2972 Gallows Rd
Church, VA 22042
With the Chinese population as big as it is in the Washington, DC area, I thought there would be more hot pot places. Surprisingly, I never found one. (Perhaps I didn’t look hard enough?) I thought that may be a lucrative opportunity and in the back of my mind, alongside a zillion other ideas I have – but never do – I thought perhaps I should open up a huo guo establishment and be the next slumdog millionaire by being the only racket in town. Too late; Uncle Liu’s Hot Pot opened in March 2010. I learned the owners of from Sichuan province in China, which is good, because hot pot is from there.
I went there on a weeknight, and there was one other table besides ours that had people. It looked like the place is set up for a buffet as well. Perhaps lunch? I was only focused on the hot pot. I was in a situation that made it hard to gauge the place: some people were there already & ordered, I was meeting a bunch of people I never met, and then I was kind of “running the show” since I’ve done hot pot so many times, both in the US, China, at restaurants, and at home. When it finally came down to eating, I felt like it was the place to get your hot pot craving fixed, but if you’re looking for quality, go next door to the Chinese supermarket, Great Wall, and buy everything yourself to do at home. I really need to go back to give it a better review, but having hot pot enough times, I’m quick to give this place a B-. I would normally give this place a C, but I took it up 2 notches, since this is comfort food that just gives you good memories, puts a smile on your face, and brings friends & family together. I don’t recall the price, but I think people thought it was too pricey. Like a typical dude, I just threw in $40, which includes the bill, tip, and I-know-I-overpaid-but-someone-will-still-bitch-but-don’t-bitch-at-me charges. The food didn’t blow me away, but I wasn’t let down. The one thing I recalled that I liked were the small dumplings that I cooked in the pot. The skin wasn’t thick as they seem to be when out to eat, and the pork filling was quite flavorful. When having hot pot, the meat and veggies come second after the oil. The oil is very important. This wasn’t as flavorful or as spicy as I usually take it, but again, it was ordered by the time I arrived. Now that it’s January, hot pot sounds perfect right now. I should give it another try. And heck, here I am writing this a few months later realizing that the people I met that night are darn good people, and we’ve met and hung out several times since. Food is life!