Yijiaren Hot Pot (一家人火锅)

  • Venue
  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Hot Pot
Chinese cuisine is set up for communal dining like no other. Between the large entrée sizes meant for sharing and ‘Lazy Susans’ that allow you to get to that plate of ganbiansijidou you’ve had your eye on almost without lifting a finger, dining in Beijing is a family affair. Which is why it comes as no surprise that hot-pot, a meal surrounding a communal cauldron of boiling broth in which diners cook individual morsels of meat and veg, is amongst the most popular style of restaurant in the capital. But with so many options, and regional variations from every corner of China, it can be hard to find your way.

Yijiaren, a new arrival on Beijing’s ever-expanding hot-pot circuit, is doing its part to bring things back to basics with a menu of traditional fixings, pepped up for urban tastes.

The design team has gone the extra mile to make sure it’s not just another hot-pot restaurant: the cleverly designed multi-level space evokes images of the winding alleys of Chengdu’s old city; small stucco huts with tiled roofs make up individual booths and a patchwork of bamboo shards forms a two-storey chandelier in the atrium. The effect is a décor that complements the heady cocktail of mingling spice wafting from nearby roiling pots. Recyclable bamboo-tips for your chopsticks make it easier to snag that last piece of spicy lamb and individual cans of chilli oil are opened table-side to put to bed any doubts that the oil, broth or anything else might be misused.

hot pot 2

The same attention has clearly been paid to the hot-pot-ables as well. Ribbons of lamb are rippled with ivory fat (23RMB), 'thousand-layered' beef tripe (28RMB) requires no more than eight dips in the boiling soup to render it tender and imbued with a spicy freshness. If you find offal simply awful – though we strongly recommend giving it another go at Yijiaren – standard plates of lamb and beef (from 23RMB) stand at the ready, alongside twice as many veggie platters (from 10RMB). Continuing the theme of doing things differently, at Yijiaren the dipping sauces – a real test of a hot-pot joint’s worth – are mixed by waiters table-side to your exact preferences and complement the rustic aesthetic of the menu.

hot pot 3

Once you’ve had your fill, tame the spice with giant, fried, sesame-encrusted gluttonous rice balls (6RMB) and cherry tomatoes sweetened with lychee syrup (26RMB) that make for a more than worthy end to an already worthy meal. While Yijiaren doesn’t exactly redefine hot-pot, it certainly offers an alternative to Beijing’s factory-style monstrosities and questionable back-alley dives. And we have no doubt it deserves a spot on your hot-pot rotation.
Venue name: Yijiaren Hot Pot (一家人火锅)
Opening hours: 10am-2am daily
English address: Building 3 Zhongguohongjie Gonti Dong Lu Chaoyang district
Chinese address: 朝阳区工体东路中国红街3号
  • 4 out of 5 stars