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The hot pot table at The Source
The hot pot table at The Source
R. Lopez

Warm Up at These Ten Cool Locations for Hot Pot

Dip in to this tastiness

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The hot pot table at The Source
| R. Lopez

Interactive tabletop cooking, such as Korean barbecue or fondue, is always a fun activity for a group of diners. Hot pot (sometimes called steamboat) provides another fun tabletop option. It involves cooking an assortment of meat, seafood, vegetables, and noodles in a table top pot of seasoned broth.

Hot pot's origins are the chilly steppes of Mongolia, but variations are found all over Asia. Within China, the country with which hot pot is most frequently associated, mushroom broths, spicy broths with Sichuan peppers and hot pepper oil, or sour preserved vegetable broths cook and flavor the food, which is then dipped in a sauce that likely features Mongolian barbecue sauce (containing brill shrimp, dried shrimp, garlic, and shallots), chili paste, sesame oil, soy sauce, raw egg, scallions, and cilantro.

In Japan, find shabu-shabu, which features a kombu-based stock and a ponzu- or sesame seed-based dipping sauce. And in Vietnam, they serve lẩu featuring a sour broth flavored with lemongrass, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and tamarind.

The most common items that go into a hot pot are thinly-shaved beef, chicken, pork, and lamb, as well as quick-cooking chunks of fish, squid, octopus, and shrimp as well as meatball forms of these proteins. All of these proteins deepen the flavor of the broth, which is sopped up by various forms of tofu and vegetables like napa cabbage and wood ear mushroom that are added later.

Now that the weather's getting cooler, there's a new excuse to visit these restaurants (this map has been updated with a couple of 2016 newcomers this time around). And stay tuned for more hot pot to come: Little Dipper is heading to Rockville, while Little Sheep is bound for Eden Center.

—Updated by Missy Frederick

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Hot Spot

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3232 Old Pickett Rd
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 537-0325
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The all-you-can-eat Hot Spot adds a touch of Korean flavor to hot pot with kimchi broth. There are four other broth options, including shabu shabu, herbal, spicy, and veggie. Drop in beef tongue, chicken, pork, trip, crawfish, octopus, and a selection of noodles and vegetables.

2. Mala Tang

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3434 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 243-2381
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Mala Tang, opened by the chef from Uncle Liu's and Hong Kong Palace in 2011, offers one of the most exhaustive experiences for hot pot as well as an accompanying menu of Sichuan dishes. Choose from traditional or vegetarian broth, in mild or mala spicy (Sichuan peppercorns and chili oil). For the summer, opt for Cajun broth for seafood specials that include crawfish, snow crab legs, surf clams, and mussels. Otherwise pick from proteins like pork, pork intestine, lamb, beef, ox tripe, scallops, squid, prawns, and lobster as well as a large variety of vegetables and tofu. Custom a dipping sauce at the sauce bar with Mongolian barbecue sauce, chili oil, cilantro, and other garnishes. Have ingredients leftover? The restaurant will cook the remainder to take home.

3. Rice Paper

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6775 Wilson Blvd
Falls Church, VA 22044
(703) 538-3888
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Head to Rice Paper to try lẩu, which is sometimes served as a pre-cooked soup. However, Rice Paper serves it hot pot style. Choose from six combinations of meat, seafood, and vegetables, and add additional vegetables or vermicelli to round out the choice as a shareable meal.

4. Tachibana Japanese Restaurant

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6715 Lowell Ave
McLean, VA 22101
(703) 847-1771
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Tachibana keeps the shabu shabu simple on the proteins with only thinly sliced beef and vegetables for two. Cook it in a kombu broth, and use the ponzu dipping sauce for a touch of acidity.

5. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20565
(202) 637-6100
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Offered for a group of four for a single seating per night, a seat at The Source's hot pot table is a hot commodity. The lucky diners will be treated to a rich broth made from chicken feet, pork ribs, beef and chicken bones, whole chicken, Sichuan peppercorns, chilies, chilies, and chili oil simmered for 20 hours. Into the pot go wagyu beef, pork belly, rockfish, wild mushrooms, noodles, and dumplings. Bump up the flavor with house-made chili paste, sesame paste, and Sichuan peppercorns.

6. Uncle Liu's Hot Pot

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2972 Gallows Rd
Fairfax, VA 22031
Founded by the chef of Hong Kong Palace and Mala Tang, Uncle Liu's features a menu of Sichuan cuisine as well as hot pot. Opt for mild or hot broths, or go for a split pot with both flavors. Customize a dipping sauce of red tofu sauce, peanut sauce, sesame paste, sesame oil, scallion, cilantro, and more.

7. 곰샤샤부 (Gom shabu shabu)

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Gom Shabu Shabu combines both Korean and Japanese elements with add-ins like ramen, hot dog, and rice cakes. Select from set menus or go for the all-you-can-eat option. Opt for a custom dipping sauce with options like soy, peanut sauce, sesame oil and chili or ask the staff to create one.

