The Georgia Straight - - NEWS - By Photo by Tammy Kwan

FTammy Kwan

or those who didn’t grow up in an Asian house­hold, hot pot may be a for­eign term. Most peo­ple en­joy this type of Chi­nese com­mu­nal cui­sine at home, but more hot-pot es­tab­lish­ments are open­ing in the city due to in­creas­ing de­mand. Its con­ve­nience and af­ford­abil­ity (in com­par­i­son to buy­ing and pre­par­ing all the in­gre­di­ents your­self) makes it highly at­trac­tive for food lovers.

Haidi­lao Hot Pot, a megapop­u­lar hot-pot chain based in China, is sched­uled to open its first Cana­dian lo­ca­tion in Metro Van­cou­ver next month. Lo­cated at 200–5890 No. 3 Road in Rich­mond (for­merly oc­cu­pied by HML Seafood Restau­rant), the din­ing spot is a short walk from the Rich­mond-brig­house Canada Line sta­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Haidi­lao Canada’s mar­ket­ing man­ager, Ryan Pan, 150 em­ploy­ees are be­ing trained for the es­tab­lish­ment’s mid-de­cem­ber open­ing. Its menu—think sliced meats, fish balls, veg­gies, spicy broths, and more—will mostly fea­ture lo­cal in­gre­di­ents, but guests can ex­pect to find some items that are im­ported from other coun­tries.

Messy eaters, don’t fret: the eatery of­fers aprons to all guests, which can help pre­vent any greasy stains caused by its tasty dip­ping sauces or broths.

What makes Haidi­lao dif­fer­ent from other hot-pot restau­rants is its cus­tomer-fo­cused busi­ness model. Each lo­ca­tion of­fers a va­ri­ety of free ser­vices and en­ter­tain­ment while guests wait for a ta­ble, and even af­ter they sit down. Ex­pect to be amused with ev­ery­thing from board games to snacks to man­i­cures to its sig­na­ture “noo­dle dance” per­for­mances.

The hot-pot fran­chise also takes birth­days very se­ri­ously. In ad­di­tion to ser­e­nad­ing the spe­cial guest with a clas­sic “Happy Birth­day” song (of­ten in mul­ti­ple lan­guages), restau­rant staff may or may not hold up a bright LED birth­day sign that makes for great photo op­por­tu­ni­ties.

We’re sure that die-hard hot-pot fans will be ex­cited to learn that one of the world’s most pop­u­lar hot-pot chains will soon make its de­but in Metro Van­cou­ver. Haidi­lao was founded in China’s Sichuan prov­ince in 1994 and has since rapidly ex­panded around the globe. It op­er­ates 300 restau­rants in var­i­ous coun­tries, in­clud­ing Sin­ga­pore, South Ko­rea, Ja­pan, and the U.S.

The pop­u­lar­ity of hot-pot din­ing is in­creas­ing in Van­cou­ver.

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