for good measure.

You’ll be asked how spicy you’d like the soup: Mild, Medium or Hot — we like ours Hot — sweating goes with the whole experience. An order for two to go results in two grocery bags full of half a dozen plastic take out containers — an environmentalist’s worst nightmare.

Each container smartly separates each element of the hot pot to keep the whole dish from turning into mush by the time you get home. You basically unpack your noodles and dump them into the awaiting, fiery red broth and dig in.

The noodles are usually cooked just right — firm with a nice bounce and the broth is a wonderful soup of seafood, spicy hot peppers and a ridiculous amount of garlic. Be forewarned — do not eat this before an important job interview or a hot date. I’m pretty certain that the secret ingredient is MSG, which likely gives the broth it’s addicting quality.

This is simply guilty pleasures, Asian comfort food — perfect for a nice damp, Vancouver Fall, Winter, Spring, and er — Summer.

The Details

#1218 – 4500 Kingsway, Burnaby

8328 Capstan Way #1138, Richmond

Han Ju Hot Pot on Urbanspoon

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