I come from a land where “Hot Pot” is a concept unheard of. The sheer idea of bringing raw meats & shellfish to the table is unthinkable and probably unwelcome. In other words, when you have no experience about it, there is no reason for you to be excited about it. For Mr FoodKissed & myself, Hot Pot was an adventure we embarked on in Singapore for the first time. Hai Di Lao showed us how the game is played. Back in Dubai, we explored few options and I must say, the game has only continued to be exhilarating. Our visit to Hikina, at Lapita Hotel Dubai, was one such exploration that proved the addictive nature of the Hot Pot concept, in the company of some very authentic Pan-Asian dishes.
Lapita is simply put, the Polynesian paradise of Dubai. The moment our car pulled up into the resort entrance, I felt like I was on vacation. And that is saying something, considering the fact that we were tugging along two sleepy, whiny, tantrum-personified kids with us! Hikina was not too crowded, just enough to give a relaxed vibe, with Asian servers, an appealing aroma in the air and welcoming steam bellowing out from the soup containers in the open kitchen.
We requested a hotpot table, in that the table had an induction plate in the middle. From the menu, we ordered the Chicken gyoza, Mix dimsum basket and the Pulled short rib tacos to begin with. The Gyoza came with a soy ginger dipping sauce, and the dim sum basket with a flavorsome black vinegar Sichuan. With prawn, chicken, crabmeat bun & vegetarian to choose from, the basket was worth the Aed 65 it was charged. The show stopper however, was the taco platter with a refreshing celeriac slaw and a mouthwatering combination of caramelized onions, pulled meat and hoisin sauce. Little Miss Mehreen got busy with the Woody’s Beef Burger and the crayons she got from Jiawei, the wonderfully helpful server assigned to our table.
The Hotpot, aka, Shabu Shabu appeared with a fresh chicken broth that was poured into the vessel atop the induction plate, followed by the seafood, meat & vegetable basket, with sesame, sriracha & home made chilli vinegar sauce. The Aed 75, the broth gets refilled unlimitedly and the baskets carry enough to get you stuffed with a happy grin. Dragonball chicken wings was everything I longed for in appearance and flavor, though I’d have preferred a little lesser use of corn flour to get more of the chicken’s taste.
Anything in black pepper sauce calls onto me in at a telepathic level, so I just HAD to try the Wok fried chicken. As it turned out, I was not mistaken, and it was one of the best decisions in my life (bloggers exaggerate for poetic effect, ahem.)
By now, we were slumped into our chair with droopy eyes and filled tummies. But desserts were mandatory in the FoodKissed experience, and so came along the Fried Brownie with banana icecream. A spoonful meant the crispiness of the pastry, the warm richness of the brownie, complemented by the sweetness of the banana ice cream. Divine, but to be eaten before the pastry gets cold & tough.
The Hikina experience is not just about the food. For us, it was Jiawei explaining the Chinese tea pots and the relaxed, all-accepting ambience of the restaurant, even as our Little FoodKissed kept whining. All that, together with the crunch of the black pepper and the merry spluttering of the shabu shabu ensured Hikina the trophy it deserved from the FoodKissed panel!