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‘The Drunken Pot’ Opens Chic Reinvention Of Hong Kong’s Hot Pot Tradition

January 13, 2016 Dining No Comments Email Email

unnamed (20)Traditional hot pot is re-invented with a hip facelift for the beloved stalwart of Hong Kong dining culture at The Drunken Pot.

 The trend-setting concept has just opened at Tsim Sha Tsui’s hottest new dining destination 8 Observatory Road – bursting with energy and contemporary style against the backdrop of trendy ‘street art’ and chill-out music with spicy urban grooves.

 Along with the new-age ambience is a fresh new look for the time-honoured tradition, with artistic presentation of creative new broths and ingredient variations – and ‘sake bombs’ enlivening the social experience with an alcohol punch.

 “It’s a completely new hot pot experience,” says restaurateur founder Vivien Shek.  “Hot pot is an icon of Hong Kong food culture, but it has never evolved with the times.  The Drunken Pot is a reinvention of the social tradition, with creative and exotic hot pots in a fun and chic atmosphere.”

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A wealth of hot pot choices allow crowds to mix-and-match creative broth bases with a selection of  numerous specialty hot pots, from Drunken Chicken (HK$128) and Medicinal Chicken with Fish Maw (HK$198) to spicy Szechuan Mala (HK$98), exotic Clams & Chicken in Sake & Coconut (HK$198), the 4-in1 ‘Notorious Pot’ (HK$248 – left) and signature 5-in-one ‘Drunken Pot’ (HK$320 – right), illuminated gleefully by an edible “flaming papaya”.

 The name of The Drunken Pot underlines this philosophy, evoking a ‘melting pot’ communal ambience “where different people and ideas get together, often producing something new”. The ‘drunken’ reference also alludes to the inevitable influence of ‘sake bombs’ in hot pots, and signature house sake as the beverage of choice.

 A wealth of hot pot choices allow crowds to mix-and-match creative broth bases with a selection of  numerous specialty hot pots, from Drunken Chicken (HK$128) and Medicinal Chicken with Fish Maw (HK$198) to spicy Szechuan Mala (HK$98), exoticClams & Chicken in Sake & Coconut (HK$198), the 4-in1 ‘Notorious Pot’ (HK$248) and signature 5-in-one ‘Drunken Pot’(HK$320), illuminated gleefully by an edible “flaming papaya”.

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Quality ingredients are another key to the concept, from freshest seafood to premium beef and pork choices ranging from local hand-sliced cuts to imported Angus Beef.

 And modern-day health concerns are addressed with broths made from chicken rather than traditionally cholesterol-laden meat offcuts; while vegetarian broths are also available as an option.

 For traditionalists, familiar home-style favourites and popular recipes like satay broth are still available, but reinterpreted with richer and creamier textures, inspired by home-style recipes from Ms Shek’s hometown of Chaozhou in eastern Guangdong, which is renowned for its amazing food.

 Hot pot’s reinvention did not happen overnight.  “We tried and tested creative new recipes many times, with a long preparation process taking over a year,” noted Ms Shek.

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One alluring must-try result of the creative exercise is ‘Drunken Tofu Gelato’, which resembles ice-cream, but is made with fresh fish paste and tofu in various flavours, such as mala and taro.

 One alluring must-try result of the creative exercise is ‘Drunken Tofu Gelato’ (HK$58), which resembles ice-cream, but is made with fresh fish paste and tofu in various flavours, such as mala and taro.  

 Quality ingredients are another key to the concept, from freshest seafood to premium beef and pork choices ranging from local hand-sliced cuts to imported Angus Beef. Exotic ingredients are also introduced, with bi-coloured Xiao Long Baodumplings stuffed with an eclectic range of fillings including black truffle, crab roe, squid ink, lobster and medicinal recipes.

 With excellent supplier connections, jet-fresh sashimi and top quality seafood from Black Speckled Grouper, Alaskan King crab to lobster and Tiger prawns also inject a Japanese flavour into the traditional Hong Kong experience.

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Lunch-time crowds can also savour ‘lunchtime only’ pot set lunches – priced from just HK$58-HK$98; with signature recommendations such as Sichuan Style Sweet Potato Noodles, Seafood Medley Noodles in Lobster and Tomato broth, Kurobuta Pork with Swine Bone and Chinese Pulled Noodles; and Rice Porridge with Crab Meat.

 Lunch-time crowds can also savour ‘lunchtime only’ pot set lunches – priced from just HK$58 to HK$98; with signature recommendations such as Sichuan Style Sweet Potato Noodles, Seafood Medley Noodles in Lobster and Tomato broth,Kurobuta Pork with Swine Bone and Chinese Pulled Noodles; and Rice Porridge with Crab Meat.

 Adding to the cheer is the restaurant’s private label premium sake from Nagahama in Shiga, a vintage whisky collection, signature Asian-inspired ‘own label’ sake cocktails priced from just HK$58 and ice-cold beers.

 With dynamic street views from its terrace, the 6,200 sq. ft. venue also makes a striking design statement while paying homage to the hot pot tradition.  Hands Hospitality Ltd has created a ‘fishing market’ ambience with traditional carved wooden door, dangling lights, rustic walls, a bar designed like an old market vendor with aged wood, and colourful hand-painted signs and graffiti telling old fishing tales.

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The name of The Drunken Pot underlines this philosophy, evoking a ‘melting pot’ communal ambience “where different people and ideas get together, often producing something new”.

 Amid the timeless look is a gigantic ‘street art’ mural by Hong Kong urban contemporary artist Ben Pickering.

 Like the restaurant, the mural is a fusion of colour and patterns representing different elements from fish, broken boats, fruits of the sea and traditional Japanese porcelain,” he says.  “The idea represents both fresh and traditional, with a young Asian lady representing the vibrant, cosmopolitan scene in Hong Kong, with a traditional Japanese twist as ‘Goddess of the Sea’ sharing local produce.”

 Giant fish tanks showcase the live seafood, and chic style extends to table and decoration accessories, handpicked by Ms Shek from exotic locales in Asia such as Japan, Indonesia and China.

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Adding to the cheer is the restaurant’s private label premium sake from Nagahama in Shiga, a vintage whisky collection, signature Asian-inspired ‘own label’ sake cocktails priced from just HK$58 and ice-cold beers.

 “The fun and relaxing ambience is showcasing a great mix of Hong Kong’s favourite and new hot pot recipes, encouraging guests to return time and again,” adds Ms Shek.  “It’s a fresh new look for an iconic Hong Kong dining experience, and a fun, exciting way for international tourists to discover our food culture.”

 The Drunken Pot is located at Restaurant 1, 2/F, No.8 Observatory Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, which seats up to 150 for lunch or dinner, and 250 for cocktails, with six playful private rooms for up to 24.

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