Review: Haidilao Hot Pot allows diners to not only enjoy a meal, but an experience


Photo credit: Emily Paschall

This is the table set up at Haidilao Hot Pot that my extended family and I had when we went for dinner. We ordered many items, including egg noodles, spinach, corn, fried bean curd rolls and chicken fried rice. I highly recommend this restaurant for a unique dining experience that exposes you to a part of Chinese culture.

By Emily Paschall, Senior Reporter

If you want to try cooking your own food inside of a restaurant, then Haidilao Hot Pot at the Westfield Century City Mall is the perfect place to go. Haidilao Hot Pot is an interactive and social dining experience that allows diners to prepare their own meal with provided ingredients.

Hot pot is a meal that involves a large pot of boiling broth in the middle of the table and raw vegetables, meat, noodles and sauces on the side. This dish holds significant history in Chinese culture and cuisine that dates back to the 1046 BC Zhou Dynasty. To welcome the winter season, emperors and empresses used to hold hot pot gatherings.

Haidilao Hot Pot is a restaurant chain founded in 1994 with locations around the world. It places importance on customer service and has a staff of more than 60,000 people.

My first time dining at Haidilao was with one of my friends in February 2022. When I stepped into the restaurant, I immediately noticed the smiles on the customers’ faces and felt a welcoming atmosphere. I also observed that it was super full; while I knew Haidilao was popular, I did not expect it to be so busy. But, we were still seated relatively quickly because we made a reservation.

I definitely recommend making a reservation at Haidilao — especially if you are eating there for dinner on a weekend — as it will make your experience a lot smoother.

The menu is divided into categories like vegetables, meat or drinks. If you prefer to not make your own food, there is a section for readymade dishes that you can order on the menu.

When you sit down at a booth, the waitress hands everyone an apron. There is a pot of soup in the center of every table that can be divided into either two or four quadrants. Options for the soup bases include tomato, mushroom, classic spicy, miso and many more. You place a few ingredients into the soup at a time until they are cooked to your liking.

Diners can create their own sauces to dip their food in, as there is a sauce bar inside the restaurant with suggestions and ingredients to choose from. I combine different ingredients to make new mixes every time.

A combination I really enjoyed was ponzu, sesame seeds and oil, green onions and soy, oyster and sesame sauces. This mix created a sauce with a nice texture and the right amount of salt. The flavor complemented all the food I dipped in it, especially with the rice. My friend enjoyed a more simple sauce, with only soy sauce and sesame oil.  

My friend and I ordered steamed rice, broccoli, egg noodles, corn, spinach and milk tea. The milk tea didn’t stand out. If you were to order a drink, I would recommend trying a sparkling drink — like the strawberry lychee — because my friend really enjoyed it.

We chose to split our pot into four quadrants: two with the mushroom soup base, one with the miso soup base and one with hot water. The miso soup base added a salty flavor to the ingredients, which I found went well with the slightly sweet sauce. My friend really enjoyed the mushroom soup base as a vegetarian option, and it also had great flavor. The hot water was not my favorite because it had the least flavor.

I found the broccoli and corn were best slightly overcooked. The white rice tasted great when mixed with sauce and ingredients cooked in the pot, so I highly recommend ordering steamed rice, adding sauce to it and eating it with every bite.

The busyness of the restaurant created a bit of a hectic atmosphere, which made the experience less enjoyable. The pricing of both the readymade dishes and ingredients is another aspect of Haidilao that could be improved; the majority of items are pretty expensive.

Lastly, the warm and delicious food along with the great service made up for any flaws. The service was excellent, and the waitress was friendly and often checked to see if we needed anything else. At the end of the meal, the waitress left each person a melon candy, which was a pleasant way to end the experience. Additionally, the location of this Haidilao is surrounded by other restaurants and shops around that you can look around in after you eat, which is great.

People can strengthen friendships and connect with family members through eating at Haidilao Hot Pot, as it is a fun way to enjoy dinner that requires a lot of interaction at the table. Overall, I highly recommend eating at Haidilao Hot Pot — as long as you have a reservation.

Haidilao Hot Pot
  • Price
  • Enjoyment
  • Food and drinks
  • Atmosphere
  • Service


Haidilao Hot Pot is a great restaurant if you are looking for a unique way to enjoy a warm meal while connecting with whomever you are dining with. Alongside the busy restaurant’s cozy atmosphere are amazing food and noteworthy service. While the drinks are average, the other aspects of Haidilao are wonderful.