Liuyishou Hotpot
For me, no meal makes a cold night better than hot pot, the spicier the better. Stephen and I have been really good about cooking more at home this past year, including hot pot, but with just the two of us, our ingredient list is usually pared down to just the essentials. Even then, between getting ready for a baby and house renovations, we haven’t had the energy or motivation to prep my favourite meal at home as often as I’d like. Thus, when Liuyishou Hotpot invited us in for a tasting, I was pretty excited. We stopped by their Richmond Hill location last week a day after moving, thankful for not having to worry about what to eat for dinner or the clean up after.

Disclaimer: All food and drinks reviewed below were provided complimentary. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.

Atmosphere: Liuyishou’s taken over the spot that used to be 100 Degrees Hot Pot on the corner of Highway 7 and East Beaver Creek. It was nice to see the new incarnation had much better ventilation and the windows weren’t covered in condensation. Even on a Tuesday night, there was a good chunk of the evening when every table was full and platters of thinly sliced lamb continuously marched from the kitchen. I liked that each table had their own side cart for overflow plates so there was no need to rush or combine plates of uncooked ingredients.

Service: All of our ordering was done via iPad and sent directly to the kitchen. Our soup base and first few food items arrived within minutes of talking to our server. A few of the menu items were confusing in English (as is always the case with the wide variety of noodles and soy products) and our server tried her best to answer our questions and distinguish the differences. She also notified us when we ordered an item that had an extra charge, making sure we weren’t making any mistakes. Our pot was refilled regularly with broth and without prompting. No items were missed and there were plenty of servers circulating the dining room to flag down if needed anything else.

Food: The menu at Liuyishou was AYCE and extensive, both for what was included in the base price and a few special items at an additional cost. All soup bases were at an additional cost with no complimentary option. A simple, plain base free of charge would have been nice to see. The meat options included AAA Beef, New Zealand Lamb and Sliced Pork Belly. There were lots of tofu variations (puffs, fried, fish, etc.), plenty of vegetables, some seafood and more unique items like pork blood, trip, pork intestines, liver and duck gizzard. There was a few cooked appetizers and a variety of carb options.

Menu items I really enjoyed were the lamb, all of the hand made balls (especially the cuttlefish), which were super fresh with no filler and the Spicy Bull Frog Legs. Stephen wouldn’t try any of the frog legs so I had 4 all to myself. They were very tender and excellently seasoned. I also really liked the rice cakes and homemade noodles. Both items cooked easily and had a great chewy texture. The lamb was beautifully marbled. From the “Superior Dishes”, we tried the Tiger Prawn and Signature Beef Omasum. I really liked the texture and freshness of the prawns while Stephen enjoyed the omasum. I had a harder time chewing through the big slices, but each slice picked up lots of flavour from the soup base.

The sauce station was expansive with a ton of options to customize your bowl. There were also complimentary fruit and more importantly, fried mantou with condensed milk. We sat pretty close to the bar and could see when the mantou were being refilled, they did go quickly. For drinks, I can never resist a pitcher of watermelon juice, which was freshly made with no sugar added. I would also recommend the pitcher of plum juice to help with digestion.

If you’re visiting on a weekend and opt for a more expensive soup base with drinks, the bill can quickly add up ($50/person for 2 people). I’d recommend getting the two-flavour split base and coming with at least 4 people, really the larger the group, the more worthwhile the cost.

This year to celebrate Chinese New Year, Liuyishou is hosting hotpot week at all of their locations across Canada from Feb. 26th to Mar. 2nd. Enjoy dinner, an order of Tiger Prawn and Pitcher of watermelon juice for a discounted price. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite.

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