Prior to arriving at Nine Spices Hotpot, the last time I’d eaten a hotpot meal was when I was 8. Once seated at my table, it became apparent hotpot had evolved quite a bit in the last few decades.
Our table featured an induction burner for each seating…and then I noticed the conveyor belt about eye level behind my head with a never-ending parade of food.
Our server was very patient and explained how their hotpot service worked.
We would each be given our choice of flavored broth in a pot. Once the pot had reached boiling on the table’s burner, we could grab ingredients that interested us from the conveyor belt.
Our food would cook in the pot, and then we could enjoy items plain or dip in a variety of sauces available at a sauce bar by the entrance.
I ordered the spicy broth and my friend ordered the original. I did get to try small samples of the others, and I thought they were all seasoned very well, but I’m definitely a spicy girl.
We started with thinly sliced beef, corn on the cob, and cellophane noodles. The meat cooked rather quickly, but the corn was a bit of trial and error.
It was the noodles that proved to be messy. Between trying to get them out of the pot with the chopsticks (which I’m not hugely proficient in) and just slurping them up, the top of my shirt took a few splatters. Note to self: wear a dark colored shirt next time.
The nice thing about hotpot is you can try whatever looks tasty from the conveyor.
Protein options include beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and seafood (I saw shrimp, squid, crab legs, fish fillets, fish balls, squid balls, mussels and clams pass by me several times).
They also have several dumplings. We tried the pork ones and those were frozen so we had to let them cook longer than the other items.
For the vegetarians, there is everything from bean sprouts to leafy greens to tofu but you have to ask them for the vegetarian broth base. Most of the broths are flavored with meat to form the stock base.
And I mentioned the sauces earlier…there were so many choices. My faves were the chili oil and garlic sauce together. My friend loved the creamy peanut sauce. Thankfully they label everything so if you have allergies, like me, you can easily avoid the sauces you can’t eat.
As things got too spicy for me, I ordered a smoothie, but their version of it isn’t what I was expecting. It was actually a shaved ice with toppings. More of a dessert than a beverage, I think. Tasty, but not the creamy drink I was expecting.
Overall, I have to say this was a very enjoyable meal. I loved being able to pick my own ingredients, and I appreciated that I could go extra spicy without alienating my dining companions who like it milder, since we had separate pots. It was fun learning how to hotpot, and I will definitely be back. I might not even need a fork to assist me and go full-on chopstick…and I’ll be wearing black. LOL
While you can grab a quick to-go meal, Nine Spices Hotpot is a place you go with friends or family and have a leisurely meal sampling this, that, and the other thing. I recommend giving it a try.
Nine Spices Hotpot is located at 5320 S. Kirkman Road, just north of Vineland Rd., near Universal Orlando.
Their Hotpot is all-you-care-to-eat, with a 2 hr limit. It is priced at $23.95 for adults, $13.95 for kids ages 8-10, and $8.95 for ages 3-7.
While they enourage you to sample as much as you want, they do ask that you don’t waste a lot of food. They may charge you extra for leaving too much uneaten food on the table. I think this is fair, as wasted food costs them money.
Also be careful of setting your phone or other electronics directly on the induction burners. Set them to the side, or not on the table at all.
For more information, follow Nine Spices Hotpot on Facebook.
Disclaimer: CSO was hosted for a meal for purposes of a review. As always, my opinions are honest, and my own.
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