SOS -- Save Our Sanity (mostly mine). We are currently on what we refer to as "house arrest"--no, not due to criminal activity but because we are taking care of my 93 year old MIL with severe alzheimer's. Though I wish I can travel to LA, SGV, Irvine, etc., my chow breaks are limited to the Artesia/Cerritos/Lakewood areas. Yesterday was one of those times I got away from my caretaking duties.
Taking a short cut on my way to eat pei pa fried tofu from Happy House (are there other restos in the area who serve this?), I noticed a Grand Opening yellow banner at the former Yummy Boba at South/Norwalk. I really wanted the pei pa but was curious to see if this is the same hot pot I've been sallivating over when I read articles and blogs. I walked in with just my keys and asked for a menu. The owner, Shi, and his cook, Sun (both males and they pronounced their names differently than they are spelled) were so nice and welcoming that I went back to the car to get my purse and decided to try this new find. Is it clay pot, shabu shabu, Mongolian hot pot, Chongking??? Heck, the shackles were removed and thought I deserved a $9.99 lunch special. Shi agreed I should try the Spicy Fish Dry Pot since I'm a newbie. I asked for hot and tried to convince him I can tolerate heat and have enjoyed our new Chung King. I settled for medium and asked for some chili on the side in case I needed more oomph. Yes, he was right--he wasn't arguing with me, more like concerned hot might be too much for me--I appreciate this hospitality especially when I'm used to either being ignored or food dropped in front of me at a few local restos.
No more dreaming for me as I just experienced the hot pot I've been wanting to experience and until yesterday I could only stare at pictures online. A few minutes after I walked in, one of the owners of Cafe Camellia and Arte Cafe sat behind me and had the same fish pot, except his was not spicy and looked real bland. He apparently has been there a few times so I joked that I'll see him back there today, that is if I can get away. Perhaps I can come up with a list of excuses to get away -- post office, drugstore, another haircut???
We struggled with communication yesterday because I don't speak Chinese and he spoke limited English, so please friends can you help this adventurous eater?
1) Why are the Lunch Specials referred to as Dry Pots if there is broth? Wow, that was good.
2) Besides the Spicy Fish, what should I try next?
3) Can you enlighten me on the left hand side of the menu that states $.1.99 Hot Pot Soup base with
a list of meats? Also which of these meats/vegs should I try with what protein? What soup base
4) Shi informed me that the $18.99 on the right side of the menu is AYCE--how does that work? Do I
choose the protein/vegs below or from the left side. Is this worth it for a 1-person adventurous
eater like me? My English master (spouse) will never eat this "crap" cause he prefers meat n
potatoes. Eating alone allows me to pretend I'm a foodie/Chowie like my blog buds and enjoy
different ethnic meals that I'm lucky to find locally. I figured out the items under Rice and Noodle.
5) This is the only Hot Pot I've discovered around the area, are there others? From time to time I
accidentally end up in La Palma/Buena Park (north of Knotts will be too far) and North Long Beach
(limited to area close to Lakewood).
6) He noticed I like the spicy sauce he gave me on the side and gave me more to take home with
leftovers. What is that walnut looking item in the sauce? Do I eat that or is it just for flavoring?
7) Do they sell this sauce at the markets--99 Ranch, H Mart, Woori, Sea Palace (I forget the new
8) Notice the close-up of the dish on the left side, are those the Sichuan peppercorns I've been
For your help, I share some pictures and some info; forgive me if some of my info is incorrect as again we had communication issues.
- Lunch Specials M-F; available dinner for $1.00 more
- Sa/Su only AYCE and Hot Pot on left side of menu. He stated he was real busy last weekend so
he recommends coming late lunch since I live in the area.
- Only one cook (Sun) and owner working the front. He's trying to manage with just the two of them
until he has a better idea on traffic/timing.
- Interior has been remodeled and looks so much better than the former Yummy Boba that was in
desperate need of some fixing up the last time I went years ago. YB moved to the other side of
- Cash Only; he said it might change later if he needs to in order to attract limited cash carrying
customers like me.
Again, I'm so so sorry for this long note. Finally, have to stop now cause I have to prep dinner for MIL then spoon feeding for two hours. After 14 years of caretaking duties, doctor estimates house arrest to last up to two years. Thank you, thank you so much for helping this Nurse Nightingale/Ratched. I truly appreciate it.