Da Long Yi Hot Pot: A Meal for Everyone

For a fun group gathering, Da Long Yi Hot Pot makes the dinner experience more than just sharing a meal. Located in Lower Allston in an area some call the “Second Chinatown” near Boston University, this hot pot restaurant is easily accessible by bus, train, or car. Nearby on the same street are tons of exciting bubble tea cafes, dessert restaurants, sushi take-out stores, and much more for any hungry student looking for a snack post-hot pot meal (if you still have room in your stomach). The restaurant was clean, and the atmosphere facilitated great conversations with my friends in a quiet setting. There was plenty of space, with almost three separate rooms, a place for smaller groups, or a big dining room for parties over ten.

For people like me who are unsure about the art form of eating hot pot with many different types of dishes, I’m here to tell you the basics. Hot pot is like cooking an array of ingredients like a soup, but your friends are seated around a single pot at a table. Once the ingredients are cooked, you can transfer them to your own smaller bowl, dip them in sauces, or drink them like soup. Hot pot is typically associated with Chinese food, with the broth seasoned with various flavors from soy sauce to sesame oil to Sichuan peppercorns. Add thinly sliced meats, tofu, cabbage, shrimp, noodles, root vegetables, and more. The order of cooking is typically done in batches depending on the cooking time for each ingredient, but it is essential to remember to wait until the broth is boiling before eating. Hot pot is communal, so it is a great meal to share with friends and family, and it is cost-effective, too!

I have only experienced hot pot family style in the comforts of my own home, so I brought three friends along with me who were both eager to try a new hot pot restaurant and fill their rumbling stomachs. Immediately when my friends and I entered the restaurant, we were greeted by friendly and accommodating staff who provided recommendations on the menu and their signature dishes. I was glad they offered suggestions for the meal because there were so many different varieties of meats and meat cuts to choose from. As we were shown to our table in a quiet area, the staff also showed us an assortment of dipping sauces that we could pick and choose from on a table. My favorite side dish, pickled daikon, a root vegetable, was among the choices for side dishes, and I returned to the table for a second serving later in my meal. 

My friends and I settled on the two flavor pots, choosing spicy beef and mushroom as our two broth options. As someone who cannot handle spice, I found it nice that there were multiple options for spice levels on the menu and various meat and vegetarian soup bases. My other friends appreciated spice and beef more, which they eagerly ate with their meal instead. Our meat options included ribeye, pork belly, fish balls, meatballs, and shrimp paste. For our vegetables, we chose an assortment of cabbage, mushrooms, and corn. The restaurant was extremely flexible in our customizations, and there was something on the menu for all my friends. I love this type of meal, as we were able to add more ingredients to our soup base once we finished our first round of ingredient choices. My friends wanted a different style of tofu, pork belly, and another beef plate, which we quickly ordered and came out at a perfect time in our meal. My friend was also craving a smoothie, and the banana smoothie he chose tasted like it used fresh ingredients. 

Eating at Da Long Yi Hot Pot is an experience I’ll never forget. My friends and I had a fantastic time catching up over a warm and flavorful meal. For those experienced in the art of eating hot pot or are beginners like me, this place is welcoming to all with its pleasant atmosphere and easy-to-read yet diverse menu. I feel confident I could take any of my friends there again next time as their menu had gluten-free and vegetarian options, too. The servers were all kind and helpful and offered various traditional and unique dishes for the whole table. If anyone is unsure about their next meal with friends, I highly recommend treating yourself to some hot pot, exciting your taste buds while partaking in an active, engaging meal.

By Lecia Sun

Lecia is a student at Tufts University studying Classics and World Literature. When she is not reading, she can be found attempting the New York Times Games, trying out a new creative hobby, and dreaming about her next great bake. 

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