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Typically, I haven’t been the biggest hot pot fan, I generally like it, but I never crave it. However, for some reason recently I’ve really been craving it; maybe because it’s been so cold, I don’t know. I asked around and some people recommended Baidu Shabu Shabu in Flushing, so I met up with a friend and stopped in. Fyi, I don’t believe it says Baidu anywhere in English only in Chinese, it says Mapo Szechuan in front.
Baidu is surprisingly upscale for Flushing, its brand new looking, very clean and quite modern looking. Looks similar to some of the place you get hot pot in Taiwan. Its two levels with the bottom level having a full bar with a big TV and the upstairs having tables, some of which have TVs playing the Chinese channels (ours did).
The service was fine, not super attentive, but that’s generally how hot pot is anyhow since you’re serving yourself. There was about a 20 minute wait when we were there as the place is definitely pretty popular. My friend knows the owners (who weren’t there that day) and it’s actually the same family that owns the Ollie’s chain in Manhattan.
They have a full Sichuan menu and a full hot pot menu, but we only got the hot pot. I did see some Sichuan dishes on some people’s tables that looked pretty good, but most people seemed to be there for the hot pot.
Here’s what we got:
- Kimchi Broth: You have a variety of choices for broth and you can get the split pot where you get two different broths. My friend wanted to get the kimchi broth, getting the kimchi broth was against my better judgment (kimchi in a Chinese place), but I was so hungry that I just went with whatever my friend wanted. Although later I talked to another friend who eats there frequently and she told me that’s actually by far the worst broth and that we should have gotten the duck broth. The broth was alright, it had a kimchi flavor, but it was a bit weak in flavor. Honestly though after a little while we had diluted the broth so much by cooking stuff in it and asking for more broth that it had no kimchi flavor at all and I probably wouldn’t have noticed the broth no matter what flavor it was. 3.75/5
- Angus Beef: this was quite good, the beef was clean and fresh tasting unlike a lot of hot pot places I’ve been to in NY where you could tell the beef was old (gray spots, odd looking meat etc). We actually ended up getting two orders of it because we were so hungry and it was very good. Beef is always my favorite part of hot pot. 4.25/5
- Short Rib: this was also good as well, clean and fresh tasting again. The meat was a little fattier, but it tasted great as well. 4.25/5
- Seafood Platter: I was a little sketched out ordering the seafood platter because typically the seafood I’ve gotten at hot pot places in NY has been pretty bad quality, but again the seafood all tasted pretty fresh and it all came out pretty good when you cooked it. 4/5
- Mushroom Platter: This was good as well. All the mushrooms were fresh and tasted great when you cooked them. Also, I those seashell looking things are actually fishcakes that taste like Japanese kamaboko if you know what that is. We were confused as to why they were part of the mushroom platter, but they were good nonetheless. 4/5
- Vegetable Platter: The vegetables were very fresh and tasted great. 4.25/5
- Sauces: They have a sauce bar where you can make sauces and they also have a rice cooker there as well which is actually really convenient because you can just go get your own rice. I got ponzu sauce, sha cha sauce (a sauce made from soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chilis, fish, and dried shrimp) and then I mixed a sort sauce of sesame oil, homemade soy sauce, chili oil, minced garlic and cilantro. All the sauces were good and I particularly liked the sauce I created. 4.25/5
Overall, I liked it a lot and I’d definitely come back. It was probably the best non-Sichuan hot pot I’ve had in NY. Highly recommend.
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