Santa Barbara: Chinese Hot Pot Joy at Lao Ma Tou

appetizers and sauce


I had a cold while I was in Santa Barbara so I felt a comforting and spicy meal would be the way to go. I chose Lao Ma Tou out of a bunch of reviews because I like communal dining (the solo pots seem so lonely) and this was close to Shaker Mill and Cubaneo where we were doing happy hour. I was probably already full when we started eating but I couldn’t stop ordering all my favorites!


dual pot


First we chose two broths. One was spicy though we asked for the mild version of it and the other was a lovely broth. Both lacked the usual knobby bits of wood I’m used to in hot pot broths but I actually like this better so I didn’t have to strain out the medicinal tasting bark bits.


a whole cart of stuff


Did I mention I ordered a lot of stuff? Well, yes, we got some meats but really hot pot is about all the stuff that can soak up the soup. So I like tofu, all versions of it, plus fish and noodles. I also got tendon, wood ear mushrooms and some veggies to round it out.

tofu is my fave


See how pretty and clean the lotus root is?




By the time we got to our proteins, we were really full. But wait! Don’t forget about the side bar where you can get all sorts of cold appetizers (shown above). I went for seaweed and cucumber.


Lao Ma Tou

511 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101  — (805) 618-1878


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