Order Up at Melbourne's Best Hot Pot Spots
Counter Melbourne's chill with these piping hot hot pot spots.
ORDER UP AT MELBOURNE'S BEST HOT POT SPOTS
Counter Melbourne's chill with these piping hot hot pot spots.
UPDATE Thursday, June 17: Melburnians will soon be free to travel around Victoria, with the 25-kilometre travel restrictions lifted at 11.59pm tonight, June 17. However, hospitality venues are still operating under capacity restrictions, so you may be best off booking a table in advance. Check out the latest information on the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website. You can also find more figures and graphs on its Victorian coronavirus data page.
Melburnians are absolutely spoiled for choice with dozens of hot pot, or huǒ guō (火锅), spots around every corner in the food capital of Australia.
Hot pot is less of a dish and more of an experience. Think of it as the Asian version of fondue – a bubbling pot of broth sits in the middle of the table surrounded by platters of meat, seafood and vegetables, all ready to be cooked in a cauldron of soup. The only rule of hot pot is that there are no rules.
We've done the hard work for you and hunted down eight Melbourne spots that are heating up the hot pot scene. All that's left is to decide which one you'll dive into first.
You’ve probably walked past Panda Hot Pot’s huge wooden doors and couldn’t resist snapping a pic or two. After taking over the old Dracula’s site in 2019, Panda has made its mark on Melbourne with its authentic Sichuan menu and free nightly entertainment. First, choose from their selection of seven soup bases — for those who are less spice inclined, don’t worry, there are heaps of chilli-free options. Then you can start filling your table with platters of fresh seafood, roses made out of ox tongue, or a smokey box of dry ice layered with their signature cuts of meat. We recommend a jug of fresh watermelon juice to wash it all down, as well as a plate of their fried sticky rice cake for dessert – it comes out drenched in brown sugar and is chewy, moreish and the perfect way to end an unforgettable experience.
If you feel like a break from Melbourne’s huge choice of Sichuan-style spots, this is the place for you. Choose between Jiyu’s signature sweet and sour tom yum soup or creamy Thai coconut broth – if you’re feeling indecisive, you can also opt for the two-in-one split pot which offers a taste of each. Seafood reigns supreme here with street food-style menu options like spicy stir-fried pips, oysters or Thai seafood fried rice. For dessert, munch on the cutest rabbit-shaped pannacotta or try one of Thailand’s most beloved dishes – mango sticky rice.
Da Long Yi has amassed a cult following around the world with Asian megastars like G-Dragon and Fan Bingbing endorsing their Chengdu style hot pot. The team pride themselves on their high-quality soup bases, with options including oxtail tomato, mushroom or chestnut chicken soup. Unlike other hot pot broths, the soup here is light enough to be slurped on its own or enjoyed in a bowl with some of their thick wide noodles. Other stand-out additions include their thinly sliced M6+ wagyu beef slices, fresh tofu, pieces of purple corn and cucumber filled with prawn meat. Even dessert is soup-ified, with a sweet Chinese-style soup made of brown sugar jelly, red bean, sultanas and goji berries.
Dragon Hot Pot has saved every Melburnian’s life after a long night out. Open 24/7 with over 100 ingredients to choose from, this DIY malatang chain allows customers to create endless combinations of personalised hot pot. Unlike some of the other hot pot places on this list – it involves getting a bowl, picking your own ingredients from the glorious open fridge, and weighing your choices before choosing a broth and spice level. These legends have even created a vegan version of their original malatang soup base so nobody has to miss out – just don’t go in with an empty stomach or you might end up with a bowl made for two.
It may look like an art gallery from the outside, but step through the secret entrance to reveal the first all-you-can-eat hot pot and sushi train venue in Melbourne.
Sibling to the first Chef David located in the CBD, this new spot is all about the wine, cocktails, premium meats and seafood. Priced at $90 per head, you’ll choose five items from their tasting menu to start off with – think M9+ wagyu nigiri, Tasmanian uni (sea urchin) served on a crunchy nori cracker, or the most luxuriously silky lobster bisque soup.
Then, you’ll get an individual pot filled with the broth of your choice, which means it’s time to grab any (or all) of the ingredients on the conveyor belt. With a selection of abalone, black-truffle prawn balls, mushroom parcels and fresh tofu, it’s an all-you-can-cook adventure. If you’re still feeling a bit peckish, there are even ready-to-eat dishes on the train, with options like spicy cold noodles, fresh oysters and plates of sushi and sashimi.
Best known for their viral Barbie dolls draped in slices of wagyu beef, this Melbourne venue is one of more than 500 stores internationally. As an added bonus, the menu allows guests to choose their own mini, individual pots instead of the usual shared soup in the centre of the table.
Personalised service is at the forefront of their business model – you can expect Spice World bibs and complimentary hair ties to be offered, as well as the perfect dipping sauce concoction made from their homemade soy sauce.
Dip pieces of Kagoshima A5 wagyu striploin or gold-dusted M9 short rib into your soup, sit back and let it melt in your mouth. Finish off the meal with the most intricately made purple sweet potato puffs shaped into black swans – even the ‘neck’ and ‘beak’ of the potato-crafted swan are entirely edible.
Have you ever wished you could wash down all that spicy hot pot with an ice-cold beer? David’s Master Pot branch in Glen Waverley has just finished renovating their brand new beer garden located at the rear of their restaurant. After choosing your favourite ingredients from the open fridge (priced at $3.68 per 100g), follow the neon signs to the cosiest outdoor area, full of gas heaters and artificial grass.
Our tip is to try their signature stir-fry spicy pot – it’s a dry version of their famous soup base that uses over 20 kinds of Chinese herbs and spices for a fiery kick. Remember to ask for a complimentary bowl of steamed white rice for a match made in malatang heaven.
If you’re feeling a bit strapped for cash, Damiao Panda Fan has your back. They pride themselves on delivering high-quality ingredients for a fraction of the price – their lunch buffet will only set you back $35 per person.
Fill up your table with stuffed fish balls, beancurd, lotus root, beef slices, mussels, sweet potato noodles and eat to your heart’s content. Lunch hours are from 11.30am–3pm for $35 per person and dinner 5.30–10pm for $43 per person.