Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot

Austin, Texas


rating star

The good: You choose the ingredients, so as long as you make sure the soup base and dipping sauces are vegan, it's easy to eat vegan. The firm tofu and the Chrysanthemum were good. It's seemed authentic: they didn't give you ice-cold water unless you asked.

The bad: The rice was obviously not fresh (like, maybe it was cooked up yesterday not fresh), which made me wonder about the quality of the other ingredients. We ordered the Shiitake broth, and it tasted a little funny. Also, the server is in charge of the heat of the burner. All of the hot pot restaurants I've been to were set up so that the customers were in charge of the heat. The internet said they'd have mala (numbing peppercorn) as an option, but I didn't see it on the menu. They also charge for the dipping sauces (not much, just $0.50), and some places don't. My partner ordered the plum drink, and it tasted smoky and bad, so she didn't finish it. We've had plum drink in Southern China and liked it a lot. To give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe the smoky flavor is a regional thing in Inner Mongolia or some other part of China.

Remember: Make sure to ask about chicken broth with the soup bases. We told our server we were vegetarian and asked which broths were vegetarian, and he suggested the Shiitake broth. Then he said if half chicken broth, half water was okay, and we said no to the chicken broth. So be aware that they might not really understand veg. Also, since there's only one pot for your table, you don't want to go with people who want to eat meat (because the meat would be cooking next to your veggies). It's also not a good option for people who don't want to see meat, because your neighbors will probably have plates full of raw meat at their table.

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