It’s a fact – hot pots are so hot right now in Doha right now. They seem to be popping up all over the city, fueled by our enduring love of Asian food. Hot pots are the perfect food for a group of family or frinds – it’s interactive and everyone gets what they want. Before I delve into the best hot pots in Doha, some history and how to hot pot…
Hot Pot History
The concept of Chinese Hot pot is believed to date back more than 1000 years to the dining practices of Mongolian horsemen. Legend has it that the when they weren’t galloping across the steppe, Mongols used their helmets as pots to simmer broth and chunks of meat over open fires. Hot pot subsequently spread throughout China and across the region to Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and beyond.
Not all Hot Pots Are the Same
While the basic tenets of the hot pot – a steaming pot of goodness – are the same, each country with hot pot heritage has its own distinct style.
- In China broth is brought to the table with raw ingredients such as meat and vegetables, which are added to the soup by the diner.
- In South-East Asian countries like Thailand, aromatic local produce including lemongrass, tamarind and galangal are added in the broths, Tom Yum style.
- In Japan and South Korea, sometimes the hot pot to be brought to the table with all of the ingredients already in the stock.
How to Hot Pot – it’s an art
While the broth and the set up may differ, the how-to of hotpotting (wait, is that a verb now?) remain the same. here’s a few pointers:
Choose your broth: Your choices often include clear soup, a spicy soup spiked with chilis (sichuan style – and it’s SPICY), or sour such as the Thai style. Some Chinese places also offer a Chinese herb soup which is very aromatic. Many offer a split pot – enabling you to take two soups at once.
Choose your ingredients: Main components run the gamut from meat and seafood, sliced vegetables and greens, fast-cooking noodles, and tofu –– all pre-cut and arranged on skewers or small plates to expedite a quick getaway to your table. Some hot pot restaurants will have a menu, while many others will operate an open buffet-style whereby you choose your own ingredients, at your own pace.
Load Up Your Sauces: Now, this is my favorite part. Many places offer a sauce bar. Yes it’s a thing. Here you will find dozens of little containers with different sauces, spices and other ingredients like chopped garlic, ground chilis, vinegar and even pepper and sugar. The idea is you mix your own sauce according to your preference. Mine always starts with a sesame paste and involves garlic, chili oil and a splash of vinegar.
Boiling point: If you’re having Chinese, Thai or Vietnamese hot pot, bring the broth to the boil before adding any raw ingredients to the pot. Remember some items like tofu and root veggies take longer, but the wafer thin spices of beef require just a quick dunk. Also, to keep the heat consistent, don’t pile the pot with too many ingredients.
No Double Dipping: you don’t double dip your chips and dips so this rule applies here too!
So Hot Right Now – Your Essential Guide to the Best Hot Pots in Doha:
Thursday BBQ, Steamboat and Japanese Buffet at Holiday Villa
Every Thursday at their L’Agenda restaurant, Holiday Villa offer a Japanese inspired hot pot/steamboat and buffet experience for QR138 per person (QR69 for kids). The steaming hotpot is a ying/yang with two broths – spicy or a chicken soup. The buffet features items for the hotpot including tofu, chicken, beef, crab, prawns, veggies and noodles. Load up your plates and go for it. Deco ris old school cheked tablecloths and services is friendly. Don’t miss the epic sauce buffet – at least 30 different Asian style sauces and ingredients for your hotpot. You can also find maki rolls, a tempura stand, BBQ meats and of course dessert on the wider buffet – a real crowd pleaser.
The OG of Korean food in this town now has two locations – Doha Souq and the ever popular Al Kinana street spot (and soon to open in Lagoona Mall). They offer Japanese Shabu shabu and Sukiyaki. Sukiyaki and Shabu-shabu are two different Japanese dishes using the same thinly sliced cut meat. Sukiyaki is sweeter and Shabu-shabu is savory. at Yee Hwa you can choose meat or seafood or surf and turf all starting from QR170. On Tuesdays they offer all you can eat sushi, sashimi and shabu shabu for QR140 per person – terrific value! Ask the servers for extra sauces and chili.
Down a construction-riddled street (Mathaf street) just behind the Qatar National Museum you will find this hidden Chinese hot pot gem. Parking is a challenge but once sorted follow the crowds. Go early for the hotpots which are served in individual pots (from QR108) cooked on your table. Choose from one of five broths – including a Chinese herbal blend) and a range of seafood and meat set options. You can order additional veggies and proteins to bulk it up even more. Let your chopsticks do the talking at the expansive sauce buffet (QR5 per sauce but they are generous). One of the best things about this place is they encourage you to take your leftovers home – you will find the containers and bags next to the sauce buffet. Special mention for the had made noodles in the hot pot sets – some of the best in town.
OSHA Asia Bistro
Located along the now vibrant foodie scene at the far end of Al Kinana Street, this slick new kid on the hot pot block offers a pocket friendly but luxe experience. Their hot pot sets are QR99 each at the moment – and piled with meat (the option of lamb or Wagyu beef!) and veggies. You can go for their clear brother but I recommend paying the extra QR10 to upgrade to the Japanese “black broth” – a umami laden soup that pairs perfectly with the wagyu. Their BBQ set is also QR99 and the BBQ grill comes with a broth “moat”, meaning you can have the best of both worlds. You can buy additional items to add to the pot include seafood and tofu.
This hidden gem in City Centre Mall (they also have a branch at Barwa Tower) offers hotpot and a buffet.
Located inside the Al Safa Royal Suites, I’ve found this restaurant has some of the most traditional Chinese dishes in town. They also offer a hot pot starting at QR68 for the chicken. They also offer both a clear broth and the super spicy Sichuan version. Do call ahead to check.
While you are here:
There it is, your essential guide to the best hotpots in Doha. With a slew of new hotels set to open around town pre FIFA, expect lots of action on the dining front. Some happenings around town and things to watch out for:
- My instagram is baaaack. Check me out @rachelannmorris71
- After months of threatening to do so, I am now on TikTok @rachelannmorris
- My Summer Dining Guide can be found here.
- Also Time Our Doha has put together a list of Ladies’ Nights.