A new Chinese restaurant called Boiling Point, specializing in a group dining experience called hotpot, opened Friday in Amherst.
The hotpot experience is similar to brothy fondues, or Japanese shabu-shabu. Diners pick one or two simmering liquids, ranging from spicy to mild pork-bone broth, or a combination. Servers bring a big pot, sometimes divided into two chambers, to bubble on the inset tabletop burner.
Diners pick out morsels and cook them to order, wielding chopsticks or long-handled strainers. Unlike shabu-shabu, the broth is left behind at the end.
An assortment of vegetables comes with the basic order. But the real fun is in poring over the 60-item list of dunking candidates. There's meats like beef, pork and lamb, seafood, noodles, meatballs, and four kinds of tofu. The adventurous may pursue cuttlefish dumplings, or a vegetable denoted as "hairy cucumber."
There is also an "all you can eat" menu pegged at $29.95 per person. There are financial penalties for leftovers, so order with care.
It’s at 1280 Sweet Home Road, Suite 101, next door to 80 China Café, its sister restaurant. Owners are Kun Huang, an owner of 80 China Café, and Carol Dong. Phone: 568-0080.
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