Become Lakeland’s next hotpot expert

Save these pro tips from local food influencers.

A table spread at Fire Hotpot & Korean BBQ with pots of broth

Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Photo by LALtoday

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).

Fire Hotpot & BBQ ingredient bar

It’s all-you-can-eat here, so you can truly try everything.

Photo by LALtoday

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.

Boiling hotpot and ingredients at Fire Hotpot & BBQ

Each seat has a burner built in to the table to cook your meal.

Photo by LALtoday

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.

Interior view of seating area at Fire Hotpot & BBQ restaurant

Pro tip: Wait times here may be long at first, so arrive early.

Photo by @fire.hotpot

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.

More from LALtoday