Hotpot as a cooking medium has always been a family affair – love ones gathered around a boiling cauldron of stock, cooking the ingredients, sharing our food and salivas. It wasn’t exactly business class experience. Not anymore.
The trend started in Shanghai with 洋房火锅, and now it has landed in Shenzhen. Gourmet hotpot places sprung up in upmarket locations in all major cities in China, upgrading the once affordable experience to a whole new level. Tonight, I did my first business dinner at a hotpot restaurant, at Hip Seng Seafood Hotpot 协成海鲜火锅.
The pedigree of Hip Seng is outstanding. Hip Seng started in Macau in 1989 and found its way into StarWorld resort as a luxurious Cantonese hotpot and seafood restaurant catering the high-rollers. As you walked into the very posh Shenzhen branch, you can see the live seafood tanks by the side of the hall. Every imaginable seafood for hotpot can be seen swimming in the tanks, therefore the freshness was guaranteed.
Instead of a communal sauce buffet, each table had their own little selection. While it wasn’t as comprehensive as Haidilao, it was adequate as we were having Hong Kong-style hotpot, where the stock used can be a meal by itself.
We opted for the perennial favourite – chicken with Huadiao in chicken stock.
The chicken was only placed into the boiling stock after ordering so that it would not be overcooked.
While we waited for the hotpot to boil over, the appetiser came. In this place, you can really go crazy with appetisers. They can prepare live sashimi of whole rock lobsters that came the same tanks we saw earlier, or whole geoduck at ¥268 per 100g. There’s a catch, the geoducks were at least 1.2kg each. Not going crazy here, we settled for a more sane French goose liver terrine in red wine sauce. They tasted like cubes of Laughing Cow cheese drowning in fruit sauce. Well, at the least the presentation was alright, dry ice and all.
We picked a medley of live seafood, meats and hotpot favourite. This being a business place, the cooking was not done communal. There’s a waitress assigned to each table, and she will help you with blanching and cooking and removing the shells off those prawns. Yes, you don’t have to do anything except eat.
And the piece de resistance was their selection of premium beef cuts the included different Australian wagyu cuts. They were sliced so thing 8 sec was all it took to cook them with the exception of the chunk cubes. It took a whole 2 min to cook through. I still think it was a waste to cook wagyu in hotpot like this as it just made the stock undrinkable.
With its gold embellishments and luxurious design touches such as velvet sofas, Hip Seng elevates the usual hot pot restaurant experience. And with the premium ingredients, it was a really good hotpot. However the etiquette of fellow diners needed to be upgraded.
The folks in the suites were making so much noise after their drinks, but nothing was done to stop the din even after we complained. I guessed they were spending much more than we did, and that’s how they measure their tolerance. So I would not bring my business associates here anymore. You are in better company at another Shenzhen hotpot place.
Hip Seng Seafood Hotpot 协成海鲜火锅
No.355 Fuhua Road 2/F, Huangting Mansion, Shenzhen China
Tel : +86 755 8235 8235
Date Visited : Dec 2020