Fire Hotpot & BBQ, the first restaurant of its kind in Lakeland, has opened. If you want to try it, but you’re new to this cuisine, you’re in luck. We stopped by with Justin and Tammi — the self-proclaimed hotpot experts behind @eatalldafoodz — to learn their pro tips.
Hotpot is a Chinese dish where you cook ingredients at your table in a pot of broth. There are three components: Broth, sauce, and ingredients.
Start by ordering your broth. Tammi recommends the Thai tom yum for a kick, tomato broth for a vegetarian option, or the pork bone broth for a neutral base (great for beginners).
Then the fun begins. Visit the ingredient bars to fill a plate with your favorite foods. Justin and Tammi say the key is a balance of meats, vegetables, and noodles or rice.
Create your perfect dipping sauce at the sauce bar. Try Tammi’s favorite sauce recipe: Garlic, cilantro, green onion, and a 3:1 ratio of soy sauce and sesame oil.
Back at your table, bring your broth to a boil and add a few ingredients at a time. Thinly sliced meats will take around a minute to cook, while noodles can take several minutes. Justin suggests putting chicken, dumplings, and corn in first since they’ll take the longest to cook.
Move cooked ingredients from the pot to a clean plate or bowl, add your sauce, and chow down — just wait for it to cool first. Some may take longer to fully cook, but that’s okay. Hotpot is about socializing as much as it is eating.
Ready to try it for yourself? Fire Hotpot & BBQ is open at 4250 US Hwy. 98 N. Visit Sunday-Thursday from 1-11:30 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 1 p.m.-12:30 a.m.