Foodology Disclaimer: ChineseBites.com approached us to have dinner at Fatty Cow Hot Pot. Although the meal was complimentary, the views and opinions expressed are entirely our own.
On July 19th, I headed back to Victoria Street along with Raymond, Sherman, Rick, Kevin, Janice and Romina to have dinner at Fatty Cow Hot Pot. Widely acknowledged as one of, if not THE best hot pot in the city, I was eager to compare Fatty Cow to some of the better Chinese hot pot experiences I have had around Vancouver and abroad.
From the outside, Fatty Cow looks like your typical humble Chinese restaurant, however, the interior is a much different story. Boasting a smart, modern aesthetic with Asian elemental flair, I was very surprised at how clean and attractive the entire area was. I am quite used to enjoying hot pot in some pretty run down dives so this beautiful seating area was a pleasant surprise.
Anyone that is familiar with how hot pot works knows that the most important aspect of the experience is the broth. Singularly used to cook the various ingredients, the foundation or base flavor set of the entire meal is dictated by the broth used. For this particular outing, we had two pots going with a home-style peanut satay broth and a Fatty Cow ‘Hot and Spicy’ broth. Both broths were quite strong but personally I loved the spicy variation better. Seemingly anything we put into the spicy pot came out tasting delicious from thin strips of meat to seafood and veggies. Those with delicate palettes or aversion to spicy food may find the spicy broth a bit too much but I thought it was just perfect.
One of my favorite dishes of the night was a plate piled high with deep fried fish skin. A very simple dish but delicious nevertheless. The skin was perfectly crispy and flavorful, almost like the prawn crackers served with Peking duck.
Throughout the evening, it was very apparent that all the ingredients were extremely fresh. In addition to the marvelous seafood, I also really enjoyed the plentiful plates of thinly sliced meat. When added to the spicy broth, the meat became infused with flavor and when cooked properly, came out extremely tender. I cannot recall how many plates of meat we ended up polishing off but it was definitely very delicious. Note: Be sure not to cook the meat for too long however, as they are quite thin and do not require that long in the boiling broth.
A rare miss of the evening came in the form of the diced cubes of beef. Unlike the thin strips that cooked quickly and were eaten even quicker, these cubes were extremely chewy and difficult to get through. I definitely recommend sticking with the plates of sliced beef over these cubes as diners may find the thick form factor a bit difficult to manage.
You can never have hot pot without some form of fish balls! All three varieties of this fan favorite were exceedingly fresh and tender. The fish balls were well formed and constructed with zero filler content which lead to exceptional taste and flavor infusion.
Although the guys at the table had ‘conveniently’ forgotten to order any vegetables, one of the ladies with us ordered this basket of beautifully fresh veggies. Just like everything else, the vegetables were very fresh and definitely were a nice respite from the heavy seafood/meat experience we were engaged in for about 1.5hrs.
Two of the dishes we were served were special order and not part of the regular hot pot price. First, a Fatty Cow Giant Scallop served on a half shell! This scallop was simply massive and many of us at the table were gawking at the size of each serving. Although it cost extra, it definitely was worth it in my opinion as the scallop meat was delicious and the sheer size was amazing. I will definitely order this again on a return visit.
The second special dish we were given was lobster! Now, lobster can be quite expensive which is why it is understandable that this is not part of the normal hot pot package. The lobster was very fresh and sweet and really made for a luxurious hot pot. I sometimes order crab with hot pot but two entire lobsters is very uncommon. I think we were all very appreciative of the special offering at the tail end of the meal as it really capped the meal off nicely.
To wrap up with a few final thoughts, there are many hot pot restaurants in Vancouver but very few of them are actually any good. As iterated earlier, the keys to a good hot pot experience are 1) amazing broth and 2) fresh ingredients. It is clear after this dining experience that Fatty Cow has both in spades. I was personally very impressed with the aesthetic appeal and overall cleanliness of the interior as well as the very high quality of fresh seafood and other produce. After this experience, I have no reservations about stating that Fatty Cow may be the best hot pot establishment in the lower mainland. I will definitely be back soon with either family or friends, especially once Vancouver starts getting cold again.
Words of Wisdom:
- Go with the spicy broth, your taste buds will thank you
- The diced beef cubes were a bit tough, definitely go with the thinner slice sets
- Enjoy with larger parties, hot pot is a social event!
We Rate Fatty Cow Hot Pot Restaurant:
5108 Victoria Dr.
Vancouver, BC, Canada