There is a shopping center in Irvine, at Culver and Irvine Center Drive that we frequent when picking up our Asian cooking supplies. The last time we were there we noticed that the Teppan place had closed and something called Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot had taken its place. We kept telling ourselves that we should go and check it out. Well, today was that day.
The easiest way for me to describe it is it’s kind of like the Mongolian version of Shabu Shabu or fondue. Each guest selects their choice of broth, meat(s), vegetables, noodles and other sides. You order everything a la carte unless you order one of their combinations. Be careful with the a la cart plan as the items add up. We were a bit overwhelmed by all the choices so we opted to order the sampler vegetable and mushroom platters instead of ordering each vegetable separately.
We chose their original and spicy broths, but there is also a vegetarian option available. They brought out a Ying Yang-shaped pan filled with our broths and set it on an induction stove in the middle of the table. They placed all of our a la carte ingredients on the table and then it was our turn to cook. You can mix and match any of the items and cook them in whichever broth you like.
There was also a sauce bar that included cilantro, scallions, minced garlic, seafood soy, peanut, sesame oil, and bean paste sauces, to name a few. In addition there was lack vinegar, chili oil and sriracha. You can dish these up and take that the sauces to your bowl, plate or hot pot.
We enjoyed playing chef and being able to create our own soup.