The Chinese food scene in Nairobi is popping with hot pot being one of the highlights. Hot pot is where a simmering pot of soup is placed on your table, then you dip in various uncooked items like meat and vegetables to cook. Someone on twitter funnily described it as the Chinese version of mashakura which it kind of is, but in the nicest way. When it comes to interactive do it yourself food experiences, hot pot ranks right up there.
I was ecstatic to discover Cheng Du Impression online who specialize in hot pot. The restaurant is located on Riverside Lane in a converted home, and has a very informal feel. The sitting indoors is quite dark and with the aromas that come with simmering pots of soup, id imagine it to be quite stuffy. We opted to sit outside on the veranda which was pleasant. I’ve been to questionable hot pot establishments in the past that were iffy on cleanliness, but this one although not 100% is decent enough (I console myself that all germs are killed off in the hot soup).
The menu has a great variety of items that include meat, seafood, vegetables, soups and noodles – many of which I have never seen before. The soup has to be the most important thing and we chose two soups; spicy sichuan pepper and a mild pork bone broth. Both soups tasted delightful with the sichuan soup being numbingly hot and the bone broth subtle but rich.
We ordered chicken, beef, spinach, cabbage, potatoes, wontons, and noodles for this meal. This looks like a lot to order but it was the right amount for four people. When dipped into the soup, the food absorbs the soups flavours which made it juicy and succulent. My favourite items were the beef and wontons which absorbed the soup beautifully.
The items cooked very fast as the soup maintains a rolling boil and longer cooking items like meat are sliced very thinly. There’s no wrong way of eating hot pot – we dumped everything in the broth at once and ate them as they became ready. The only benefit being the more items you add to the soup the more layers of flavour the soup adopts which ultimately makes it taste better.
Watch the video below to get a glimpse of the experience
With a huge selection of sauces and condiments, Cheng Du Impression has an impressive sauce station for you to create sauce to dip your food in. My sauce combination was as random as it gets but it went so well with the food. Don’t skip on this bit!
My experience here was soul nourishing through the soups that have a way of enveloping you in warmth. Hot pot is best shared with a group of friends where you’re all huddled around one pot dipping for food . I know many of you have not had hot pot before but I urge you to give it a try. It’s different but not so far-fetched for you not to like.
Location – Riverside Lane
For Reservations Call: 0706 683260