I love hot pot aka Chinese fondue at Little Sheep, suitably located in Montreal’s Chinatown. I love the concept, the food and the experience. It’s an ideal meal on a chilly winter day like today, but heck I enjoy it all year round.
When you enter the spacious restaurant, there’s an unusual aroma of spices that fills the air, but once you’ve settled in, it’ll go unnoticed. At the center of the table is a built-in burner because, as you’ve guessed, you’ll be doing the cooking. You can order the regular broth or spicy broth, but we always opt for both - the Yin Yang option. The spicy broth is red in color and heavily seasoned with a variety of spices and a generous handful of red chilies. It’s SO HOT that it will incinerate your taste buds (the way I like it) and the fumes will clear your sinuses. The regular broth is much more subtle in taste, yet still flavorful and refreshing. When the pot gets to the table, set the burner to a boil and head over the to buffet, YES the buffet - all you can eat and drink. While the options for lunch are limited, everything you can possibly want is available in the evenings – meat, seafood, vegetables, noodles and “unclassified” items. Beware! Don’t waste food. For every 200g of uneaten food, you’ll be charged extra (price of one person), so don’t get too excited, and pace yourself.
For all you hot pot virgins don’t dump everything on your plate into the pot at once. If you do, it brings down the broth’s temperature and delays cooking time, and will most likely produce undercooked and overcooked food because all items cook at different rates. As a rule of thumb, ingredients are cooked and ready to eat when they float at the surface. My favorites include but are not limited to the fried tofu puffs (they absorb the liquid like a sponge), sliced lamb, mussels, shrimp, fish balls, cuttlefish, tripe, baby bok choy, spinach and watercress. My hot pot experience wouldn’t be complete without a bowl (sometimes two) of steamed white rice, soy milk to relieve my burning palate and a custom-made dipping sauce comprised of sesame sauce, chili sauce and fresh cilantro from the sauce bar.
I just love Little Sheep. I can easily spend hours here with a group of friends, eating and cooking. The food is nothing fancy, but I like the simplicity of it. It’s by no means one of the best restaurants in town, but it’s conveniently located, all you can eat and perfect for the harsh, long winter ahead.
50 rue de le Gauchetière Ouest | map