Landmark Hot Pot House 春秋火鍋Posted: 09/01/2012
Hello again, everyone! I apologize for the lack of posts on my part as of late– with my new (surprisingly eventful) work summer, I just haven’t had the time to eat out, much less blog about it all! Plus, my poor old camera finally died (as did my memory card…), so I lost a ton of photos from places I went to earlier in the summer. But anyways, I’m back, and just in time for the end of summer and the start of the new school year too!
With the end of summer comes the looming end of weekend barbecues, Sunday afternoon picnics and hot and lazy days of nothingness. Despite all this, the changing of the seasons does bring about a welcome eating style: hot pot!
Recently, my dad asked if I wanted to go for late-night hot pot, and I was super ridonculously excited. I don’t know what it is about hot pot– maybe it’s that you get to bond with everyone that’s huddled around that boiling pot of soup, or maybe it’s just because SOUP and MEAT and VEGGIES and general deliciousness. Anywho. Since it was far too hot to hot pot at my apartment, we decided to go to a longtime favourite, Landmark Hot Pot House on Cambie and 24th.
Joining me that night were my mom, dad and god-grandmother. Now, if you need to know anything about my dad and god-grandmother, it’s that they get… noticed at some restaurants. As in, the staff, from the busboys to the managers, all seem to know who they are. So this post will be more about the food (which I’m hoping is fairly standard), since service was obviously a bit biased. I’ll still tell you about my experience, but I’m not too sure that mine was the typical one you’d get if you were Jane Doe.
We started the night with some tea (regular, plum or chrysanthemum) while we perused the menu for some good eats. Having consulted with the manager, we decided on the Pork Bone Soup Base, which was brought out in a large stone pot, as opposed to the usual metal pots you see at hot pot places. The soup base was chock-full of ingredients and flavour, including 2 large pork bones, goji berries, red dates, green onion and celery. Unlike some other hot pot soup bases, this one was meant for drinking too, so we each had about 2 bowls of the not-too heavy-on-the-MSG soup before the rest of our food came out. I wanted to have more, but after you cook food in it it gets all fatty, which defeats the purpose of drinking the healthy soup…
For meats, we ordered some Pork Slices (called pork trim on the menu) and the Fatty Beef. Despite being previously frozen (they freeze the meats so they can slice them super thin for easier cooking), these tasted fresh and not freezer-burny. There was plenty of marbling in the beef, which became buttery and tender after cooking. The pork had a nice texture– I still haven’t figured out the right word in English, but it was very “songg” in Chinese.
Besides the ordered meat, there was also the Pork Bone to be had. My mom and I shared one, while my dad and god-grandmother shared the other. As you can see, there was plenty of meat on this, which was quite fall-off-the-bone tender. It was all still quite flavourful, despite being left in the soup base for such a long time. The best part of this was the marrow, which I got to suck out with a little straw. That was a pretty fun experience!
For seafood, we decided on my favourite dish, Fish Tofu (yu fuu), and an Assortment of Balls. Their fish tofu is pretty unique– I remember reading somewhere that they special order it, which explains its hefty price tag (about $20 for a plate of about 15-20 puffs). The price is understandable, though, as these are the best I’ve ever had. These super light poufs are very delicate and airy, which contrasts the usual dense and at times tough fish tofu you can get at AYCE restaurants or at the supermarket. The balls were quite bouncy and fresh, and out of the beef, fish paste, shrimp and cuttlefish balls, the cuttlefish was my favourite.
In addition to the hot pot seafood, we also ordered an Oyster each. Now I don’t know if ALL the oysters in the tank were this huge-gantic, or if they purposely picked good ones out for us… but these were monstrous. Like, they were bigger than my hand. We had the oysters steamed with black bean and garlic sauce (they also offer it steamed with just garlic or Vietnamese-style), and they came out piping hot. They tasted quite fresh, and the restaurant prepared it well as it wasn’t gritty. I love steamed oysters (I won’t eat them raw, though *cue gasp*), and I’d definitely order these again. And this may sound weird, but one thing I especially liked is that these oysters were obviously just picked and shucked– too often, restaurants will give you an oyster in a mismatched half-shell (you can tell because the piece that connects the oyster to its shell isn’t there, or the oyster is way too large or small for the shell it came in)– which yucks me out to no end because you don’t know if they reuse the shells or not. Maybe I just assume the worst, though. In any case, I felt that Landmark did a good job with our oysters.
Of course, we had to have the requisite veggies with our meal– you know, to make it seem healthier. We ordered Watercress and Tong Ho (I don’t know the English name. Does it have an English name?), as well as taro and pumpkin slices, which aren’t pictured. The vegetables were fresh and vibrantly green, which is all I’m looking for, really. The taro and pumpkin slices were cut just right so that they’d cook a little faster than normal, and tasted fresh as well. (*Note: forgive the weird spacing, I don’t know why it’s doing this.)
To end off our rather large meal (considering we were eating after 9pm), the restaurant gave us a complimentary dessert, which I’m quite certain was special treatment. The Double Boiled Ginger Milk Custard came in a small bowl, and was incredibly hot (you know, from the boiling). This was my favourite dessert when I was little, and it always reminds me of my grandpa when I have it, because we’d always share one when we went out to eat. The dessert was appropriately spicy from the ginger, and wasn’t too sweet, which is just the way I like it.
All in all, I had a fantastic time at Landmark Hot Pot House. The service was impeccable, the staff were very friendly, and the food was fresh and delicious. Again, I don’t know for sure if my fantastic time was due to my dad being there, or if they’re like this with all their customers, but at the very least I’d say that their food should be at about the same quality. This restaurant is a little on the higher end of hot-potting, though– no All-You-Can-Eat order forms here– but I feel like you get what you pay for. In the end, our meal cost about $30/person, which I suppose isn’t that out of range for what you’d pay at a deluxe AYCE joint, but of course we had a lot less food. I will definitely continue to go to this restaurant, perhaps as a nice , once-in-a-while treat when it gets colder.
Landmark Hot Pot House 春秋火鍋
4023 Cambie Street