March 03, 2009
Boiling Point: Steaming Individual Hot Pots
I've recently discovered many new delicious eateries in San Gabriel Valley with the help of our trusty Taiwanese friend, Danny C. One of the first places that we met a few months ago was Boiling Point, a simple shop that serves individual style hot pots filled with vegetables, meats, and sometimes culinary surprises. We came here on a bright Saturday noon anticipating the $8.99 bowls of piping hot all-in-one meals. It all stays hot with a powerful sterno can that keeps a healthy flame beneath the bowl. If you're sensitive to hot things, you may want to eat very slowly, or take pieces of food out and cool them on your rice. As a Korean who needs soups and broths to be boiling hot, I can take this, but the average person may not. You can pluck ingredients out with your chopsticks and dip them in a number of savory sauces: garlic, spicy oil, and a soy base.
Oh boy, isn't that a beauty? I actually haven't had the larger hot pot varieties like Mon Land, Lugi, Little Sheep, and Cocary, but I find that Boiling Point is an easy entry into the hot pot genre.
I wasn't really feeling the intestines and stinky tofu that afternoon, so I settled on the more approachable Seafood hot pot, which came with whole shrimp, imitation crab, vegetables, and a whole egg. I had it spiced at a medium because I didn't want to be overwhelmed with chili. However, I found that even the "spicy" level isn't too hard to eat if you're used to it.
It was great slurping on the boiling broth while dipping the ingredients in the various sauces. The fire kept the soup hot and slowly started to form a delicious stock with all of the ingredients continuing to cook. We also added in some noodles, which got soft and stringy while soaking up more broth.
Christine and Danny ordered the House Special hot pot, which comes with thin beef slices, pig intestines, and a load of stinky tofu. The earthy stinky tofu flavor pervaded the broth, but it wasn't as harsh as I thought it would be. A stinky tofu newbie like myself would find this is a pretty approachable start to the adventurous Taiwanese favorite. Also, if you want to add in a few more items, they're usually a reasonable couple dollars each, like the pork blood rice cake we had on one occasion.
Later you can request to turn off the heat so you can enjoy the last few spoonfuls without getting scorched. The whole meal is quite filling and you'll be satisfied for hours, especially if it's cold out. Unfortunately, with the spring approaching and the weather heating up, you may not have the desire to come here and eat boiling hot food. However, if the thermometer ever dips, you couldn't do much worse than a bowl of hot pot at Boiling Point. Dinner prices are $9.99.
Since my first visit, I've had the House Special hot pot and while the stinky tofu and intestines make me eat hesitantly, it was still delicious. I recommend either that one or the Seafood one I had on the previous visit.
153 Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755