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Restaurant Review: HaiDiLao Hot Pot

Is HaiDiLao the king of hot pot restaurants?

Possibly.

Is HaiDiLao the king of restaurant hospitality and customer service in China?

Definitely.

As a foreigner, this place is a must-visit.  The popular chain recently won several Reader’s Choice Awards from The Beijinger, including: Best Service and Best Dining Entertainment.

How good is the service?  What sets HaiDiLao apart from all the other hot pot joints?

Valet greets you out front, opens your taxi door and escorts you through the revolving doors.  A hostess quickly takes note of the number of people in your party and escorts you to a waiting room, but not just any stereotypically drab waiting room.  You will immediately be served iced lemon tea and a small platter of dried snacks, think popcorn and nuts.  Women will be offered complimentary on-site manicures while men receive complimentary shoe shines.  They also have an in-house day care/playroom in case you need to drop the kids off for a bit.

After being led to the first available table, the hot pot experience is pretty standard.  Well, except for the polite and attentive servers that never make you have to even ask for a refill.

I like to order lamb and beef rolls as well as chicken, spinach, potatoes, and enoki mushrooms.  But the sky is the limit.  Go ahead and try the bullfrog.  I advise getting a half spicy half mushroom broth hot pot. Be sure to load up on the sesame sauce at the fairly awesome sauce bar to help cut the fiery spice of the hot pot.

A decent meal for two can be had for around 100 RMB, if not less.  Not too bad, especially considering the free manicure and shoe shine you received.

The place gets packed on a nightly basis, but don’t you worry, waiting is part of the fun. Certain branches around Beijing are even open 24 hours a day, allowing you can quell that nagging 3 a.m. hot pot craving.

Whoa.  I can’t believe I just got through an entire review of HaiDiLao and didn’t mention the “Kung Fu Noodles.”  If you are ever lucky enough to go to HaiDiLao, be sure to ask for the “noodle show.”  You won’t be sorry.  Check out the video below:

Click here to see a video of Kung Fu Noodles on our U China Travel YouTube Channel.

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