SGV: Would You Care for a Noodle Dance at Hai Di Lao Hot Pot?
After what seems like a zillion years, I finally checked out Hai Di Lao at the Westfield Santa Anita mall in Arcadia. It is the San Gabriel Valley branch of the hot pot chain from China. Considering I went to the more recently opened spots like Monkey Bar, EMC Seafood, Side Chick and even the new Din Tai Fung, it felt like an accomplishment to go the 3-year-old hot pot spot.
Hai Di Lao has a slick ipad ordering system though your server will kindly walk you through the process. It’s individual hot pots so my two friends ordered their own broths. I went with the spicy not knowing it was going to be “that spicy.” My body may never recover but I’m so addicted to the Sichuan pepper spice that I’m going back as soon as I can trick my mind it’s really not “that spicy.” But never forget… it is spicy and you’re welcome to scoop out the chili peppers as our server suggested.
In the center of the dining room is a large buffet… of sauces! You get to mix and match to your heart’s content. I discovered I didn’t need the spicy dip I created and ended up dipping in more acidic sauces.
There are a few items to much on while you wait for your food to cook including the tofu strips. I found this was a great way to combat the spice with the bland tofu noodles.
We got lamb, beef and fish along with tofu and veggies to cook.
The beef belly was pretty great.
We also liked the hearty lamb and delicate fish. Watch that fish, it cooks up very quickly in the bubbling hot pot.
Hai Di Lao offers noodle dancing on the menu which I found out means a well-dressed man will twirl and spin dough around before handing you the hand pulled noodles. The noodles cook up in a jiffy and you had a show to boot.
Hai Di Lao at the Westfield Santa Anita mall400 S Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, CA 91007 — (626) 445-7232
© The Minty 2017