Eating in New York: Hot Pot at the Little Fat Lamb

New York City Memories

It's good to have food-savvy friends: two of mine recently introduced me to a traditional Chinese hot pot restaurant in Queens, where diners dunk meats and vegetables into boiling vats of broth. The Little Fat Lamb (a branch of a global restaurant chain with locations seemingly everywhere, including California and Malaysia) serves its hot pot in straightforward fashion: customers can choose either a spicy red broth dotted with chiles or a luscious milky-white pork broth—or both, in a single pot divided in two. The inventory of dunkable ingredients includes an array of fish balls, some stuffed with savory pork, plus all types of vegetables and mushrooms, fresh and fried tofu, and of course, meats: thinly sliced beef, pork, and lamb, as well as chicken gizzards, meatballs, and lamb testicles. Instead of dipping one piece at a time with chopsticks, my friends showed me that pushing a platter's worth of ingredients into the broth was a more efficient, more communal way to eat. For those not near a restaurant specializing in these dishes, here's a thorough guide to preparing hot pot at home, an intriguing option for a family holiday dinner. —Jayanthi Daniel, SAVEUR