A cheap way to experience this Chinese traditional dish
When I returned to Manchester after the winter break, I heard through the grapevine of a new hotpot restaurant in town: One Plus. Although the restaurant had only opened a few months prior to my visit, I had already read a number of rave reviews online. The concept of the restaurant piqued my curiosity and I decided it was worth further investigation. And so, the next weekend that I was free, I grabbed an innocent bystander (also one of my closest friends) and went to One Plus to see if it deserved its current 5-star rating on Google Reviews.
And the verdict? It does! Our expectations were high and One Plus did not let us down. As soon as we entered the restaurant, the staff greeted us and explained the concept of an off-the-belt hotpot meal. First, you are shown to a table with your very own individual hotpot cooker (perfect for people with special dietary needs). You then pick the broth of your choice, with options including: Tom Yum (tasty and Thai-style), Hot Spicy (popular – but it will set your mouth on fire), Chicken (mild and wonderful) and Vegetarian (the mildest of them all).
Next, you either create your own sauce or choose their tried-and-tested mixed house sauce. My own concoction featured a blend of sesame butter, soy sauce, chilli oil and coriander, which I have to admit did taste quite strange. Thankfully, the taste of the broth blended in nicely with that of the sauce. Once your sauce is ready and the broth begins to boil, you then pick up the dishes you want to add to your pot from the rotating conveyor belt. There are over 50 dishes on the menu – including a range of vegetables, seafood and meats (some halal) – so you are truly spoilt for choice! If the dish that you want does not appear on the belt, you can request it and the the staff will bring some directly to your table.
To my boiling pot, I decided to add some Enoki mushrooms, thick noodles, seaweed, frozen tofu, sweet potato, pork luncheon meat and mussels. It was an unusual mix of ingredients but the Hot Spicy broth made it delicious. My vegetarian friend also enjoyed his meal and particularly liked the Tom Yum broth (Tasting his food gave me a bad case of food envy, so I second that recommendation). Once we were done eating, we felt full but not stuffed. The hotpot is a feel-good meal that is perfect for a student budget: the broth and the sauces (with unlimited refills) cost only 5 pounds and each dish is individually priced. So for those of you who haven’t tried a traditional Chinese hotpot, I would highly recommend a visit to One Plus. Eating a hotpot is a cultural experience disguised as a very tasty meal.