Han Shi Fang
Han Shi Fang is proof that you can indeed have it all. This Scarborough restaurant is the first Toronto location of a large Chinese chain headquartered in Beijing - they have more than 300 locations in China. The main draw is their special grill/pot combo where you can have barbecue and hot pot at the same time.
While standard AYCE rules apply, you do get two options: a regular meal for $25.99 and a non-seafood meal for $19.95.
The grill/pot utensil is a culinary marvel. You cook your hot pot at the bottom - you have the option between one (+$6) and four flavours of broth (+$10), and you grill your meats at the top. It's so simple that it's pure genius.
Soup/base wise, I try the deliciously spicy Sichuan Ma La, the slightly sweet Tomato, the nutty Satay and the citrusy Tom Yum broths.
Ingredients include a perfectly marbled Angus beef that offers the ideal combination of meat and fat.
For the barbecue, I can't get enough of the enoki beef roll. The fattiness of the beef melts beautifully on the grill, infusing the mushrooms with a meaty flavour that can't be beat.
The spicy fish filet is also worth a try. I love that it tastes as good grilled as it does boiled in the soup. The seasoning on the fish is a perfect mix of salt and spice.
Han Shi Fang also offers a variety of traditional Chinese dishes to augment the hot pot experience.
The Never Forget Chicken ($9.99) is a delight for those who can appreciate cold meats. Cooled boiled chicken seasoned with Szechuan chili oil is what to eat if your tastebuds are craving spice.
The Beef Noodle Soup ($7.99), a traditional Taiwanese dish, is tender and well-seasoned. It's not too spicy, not too salty, just right.
Posted by Darren "DKLo" Susilo. When not writing for blogTO he can usually be found tweeting here or pressing words into this blog . Photos by Hector Vasquez.