Macao Doulao is a Dolar style hotpot restaurant. Like we’ve mentioned in the Dolar Shop review that authentic Dolar hotpot requires light soup base and high-grade food ingredients to focus the freshness of food. We came to Macao Doulao because we have heard their recent addition of “all you can eat”, and their 15% off regular menu. Macao Doulao is located in a long-standing hotpot restaurant location. There were at least 3 hotpot restaurants closed down in this location in the past 4 years. This restaurant is located on the upper floor of the Crystal Mall on Kingsway and Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby.
Strength: Very worth it if you are ordering lots of meat
Weakness: Mediocre broth base and meat quality can be improved
Other Personal Hotpot
- QianDao hotpot in Surrey (3.5 Stars)
- Beijing Hotpot (4 Stars)
- Dolar Shop Richmond Hot Pot (4 Stars)
- Gokudo Shabu Shabu (4 Stars)
Small storefront about 5′ wide
Macao Doulao is open even when the majority of the stores are closed. There is a sign in front to feature all you can eat option and 15% off for normal hotpot orders. This is quite pointless because the 2nd floor of Cyrstal Mall does not get a lot of traffic. Most people who come to this part of the all already know where they are going. The small storefront is so small that it can barely fit 2 people. This stingy looking storefront may be why so many hotpot restaurants failed to survive.
Bright Red Interior Space
After passing the small front door and the narrow corridor, the dining space opens up once we get inside. Macao Doulao uses too much red in their decoration. In the far end, I can see a room with decoration saying “Happy Birthday”. This is similar to Dolar Shop playing the happy birthday song, but I didn’t see anyone using the room during my visit. There is a triangular counter in the middle, that’s the condiment station.
Triangular condiment station $1.99
The shape of this condiment station is directly influenced by the oddly-shaped interior space. One of the 3 sides is the staff’s convenience area.
Sauces and toppings
The condiments here are not very extensive, but they’ve got the essentials down. There are about 15 items here for many combinations so I think the $1.99 price tag is worth it.
Spacious seating enough for 6
The long seating is typical in Macao Doulao. There were 3 of us and we got assigned a seat with 6 induction range. The booth’s seating and backing are made of different materials, but they didn’t really bother me.
Soon after we sat down, the waitresses came and set up our table really quickly. They gave us a pot of warm lemon water so we can help ourselves. These tablewares are the typical white porcelain ones. I like how they gave us chopstick/ladle stand so our utensil doesn’t have to touch the table.
Long chopsticks with one-time tip
These chopsticks are pretty much the same as the ones in QianDao hotpot in Surrey. Only the tip touches the food, so that’s the only part you need to replace.
The back of the chopsticks Macao Doulao’s Chinese name on it. This gives an accent to the black chopsticks, and also make their operation seem more legit.
Clay pot for cooking hotpot
The clay pot also has Macao Doulao’s name printed on the side. Our waitress brought these pots to us with the lid on, so they can get to boiling temperature quicker. I have to admit that having the lid on adds a mysterious feeling and a sense of ritual to eating these hotpots.
Spicy Special Soup
Our waitress brought me the spicy soup base and warned me it is hot if I wanted to drink it. Well, I still took a sip and they are not very spicy. To be fair, I probably shouldn’t have ordered the spicy soup base because the authentic Dolar type of hotpot only comes with seafood and satay soup base.
Veggies and Tofu
The veggies are relatively fresh and crispy, but generic. There’s nothing special about them. I enjoyed the frozen tofu that they are porous but retained the soft texture. The bean curd has a very tough texture. I put a curved one in my pot but 20 minutes later it was still curved.
Seafood and Spam
There are not much choice in terms of seafood for all you can eat option. These are just the basic squid tentacles and small octopus. They are pretty fresh, so that’s a plus.
Firepower of the induction range
There are 3 settings to the induction range and it defaults to max. Once the soup starts to boil, it’s a good indicator that the clay pot is also heated. The boiling continues until you put something in there but take a little longer for the soup to boil again. Staff come to refill the pot with broth quite frequently, but it takes about 5 minutes to boil again.
Generic dipping sauce for meat
On top of the condiment table access, our waitress brought us the generic Dolar dipping sauce. They told us the sauce is used to enhance the umami of the meat.
Lambs, lots of lambs
We ordered lots of meat. They are frozen and pre-rolled so they don’t stick to each other. The above picture shows 2 orders of meat. I think the quantity of each order is very reasonable. There are too many all you can eat places that give me only 1 piece of the expensive item or a large bowl of udon.
Prep staff with good slicing skill
I find the thickness of the meat a little thin. They are about 1mm thick. It actually gives customers the impression that they have had a lot of meat. However, these meat are only at about 1/2 or 1/3 of the thickness of the hotpot restaurants I have been to.
Black dots on the mat
There is some dried blood in my meat. I don’t think it’s harmful, but it just doesn’t exactly make me cheerful when I see them.
Beef layered uniformly
We also ordered lots of beef. They are also very thinly sliced. I find the beef having too many sinews in them that make it hard to chew. In that aspect, having them sliced as thin as they are actually assisted me in eating them. Regardless, this tells me the beef’s quality is not that great.
Two colors of beef
The beef looks somewhat curved before they start meting. What I find interesting is we would get beef of different colors between plates.
Pork is basically bacon
The pork has more fat. It’s basically skinless pork belly, also known as bacon. There are not much pork taste, but the texture of the meat is easier to chew. If you put too much pork in your pot, you’re going to find a layer of skin at the top of your soup after the pot cools down.
604 Food Critic Assessment
I think Macao Doulao has pretty good all you can eat option if you are only looking for normal, non-extravagant ingredients. The price tag of $28.88 is a little misleading because you also have to add the $4.99 soup and $1.99 condiment access fee. Our waitress provided a very good service to us. They are always patrolling and tend to our needs in a timely manner. The all you can eat option will cost $36 per person, minimum. This is very cheap considering the amount of meat we’ve had, but do know that the meat has lower quality. The broth base also can use a bit of boost in terms of flavour.
Menu – All you can eat
How to get in touch
- Phone: (604) 336-9188
- Address: #2228 – 4500 Kingsway, Burnaby
- Hours: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Friday to Sunday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm, Tuesday 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm