The owner of QianDao hotpot reached out to us and asked if we would review their restaurant. We explained to him that we don’t accept compensation in order to keep our review objective and we may show up at any time. There are two QianDao hotpot in the greater Vancouver region and we went to their Central City location in Surrey.
Strength: Good soup base
Weakness: Shattered chicken bones
Other Individual Hotpot
- Beijing Hotpot (4 Stars)
- Nabebugyo Hot Pot Cuisine (5 Stars)
- Dolar Shop (4 Stars)
- Gokudo Shabu Shabu (4 Stars)
Side door exit
It took us about 45 minutes drive to get to Central City. If you are not familiar with the place, QianDao hotpot can be a little hard to locate. Just follow the T&T Supermarket sign, and you will find it. The side door located next to T&T Supermarket face the parkade, but they are for exit only. The cozy interior creates a large contrast with the cold concrete.
Good exposure to T&T customers
The main entrance of QianDao is located within T&T Supermarket. Even though QianDao is a little hard to find because the entrance is located under parking structure, customers of T&T Supermarket may have already seen it. This is a smart way to get exposure. I don’t think the rent would be cheap though.
Staff counter on the side
When you enter, you can see the staff counter to your left. There is also a cash register next to the counter.
Instruction and explanation at the table
This table protection sheet has 2 purposes. While making cleaning up easier for staff, it also explains a few things on how the food is made. It seems like the coconut chicken broth is their specialty, having its own pre-made sauce.
The tableware looks quite simple. There’s white porcelain bowl an dish with a large black plastic spoon for soup. The chopsticks has a hole in the front having the bamboo tip in a separate paper sleeve.
Screw-in bamboo tip installed
The bamboo tip from the paper sleeve is designed to be attached at the front of the chopsticks. This is a common strategy used in Asia restaurants to waste less bamboo while providing one time use utensil.
Unlike Beijing Hotpot where we have decorated pots in oriental style, QianDao chose stainless steel pot and burner for ease of cleaning. Once the pot
The stainless butane burner has good firepower and there is a easy to control knob on the side. It seems to me that the heat is lower than the alcohol burner at Beijing Hotpot. The meat took about 20 seconds to be cooked, during which time I was staring at the pot. Half way through our meal, one of the staff came to turn the heat down. My broth came to a simmer boil and each sliced meat took 45 seconds to cook.
Condiment Station access for $1.98
The condiment station cost about $2. It has about 12 items, but they’ve got the majority of sauce most people use. It’s not as expensive as the extensive condiment station at Dolar Shop.
Coconut Chicken Broth $15.98
The coconut chicken broth has a high price point of $16 compared to the norm of $4 to $8 for individual hotpot. Do note that this broth comes with 2 free-range chicken drumsticks. That’s probably where the cost comes from. You can see some of the coconut meat strips floating. They have a very tender texture. The soup has a light coconut fragrance with a bit of sweetness. When staff come to add water to the pot, they use the same coconut water mix.
Pork tripe & Chicken Broth $12.98
The pork tripe broth is a lot cheaper than the coconut one. You can see lotus seed and goji barries in the soup. The lotus seed has a stale texture with the interior bitter part in-tact. I like the soup’s flavour. There is a strong pepper taste to it.
Special sauce for the coconut chicken
The $2 condiment station access may not be worth it for you if you order the coconut chicken broth and received this dipping sauce. What makes this dipping sauce special is the sand ginger and small lime inside. This sauce goes really well with the light coconut flavoured chicken. The sand ginger gives this sauce a unique taste that you cannot reproduce otherwise.
Chicken drumsticks for broth
These chicken drumsticks are chopped for faster cooking and releasing of bone marrow into the soup.
Chicken meat has good texture
Since the chicken was already cooked when we opened the lid, that’s the first thing we ate. These chicken has a firm texture that is not too harsh on the teeth. They are quite thick so make sure you don’t get burnt eating them.
The chicken bones are fractured
Perhaps this is the downside of using free-range chicken, or it could be the result of a dull chopping knife. The chicken bones are fractured and scattered in the soup. There are instances where I picked up a piece of lamb and found some small sharp chicken bones inside.
Fresh Tofu Skin
These tofu skins are very thin. They are almost transparent but has a crunchy texture. They can endure long period of cook time, and looks kind of like noodles in the broth. Due to the amount of surface area, they soak up a lot of sauce, so make sure you just lightly dip them.
Boneless beef plate
This is the same comment I said from Beijing Hotpot. There is no reason for the name to include “boneless” for hotpot meat dish. The $9.98 get you about 12 pieces of beef. The menu does not specify how many ounce this is. Even though this is the cheapest beef on the menu, they have decent thickness and acceptable marble. On a side note, if you get the combo, the 5oz met get you 4 pieces of this meat.
The lambs are served rolled and frozen. There are some dark spots on the meat. I believe they are shoulder meat. These lamb have good thickness that give your bite a satisfying feeling.
The Napa Cabbage
The Napa cabbage is served like a bouquet. There are two different colors of the leaf, yellow and light green. This dish comes with a lot of veggies.
Some black spots on the stem
I’m pretty sure these black specs are harmless and unable to be washed off. It’s just that I don’t feel comfortable seeing them.
Assorted Balls platter
This dish includes 3 varieties balls including taro, pork, and beef. The taro fish balls has beautiful marble of white and purple, and the purple area is the paste of real taro. I enjoyed the texture variation and the complementing taste. The beef ball has an interesting looking pattern with lots of small holes. As expected, the texture of the beef balls are quite tough. They are very chewy, but does not have a lot of taste.
604 Food Critic Assessment
QianDao hotpot is a nice hotpot establishment in Surrey T&T Supermarket. This restaurant offers natural and refreshing broth base for you to cook your raw food. The broth was very enjoyable before you move on to cooking. Once the cooking starts, this advantage diminishes as not much of the broth’s flavour gets carried to the food especially with the sauce from the condiment station. Service wise, the staff came to refill the broth at least 4 times but only came to refill the tea once at the end of our meal. This is likely to be a business decision to sell more drinks. The meat is pretty fresh but the assorted balls are expensive for what they are. Our visit cost us $40 per person with the majority of the cost coming from the broth. The combo can get you a cheaper meal. However, judging from the other customer’s order, they don’t not look like a good deal. Overall, QianDao has quality, but the cost is also pretty high.
How to get in touch
- Phone: (604) 496-0633
- Address: Unit1A #3000 – 10153 King George Blvd, Surrey
- Hours: 11:30 am – 9:30 pm