Haidilao is an international hot pot restaurant chain founded in Jianyang, Sichuan, China in 1994. With many locations around the world including several in the greater Los Angeles area, Haidilao is a dependable and relatively, convenient restaurant. Often packed with waiting areas and mobile app check-ins, the restaurant is highly popular, although most locations are spacious and can accommodate large groups. The pandemic has caused the Century City location to have minimal to no wait time and plenty of available seating.
Upon arrival, diners are greeted by a joyous host that will quickly seat guests to their table, featuring a gas burner and an embedded pot for boiling with at least four sections. Prompted with a selection of broth bases, customers can choose mixed vegetable, tomato, seafood or traditional options. The most popular broth option is the traditional one which is red in color and made of many peppers including a numbing spice that tingles your senses to the point of elation.
After choosing the broth, the next step is deciding upon the large selection of meats, seafood, vegetables and daring offals to be cooked using a set of tongs and chopsticks. Tripe, eggs, white fis, and many other proteins can mingle together inside the pot, blend flavors as the fats and spices incorporate into the broth that each item derives additional flavor from.
Once the waiter brings the selected choices, diners take a trip to the sauce table where a variety of spices, herbs, sauces and peppers can be added to each individuals dipping sauce concoction.
Back at the table, the cooking process begins with the slow lowering of various raw foods (with different cooking times) into the cauldron’s boiling broths. After the food is cooked, additional flavor is then added to the boiled foods with each person’s dipping sauce, allowing customers to enjoy the multitude of layered flavors combined.
Hai di lao is also famous for the spinning noodle dish, when ordered, a chef comes to the table, and spins fresh noodles until they elongate and are fully stretched out to be of thin diameter. They are then cut to proportion and can be thrown into the broth to be eaten fresh.
Finally, at the end when all the cooking is done, all the broths except the spicy chili one, transform into a mixture of indescribable drinking soup liquid.
A large, filling dinner with a variety of dishes for two, may typically cost about $50 to $80 all-in. Compared to other restaurants at this price, the Haidilao experience offers impeccable customer service, an interactive meal, and the ability to order and sample the large menu.
Each visit to Haidilao is truly a unique dining experience, which differentiates the restaurant and its food from other cuisines. Whereas, chain restaurants often offer standardized menus, the expansive menu and customizable decisions, makes Haidilao’s food an option that’s exciting to return to.