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Each week, KCUR's Adventure! newsletter brings you a new way to explore the Kansas City region.

Kansas City is a hot pot wonderland, if you know where to look. Here's a guide

A steel bowl of hot pot broth with trays of meats and vegetables and a glass of beer.
KPOT Korean BBQ & Hot Pot
With a large Asian population around the Kansas City metro, diners will find different kinds of hot pot in the area.

Hot pot is savory and spicy and perfect for winter weather, and Kansas City is lucky enough to offer a variety of ways to enjoy — especially around Overland Park. Check out these restaurants for a complete hot pot experience, or head to an Asian grocery to make it yourself at home.

This story was first published in KCUR's Adventure newsletter. You can sign up to receive stories like this in your inbox every Tuesday.

Kansas City has definitely entered its cold era. Temperatures have dropped, and so have the leaves. And it’s dark as night in the middle of the afternoon.

Luckily, there’s plenty of cures for the winter blues. This newsletter brought you around the metro for the most craveable and inspiring soup dishes, and KCUR’s Up To Date has even more recommendations for restaurants to get stews and spicy foods.

But for something warm, comforting and with an unforgettable heat, Kansas City is also a great place to find hot pot.

The different types of hot pot you'll find

With a large Asian population around the Kansas City metro, there are also a few different kinds of hot pot you’ll find here. Hot pot, more a social experience than a dining one, is perfect for large group gatherings and couples looking for a fun, down-to-the-earth date.

Traditional Chinese hot pot, also known as the “yuan yang pot,” uses a split container that often features one spicy broth and one savory broth. Chinese hot pot mainly uses meat, vegetables, tofu, vegan-friendly soy-products and other raw ingredients.

Japanese hot pot, known as Shabu-shabu, more often comes with only one broth flavor, although some businesses have also adapted the dual-broth model. Compared to Chinese hot pot, Shabu-shabu has a heavier focus on thinly-sliced meat and seafood. You can also add udon, dumplings, and other pre-made items to the broth.

Finally, Korean hot pots are pre-loaded stew in a clay pot. You may have heard of the famous Army Stew (budae jjigae), a spicy, cheesy stew in a clay pot, loaded with kimchi, spam, sausages, ramen noodles and much more.

Lotus Hot Pot & Grill

A two sided steel hot pot bowl with a red broth and a white broth.
Lotus Hot Pot & Grill
Lotus Hot Pot & Grill has an extensive menu with various types of meats, meatballs, vegetables, mushrooms, seafoods, tofu products, noodles, and dumplings.

Tucked in a strip mall in Gladstone off Oak Trafficway, Lotus Hot Pot & Grill mimics the Chinese canteen environment and carries all the hot pot essentials. They also have a few specialty broths you can’t find elsewhere, including a sour beef broth, Vietnam sour fish broth, and a pickled fish broth.

Once you’ve chosen your base, it’s time to explore their DIY dipping sauce bar to create your own magical combination! You can mix bases, like shacha paste, soy sauce and oil; spices such as pickled chilies and chili paste; and add-ons like diced green onion and sesame seeds.

Lotus has an extensive menu with various types of meats, meatballs, vegetables, mushrooms, seafoods, tofu products, noodles, and dumplings. They also have a small appetizer selection and a decent Korean BBQ menu.

The owner and a few servers are Chinese and are always down to sharing their tips and recommendations with the guests.

If you still have room after, there is an amazing boba shop right next door. If your lips are burning after the meal, stop in there for a delicious milk tea.

KPOT Korean BBQ & Hot Pot

Trays of rolled, thinly sliced meat to be added to hot pot.
KPOT Korean BBQ & Hot Pot
KPOT Korean BBQ & Hot Pot is perfect for romantic dinner or a night out with friends.

One reason we love coming to KPOT is because their hot pot comes in personal sizes, instead of the giant pots that must be shared by a whole party. This means a four-person group can try four different broth flavors (and that friend who can’t handle their spice can order the mild).

While their main focus is Korean BBQ, KPOT’s broth is top notch. The mushroom soup and the Korean seafood tofu are our favorites. They also have a Japanese miso broth that goes great with fish and tofu products.

Compared to other hot pot restaurants in town, KPOT offers a more elevated dining experience. Their menu carries quite a few premium items, such as Kobe beef, prime brisket, and mussels.

KPOT also has an impressive soju and craft cocktail list, which makes them perfect for a romantic dinner or an office ice-breaking party. They are also the only place in Kansas City that we’ve found to carry the iconic Korean soju tower (Somaek Tower), which is a must-have for bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Chosun Korean BBQ

A cast iron bowl of hot pot, next to a metal bowl of rice and a tray of various side dishes.
Chosun Korean BBQ
Hamul Jungol, a spicy hot pot with assorted seafood, vegetable, and tofu, is one of our favorite items at Chosun.

Chosun Korean BBQ has two locations in the Kansas City metro, one on Shawnee Mission Parkway and another off 125th and Metcalf Ave. Don’t let the name “Korean BBQ” fool you, because they have some of the best Korean hot pots in town.

If you are doing an online order, go to the “serving for two” tab to find them. You will also find a few hot pot variations under the soup category, which come in smaller portions.

