We know winter won’t be here for another month, but it sure feels like winter already. The temperature dips to crazy digits, followed by icy gusts of wind. It’s kind of annoying that the sky darkens before 5PM, which makes the days appear way shorter than they are. How do you relieve those pre-winter blues?
Hot Pot. That’s how.
Grab a bunch of friends and head over to Baidu Shabu Shabu in Flushing for an enjoyable all-you-can-eat experience. It would help to pick up a big appetite along the way, because you’ll be eating for an hour—maybe two or three.
This Chinese eatery offers a good selection of meats, vegetables and other side dishes such as dumplings and Asian pancakes. A sauce station is available on the second floor for you to create and personalize your own sauces. Add chives to the sesame sauce, or two spoonfuls of minced garlic into the soy sauce — whatever floats your boat. The sauces just add more flavor to your meal.
First, select your soups—we’d recommend the herbal duck or chicken broth—and tick off as many ingredients as you want. Meat lovers will definitely enjoy the array of lamb, beef and pork slices. Feel free to try the wide variety vegetables and seafood.
It doesn’t take long until your table is littered with large platters of uncooked food. This is where the fun begins.
Dip the ingredients in the boiling broths (they'll simmer and cook in less than a minute) and coat them with some of the sauces from the sauce station. Eat at your own pace and enjoy the experience. Relish in the conversation with your friends, exchange embarrassing stories and laugh about the past. Add more ingredients into the metal pot. Admire the concoction of colors and textures bubbling in the pot. Talk some more and dip some more. It is rather fun extracting cooked slices of meat or vegetables from the pot and tasting the outcome because different sauces generate different flavors. Avoid drinking too much water until the end of your meal. You don’t want to be bloated from fluids.
Baidu’s interior is clean and enticing with a massive TV screen projecting from one of the walls. The pace picks up during dinner time and the door never stays shut for long. People continuously file in and out of the restaurant. If the wait is too long, you can hang out at the bar and chat up the friendly bartenders while snacking on a bowl of salted nuts. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to get a drink or two before dinner.
The hostesses move around quickly and communicate with each other via earpieces. If—and only if—you’re lucky, a table opens up on the second floor and you might get seated at a booth with a TV. We heard you can select your channels.
The food is delicious, and the options are almost endless. You can sit there all night if you want to, provided the hostesses don’t chase you away. The thought of ordering everything on the menu is tempting, but order what you can finish, because it's impolite to have too many leftovers. When your waistband starts digging painfully into your skin, that's a good indication to stop.