Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot

The only hotpot restaurant in Ottawa that I know of is the Little Sheep Hot Pot on Bank Street (a few blocks away from Billings Bridge). We’ve been there before and we’ve also bought their soup bases to make at home. It’s quite the change from the plain broth we normally use.

Little Sheep Hot Pot

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot is an all you can eat (AYCE) establishment. There’s a variety of seafood, veggies, tofu, noodles, beef and pork balls, and sliced meat to choose from. In front of the refrigerated shelves, there’s an island with fountain drink dispensers, steamed rice, desserts, fillers (onion rings, spring rolls, and two salads) and a sauce area (soy sauce, vinegar, sesame paste, cilantro, green onions, chili oil, satay sauce, minced garlic, spicy bean curd paste, sugar, and salt).

Everything can be a bit overwhelming, so here’s a little ‘how to eat hot pot’ (if you need it). So first you choose your soup base, then you bring your large plate and fill it up with whatever you want to eat from fridge. Use your small plate for some fillers if you want. Then go back with your bowl and make your own sauce. Andrew loves his concoction of sesame  paste, sesame oil, green onions, cilantro, sugar, soy sauce, and a bit of chili oil.

When you get back to your table, toss in the stuff that will take the longest to cook (beef balls, shrimps, fish, and mussels) They’re ready once they float in the soup, but I like to wait an extra few minutes – just in case. I would suggest against tossing everything in at the beginning, because some of the items take longer to cook (frozen shrimp) and others don’t take long to cook at all (sliced lamb). I like to swish some slices of beef in the soup until cooked medium-well (it takes about thirty seconds).

A good rule of thumb to follow: Only add what you want to eat and take out what you put in. The cooking times vary, so cook them to your liking.

Anyway, back to our dinner… we arrived at the restaurant around 6:15 pm to find the place full. We were quite lucky to be seated in under half an hour, because soon after we began eating, a line formed out the door. We ordered one large pot of their spicy soup to share between four of us. It arrived with our choice of two plates of sliced lamb.

Little Sheep Hot Pot

While I watched over the table Mom, Dad and Andrew went to fill some plates with some raw food from the open fridge area. Dad’s first plate was filled with seafood (scallops, fish, mussels, and shrimps) and a few veggies.

Little Sheep Hot Pot
Andrew’s first plate had some tofu puffs, tripe and mushrooms.

Little Sheep Hot Pot
Mom brought over a raw egg to crack into the soup, some bok choi and noodles. For some reason, Andrew threw in all of the tofu puffs that he brought – which were a lot. Just before the first round was about to be eaten, Mom fished out over half of the hot peppers so that we didn’t die right away.

Little Sheep Hot Pot

It didn’t work. Mom and I both made a mistake. We ate some tofu puffs first, which had soaked up all the hot chili oil. I squished the two bloated tofu puffs in my bowl. Chili oil filled my bowl. I thought I was safe, as I glanced at amount of chili oil in my bowl, but the chili oil which was hidden in the tofu coated the back of my throat and made me choke for a good five minutes. I had to drink half a cup of sweet chrysanthemum tea before my throat was clear. Mom had soy milk to cool the burn. Newbs!

Little Sheep Hot Pot
The soup kept boiling and we kept cooking and eating. The selection was more than enough, but I wish there were dumplings or wontons to cook - even if they were frozen. It's no biggie though, I still had my fill.

Little Sheep Hot Pot

Little Sheep Hot Pot
5Little Sheep Hot Pot
The plates of lamb were replenished. More plates of seafood, fungi and tofu was retrieved, cooked and eaten.

Little Sheep Hot Pot

By the end of the meal, the soup looked untouched. We all sat and stared at the pot quietly. We knew we were full. We were waiting for something sweet to end the meal. It took a while, but the staff eventually brought out fruits, cake, and other desserts to the island.

First, they brought one plate of both oranges and Fuji apples. A lady, in front of me, filled two small plates with most of the oranges. She didn’t leave much and I would’ve felt bad if I took the rest of the oranges, so I only took four slices. I don't get why they didn't bring more fruits, cause there wasn't nearly enough to go around. The restaurant was full and they only brought one plate of fruits? Fail. Soon after we began enjoying the cold, sweet fruits, one of the waiters brought out some strawberry sheet cake.

Little Sheep Hot Pot
The airy mousse and light cake was so light and tasty! The photo is quite terrible. Damn the low light...

A plate full of onion rings and another stacked with spring rolls came out from the kitchen. At the beginning of the meal, Dad had their spring rolls so I grabbed one to try. I don’t know why I took an onion ring.

Little Sheep Hot Pot

I was going to get more strawberry cake, when sweet sesame balls were brought out from the kitchen. They were filled with red bean paste. They weren’t very good. The sesame seeds were practically raw and would’ve tasted so much better if they were golden and lightly toasted from the oil.

Just before we paid the bill, I went back to grab one last round of strawberry cake for the table. Huhuhuu!

Little Sheep Hot Pot

The bill ended up being $20 per person, which is worth it if you eat lots of lamb and seafood. My parents have always told us not fill up on drinks or carbs, but it's hard not to when there are free drinks. It's a great idea by the company to offer free drinks, cause we noticed that most caucasians visited the watering hole more often than the asians. Silly people. The one downside of having Little Sheep Hot Pot is that your hair and clothes end up smelling like the spicy soup – which smells similar to B.O. It's due to the cumin the spicy and mild soup bases they use. You can choose a soup that doesn't have the cumin, but you can't get away with the smelliness. Yeah, so I don't recommend going for lunch and then going back to work afterwards.


Little Sheep Hot Pot
1344 Bank Street
Ottawa, ON
Mongolian Hot Pot on Urbanspoon


  1. Excellent pictures! I walk past this place every time I head to Billings for groceries.

    Smells so good...

    I went to a Mongolian Hot Pot place in Toronto: http://clara-jean.blogspot.com/2011/02/reading-week-post-6-mongolian-hot-pot.html

    A Scarborough Blog

  2. P.S. I know exactly what you mean about the smell!

  3. I've never been but my family goes there all the time. They always talk about how packed it is. I need to get there some day and check it out.


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