Little Pepper’s Hot Pot Makes Summer Sizzle!

Posted on August 11, 2010. Filed under: Chinese, Flushing/Corona, Off the beaten path |

Not too long ago a friend introduced me to the “hot pot“. Shortly after the introduction I discovered that the traditional Chinese stew prepared with a hot pot is an extraordinary thing. I simply had to try one myself. Salivating heavily, my dining partner and I hopped onto the 7 train en route to Flushing Queens. Our destination: Little Pepper (aka Xiao La Jiao Sichuan Restaurant) Climbing down a dark and dingy stairwell to the restaurant made us briefly hesitate, wondering if we had the right place. Then, we looked up at the smiling happy pepper painted on the sign. The jolly image reassured us that our location was correct.

We moseyed in and sat down, taking a look at our options. The hot pot was not listed on the menu.  Our waitress approached us, although barely speaking a word of English, she understood exactly what we wanted. She returned to our table with a list of ingredients to cook in our stew- one side written in Chinese and the other in English. We checked off a long list of raw food items: beef, bean sprouts, shrimp, lotus root, spinach, and the list went on. After placing our order, she emerged from the kitchen holding a large concoction over flames. It was the first step, the hot pot broth. One side of the hot pot was spicy and the other milky. Next came the raw savory morsels we added into the boiling broth. We marveled at the mysterious brew. Picking up our selected items, we dropped each of the foods one-by-one into the mixtures. I chose to stick to the milky broth, while my dining partner, with no shortage of steam rising from his beet-red forehead, ate from the spicy side.

A beautiful amalgam of tastes and colors were presented as we ferociously bit into every forkful. The foods’ appearances changed drastically as we tossed it into the hot pot. Bright red peppers floated atop the hot side, tempting us with every gleam, turning our mouths into infernos. The gray shrimp went into the pot and surfaced as soft pink and white swirls. The brilliant green of the crispy spinach became a dark wilting forest, woven with shades of red. The tender slices of red beef turned into savory brown curls. And the once full-to-the-brim pot became empty within a matter of minutes. Although it didn’t take us long to devour this meal, eating it was an experience of its own, a “work-out” if you will. The ingredients fuse together to create a kaleidoscope of tastes. In other words, it was really good.

Little Pepper– 133-43 Roosevelt Avenue Flushing, NY 11354 (718) 939-7788

One- We order our raw food items from the bilingual menu list

Two- The hot pot appears over flames- left side is hot, right side is not

Three- Raw food items we checked off the list (top) to add into our pot

Four- Voila! My own personal stew is created!

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One Response to “Little Pepper’s Hot Pot Makes Summer Sizzle!”

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My mouth is watering. I know where I’m having lunch!


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