8. California Shabu Shabu

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3081 Nutley St SW
Fairfax, VA 22031
This West Coast chain just opened this summer in Fairfax. Choose from a variety of meats and vegetables, and find cocktails and sake here as well.

9. Riverside Hot Pot

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820 Muddy Branch Rd
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
(301) 330-8886
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Hot pot can be hard to find in Montgomery County, so this restaurant can draw big crowds at busier times. Find hot pots spiked with meats and prawns. Find individual hot pots here, too.

10. The Little Dipper

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3000 Annandale Rd Ste 102
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 237-1888
Another new addition this year, this Falls Church hot pot restaurant has several flavors of broth, from miso to curry.

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1. Hot Spot

3232 Old Pickett Rd, Fairfax, VA 22031
The all-you-can-eat Hot Spot adds a touch of Korean flavor to hot pot with kimchi broth. There are four other broth options, including shabu shabu, herbal, spicy, and veggie. Drop in beef tongue, chicken, pork, trip, crawfish, octopus, and a selection of noodles and vegetables.
3232 Old Pickett Rd
Fairfax, VA 22031

2. Mala Tang

3434 Washington Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201
Mala Tang, opened by the chef from Uncle Liu's and Hong Kong Palace in 2011, offers one of the most exhaustive experiences for hot pot as well as an accompanying menu of Sichuan dishes. Choose from traditional or vegetarian broth, in mild or mala spicy (Sichuan peppercorns and chili oil). For the summer, opt for Cajun broth for seafood specials that include crawfish, snow crab legs, surf clams, and mussels. Otherwise pick from proteins like pork, pork intestine, lamb, beef, ox tripe, scallops, squid, prawns, and lobster as well as a large variety of vegetables and tofu. Custom a dipping sauce at the sauce bar with Mongolian barbecue sauce, chili oil, cilantro, and other garnishes. Have ingredients leftover? The restaurant will cook the remainder to take home.
3434 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

3. Rice Paper

6775 Wilson Blvd, Falls Church, VA 22044
Head to Rice Paper to try lẩu, which is sometimes served as a pre-cooked soup. However, Rice Paper serves it hot pot style. Choose from six combinations of meat, seafood, and vegetables, and add additional vegetables or vermicelli to round out the choice as a shareable meal.
6775 Wilson Blvd
Falls Church, VA 22044

4. Tachibana Japanese Restaurant

6715 Lowell Ave, McLean, VA 22101
Tachibana keeps the shabu shabu simple on the proteins with only thinly sliced beef and vegetables for two. Cook it in a kombu broth, and use the ponzu dipping sauce for a touch of acidity.
6715 Lowell Ave
McLean, VA 22101

5. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

575 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20565
Offered for a group of four for a single seating per night, a seat at The Source's hot pot table is a hot commodity. The lucky diners will be treated to a rich broth made from chicken feet, pork ribs, beef and chicken bones, whole chicken, Sichuan peppercorns, chilies, chilies, and chili oil simmered for 20 hours. Into the pot go wagyu beef, pork belly, rockfish, wild mushrooms, noodles, and dumplings. Bump up the flavor with house-made chili paste, sesame paste, and Sichuan peppercorns.
575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20565

6. Uncle Liu's Hot Pot

2972 Gallows Rd, Fairfax, VA 22031
Founded by the chef of Hong Kong Palace and Mala Tang, Uncle Liu's features a menu of Sichuan cuisine as well as hot pot. Opt for mild or hot broths, or go for a split pot with both flavors. Customize a dipping sauce of red tofu sauce, peanut sauce, sesame paste, sesame oil, scallion, cilantro, and more.
2972 Gallows Rd
Fairfax, VA 22031

7. 곰샤샤부 (Gom shabu shabu)

Virginia
Gom Shabu Shabu combines both Korean and Japanese elements with add-ins like ramen, hot dog, and rice cakes. Select from set menus or go for the all-you-can-eat option. Opt for a custom dipping sauce with options like soy, peanut sauce, sesame oil and chili or ask the staff to create one.

8. California Shabu Shabu

3081 Nutley St SW, Fairfax, VA 22031
This West Coast chain just opened this summer in Fairfax. Choose from a variety of meats and vegetables, and find cocktails and sake here as well.
3081 Nutley St SW
Fairfax, VA 22031

9. Riverside Hot Pot

820 Muddy Branch Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Hot pot can be hard to find in Montgomery County, so this restaurant can draw big crowds at busier times. Find hot pots spiked with meats and prawns. Find individual hot pots here, too.
820 Muddy Branch Rd
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

10. The Little Dipper

3000 Annandale Rd Ste 102, Falls Church, VA 22042
Another new addition this year, this Falls Church hot pot restaurant has several flavors of broth, from miso to curry.
3000 Annandale Rd Ste 102
Falls Church, VA 22042

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