We have this running joke in the family about hot pot. If you have a mother-in-law and/or granny with you, take her to eat at a hot pot place. The make-your-own-soup thing is a crowd-pleaser, especially for the elders in the family, so most grandmas are appeased. For Mother’s Day 2015, the family took my lola (grandmother) to King One Rotary Hot Pot in Tomas Morato.
I’m not going to comment much on service as we did go on a special occasion on a Sunday without a reservation. Naturally, the wait list was insanely long and the staff was slammed. There were some orders for hotpot ingredients and a la carte menu items that didn’t arrive at all, but we managed to either follow-up the order or personally retrieve the ingredients from the conveyor. No harm, no foul.
Having gone to my fair share of hot pot restaurants, what I distinctly like about King One is the sheer variety of ingredients they have on an order-all-you-can basis. Just the soup base alone is a selection of one or two flavors from ten possible choices: Plain, Satay, Century Egg Wansoy, Spicy Curry, Korean Kimchi, Hong Kong Curry, Thailand Tom Yam, Hong Kong Style Pork, Superior Beef, or Miso. Personally, I would’ve gone for Hong Kong Curry and Tom Yam, but my less-than-adventurous family members voted for Plain and Satay soups instead. The rest of the ingredients, be it seafood, veggies, or meats, were impressively fresh. A selection of ready-to-eat appetizers and drinks were also available.
The idea of hot pot used to illicit an irritated groan from me, because the price had always been on a per-ingredient basis. Most of the time, we ended up ordering the same things (fish balls, squid balls, etc.), since each ingredient would be a huge plateful already. Being able to get smaller portions and to, therefore, sample more kinds of ingredients brought excitement back into the fold.
There are just two things to remember: First, there are free short orders included. However, the policy on tempura was kind of whack. Regardless of how many members are in a table, there is a certain maximum amount of ebi tempura that can be given out. In our case, a table of five only got four pieces. You could be a table of ten and still get four pieces max. Second, fruits served at the end of the meal are not included to the order-all-you-can.
Verdict: For the longest time, I found myself disinterested with hot pot, but King One has changed my mind. I want to come back (of my own volition) to experiment with different soup bases, whether or not family members decide to tag along.