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Hotpot Instinct in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

This review is the wrong way round.  It was meant to be that I do a review and then Jen riffs off it with a recipe later that week.  Unfortuantely she got a bit too excited and prematurely created a prawn and cheese raviolli before I actually reviewed the prawn and cheese meatballs from Hotpot Instinct which inspired it (her raviolli is here).  However, here it is. The review.

The "special" balls (pork and prawn)

Hotpot Instinct is just another high level hotpot place in Hong Kong.  By reference to London it is far beyond anything you can get (for example here), but out here… I can’t vouch that it is consumately better than any other hotpot place in Hong Kong because, let’s be frank, there are a lot and they are all pretty good.

However, what is really remarkable for me is that after 9:30pm it is 40% off everything apart from seafood and alcohol.  What this means is that you can go premium beef crazy.

Premium premium beef

The procedure and ritual is much as you observe at any hotpot place.  One nice touch is that you get given a big array of ingredients and you build your own dipping sauce at the beginning.  Also, there is quite a ridiculous array of hotpot broths to choose from.   Now that we have been a couple of times, we go with the mascohistic Szechuan or Sichuan broth and one other.  We have also tried at the pork and the watermelon gourd one to accompany and both are great.

The glory of a prawn and cheese meatball

Aside from that the other joy is that this place has a big menu.  Normally I am suspicious of big menus but here it means you can just go crazy and indulge yourself.  We had previously discovered the joys of prawn and cheese meatballs which are amazing and the picture above doesn’t quite capture their glory.  The prawn lightly cooked in the death spice of the Sichuan side of the hotpot and the cheese dripping hot and hiding inside.

Our poor drunken prawns still twitching

The premium premium beef is also always a guaranteed order.  For 40% off you just have to.  However, other highlights this time included radish, fish skin, fried tofu and the simple joy of Chinese vegetables in broth.

Our poor prawn about to sacrifice himself for the common good

Our final interesting order were some poor drunken prawns who came out speared on a stick and still twitching as they drank away in a pint glass of Chinese wine.  You feel a bit guilty the first time you drown them but thereafter you are a convert.

All in all I really like Hotpot Instinct and this is not just because you can go when it is 40% off.  The atmosphere is slightly raucous, you can get Asahi in a 1,000ml cans which they put in wine buckets by the side of your table.  There are only 8 tables and the service is snappy and polite.  I now just have to motivate myself to risk going to other places.

  • Price – somewhere between 150 to 350hkd a head depending on how crazy you go
  • G/F, 52 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay


  1. They do love their HotPot in HK. It’s a shame over here there are not that many places that sell a good one, or maybe I just haven”t found them.
    Those pork and prawn balls look really delish, and the marbling on that beef. You have a hard job now as you say to try another hotpot restaurant. Good Luck.

    • We went to Little Lam before leaving which is meant to be one of the best and it was… well… ok. Link here http://bit.ly/9o4kJV .

      Still from my non hotpot meals at Chilli Cool up in Kings X I have a suspicion that they could do a killer one. That really is an awesome restaurant!

  2. Good to see you going native with the drunken prawns!

    • I felt a touch guilty. Last time I tried live prawns was in Vietnam and they jumped off the grill and attacked me. Vicious sods.

  3. hk

    *sigh*… hong kong how i miss you. the pictures really are lovely… makes me really wish i was back there.

  4. I wonder how many 40% discounted hot pots you would have to eat to offset the cost of an airfare from London to HK… Just wondering because, y’know, that looks damn good.

    I feel a bit bad for the poor prawn, but not too bad it has to be said. And i bet the poor buggers and tasty.

    Out of interest, where was the beef from? Do the Chinese do marbled beef like that? Or is it Japanese (or Aussie even)?

    • Well the problem is it is generally pretty cheap. Flights seem to work out before 300 to 400 quid which isn’t that cheap… When you get here though… I haven’t had a good meal which cost more than £20 though I have had plenty of bad (Western) meals which cost plenty more.

      Beef wasn’t from Japan. I think it was Australian though can’t be a hundred per cent sure. The pork was from Japan though.

  5. i’ll be meeting some friends at hotpot instinct tonight! my first time here let’s hope it won’t be a disappointment like the last time i went to little lamb :p

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