Hamul Jungol, a spicy hot pot with assorted seafood, vegetable, and tofu, is one of our favorite items at Chosun. The portions are quite generous for the price ($39.99), and it is also the spiciest item on the menu for those in need of some heat.

Chosun also has a delicious Korean mussel stew pot called Honghaptang, although it’s only available for dinner. The spicy cod stew, called DaegooMaUnTang, is another must-try item, especially for first-time diners.

Choga Korean Restaurant

A large skillet with broth, scallions, and noodles, on a tabletop stove top.
Choga Korean Restaurant
Any item under the “Hot Pot for 2” category comes on a portable stovetop.

Although most people go to Choga Korean Restaurant for all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ, the restaurant also serves killer Korean hot pots, and each order is more than enough to feed two people. You’ll also find great dishes in their “Traditional Soup” category.

For the classic hot pots, we recommend the Gamjatang. The pork backbone soup used as the base is savory and extremely nutritious, and the spice level is nothing out of the ordinary if you prefer things milder.

The Haemool Jungol, Choga’s spicy seafood stew, is another great choice because it already comes with shrimp, octopus, clams, mussels, cod, squid and vegetables.

Any item under the “Hot Pot for 2” category comes on a portable stovetop. This adds great flexibility if one person in the party came for the all-you-can-eat BBQ but others want to go all-in on broth.

Jumbo Noodles Bar

A large bowl filled with pieces of seafood, vegetables and noodles.
Jumbo Noodles Bar
Jumbo Noodles Bar has delicious personal hot pots you can customize.

Another Overland Park restaurant, Jumbo Noodles Bar has delicious personal hot pots you can customize. It serves everything with a foundation-plus-add-on format – like how you pick your base, protein, and sauces for poke bowls.

If you like spicy food, we highly recommend the Thai tom yum pot and the Szechuan pot. If you prefer savory broths, try the classic beef pot or the seafood tofu pot, and the mushroom veggie pot is great for vegetarians.

You can also choose to use the $4 “plain pot” as your base and fully customize everything, with add-ons like pork belly, fish cakes and fish balls, enoki mushrooms, and, of course, noodles (they also serve several ramen options). That said, Jumbo Noodles Bar is also a great spot for anyone wanting to take a hot pot to go.

DIY hot pot at home

Shelves of different flavored sauces.
Oriental Market
Kansas City residents can find all of the elements to make hot pot at local Kansas City Asian markets.

While going out to hot pot and having everything prepared is a treat on its own, there’s something cozy about doing it yourself – and you don’t need to be a pro cook to make delicious hot pot!

There are four key components to making the best hot pot at home: a trustworthy table top stove, a proper pot, your desired broth mix, and the mix-ins.

Basically, you’ll just fill your pot with water or stock, add the sauces and whatever packets you’re using, and then start cooking your ingredients once the water boils. Simple as that!

Fortunately, Kansas City residents can find all of these elements at our many local Asian markets.

888 International Market in Overland Park is a one-stop shop, with everything from the authentic yuan-yang pot to various name-brand hot pot spice mixes. They even have a specific “hot pot meat” section in their frozen aisle, with thinly sliced beef, pork and more.

You will also find cuttlefish balls and other hot pot favorites throughout the store. And check the kitchenware aisle to find an electric hot pot setup.

Another great place to find hot pot ingredients is Pan Asia Market especially if you want to get creative with your broth. You can find more products from Laos, Burmese and the Philippines at Pan Asia than other Asian grocery stores in town, which means endless possibilities to experiment.

Finally, those looking to recreate authentic Korean hot pots at home should check out the Oriental Supermarket in Overland Park, as the store has the biggest Korean selection in the area, including the various sauces and spices plus ready-to-cook broth packets.

As you’re shopping, keep in mind the dipping sauce — an underrated element to a impeccable hot pot experience.

A proper hot sauce dipping sauce is created with three layers: a base oil, sauce and paste, and the spices. Here are some classic combinations we recommend:

  • Garlic soy: minced garlic + a sprinkle of salt + peanut oil + a dash of soy sauce + crushed peanuts. Works great with meat, tofu, and mushrooms.
  • Chili vinegar: cilantro + soy sauce + minced garlic or garlic paste + chili oil + dark vinegar. Use with seafood and vegetables, especially if you chose a non-spicy broth.
  • Rich sesame: sesame paste + fermented tofu paste + chives + sesame oil + crushed szechuan pepper + oyster sauce. Mix with a touch of broth from your pot – and some chili oil or paste if you want to make it spicy.
  • Shacha Dip: Shacha sauce + crushed peanuts + sesame oil + cilantro. Works the best with beef and lamb.
  • Thai Fish Sauce: lime juice or rice vinegar + fish sauce + salt & pepper + chives + cilantro + oyster sauce. A perfect combo with seafood.

Originally from China, Xiao daCunha covers arts and culture happenings in the Midwest, specifically focusing on the Kansas City metro and Chicagoland. She has written for KCUR, The Pitch, Sixty Inches from Center, and BRIDGE Chicago, and spent three years as Managing Editor at a Chicago digital publication, UrbanMatter. A practicing visual artist herself, Xiao combines her artistic talent with her writing to contribute to public art education and explores topics relevant to BIPOC artists, gender identity, and diasporic identity. You can reach her on Instagram and Twitter.
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