Where to hunker down for hotpot
Secret no. 14 to making the most of the city this chilly season
Hotpot, the merry East Asian meal, is an ideal winter ritual. For the uninitiated, here’s how it works: a communal crock of simmering broth is set on a recessed burner surrounded by plates of thinly sliced raw meat, seafood and vegetables, which are dunked and cooked on the spot, turning dinner into a totally immersive event. There are a handful of fluorescent-lit Spadina restaurants that offer the basic experience, but for a more stylish and technologically advanced adventure, we recommend Little Pig Hot Pot. The vibrant storefront is sandwiched between nail salons and bubble tea spots in Scarborough’s Skycity plaza (the signage isn’t great, so keep an eye out for the fogged-up windows).
Inside, a splashy Chairman Mao mural is the backdrop to crowds of diners hunched over cauldrons of steaming, roiling broth. Ordering is made fun, easy and paperless with iPads: simply swipe through to select one of the many soup bases (we like the umami-packed Mountain Cliff Mushroom or the fiery, chili-heavy Little Pig Explosive Sensation), fixings (including strips of Angus beef and New Zealand lamb, shrimp, tofu cubes, Chinese sausage, quail eggs, udon noodles, and hunks of corn on the cob) and savoury dipping sauces, like a creamy sesame paste. Cash only. All you can eat from $25.95 per person (a few specialty items, like duck heart, cost extra). 3260 Midland Ave., Unit F101-102, 416-901-9880.