A friend who grew up in China described the new Little Dipper Hot Pot House in Rockville Town Square as “a good introduction of hot pot for Americans”. As an American, I guess I’ll agree!
We’ve had the pleasure of dinner invitations by a couple of Chinese families to experience hot pot in their homes and always enjoy choosing and cooking our own meals in a large communal pot.
When you eat hot pot, broth is kept simmering on the table and various ingredients are added. Usually, ingredients include seafood, tofu, thinly sliced meats, leafy green vegetables, small eggs, and noodles.
At the Little Dipper Hot Pot, each diner has their own pot heated with a sterno underneath in a wooden box. A choice of meat, broth, and noodles is easily made from a simple 1-2-3 column menu. The other big decision is how spicy to make the broth, then the fun of slowly adding each ingredient begins. If your hot pot gets too physically hot, you can request for the flame to be extinguished or reignited.
Each hot pot dinner is around $15. A bonus at the restaurant, is that you don’t have to gather the large array of ingredients and can sit back and enjoy an extensive and varied meal.
The hostess and wait staff were friendly as were the other customers, who often chatted with those at surrounding tables. I guess the ancient, communal feeling of Chinese hot pot spreads throughout the restaurant.
The owners of Little Dipper have one other restaurant in Falls Church, VA, so this isn’t a national chain. The restaurant replaces Noodles & Co at the corner of Gibbs Street and East Middle Lane.