Chicago, IL

Lao Jiu Men: Chicago's Most Authentic Chongqing Hot Pot

Brandon Wang

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When traveling around Chicago, it may be difficult to find a truly authentic hot pot restaurant. In fact, there are not even that many hot pot restaurants around the city at all. Despite the scarcity, Lao Jiu Men is one of the spiciest and most authentic Chongqing hot pot restaurants.

Hot pot is a very common dish found in Chinese cuisine which entails a large hot pot front and center which food is added to during the meal and cooked right in front of the patrons. The ingredients added in hot pot can include various proteins such as beef or pork and a whole plethora of vegetables and starches. Chongqing hot pot is very well known to be an extremely spicy variety of the traditional Chinese hot pot meal. For those that are not very tolerant to heavy spices, Chongqing hot pot and Lao Jiu Men might not be the best option as the hot pot will definitely be on the more extreme side of the spice scale. The hot pot itself can be somewhat similar with other spicy versions of hot pot such as the popular mala(numb and spicy) hot pot.

Lao Jiu Men can be found around the Chinatown area in Chicago easily accessible right next to the Cermak Chinatown and Cermak McCormick Place Metra stops. The establishment is beautifully decorated with many detailed and extensive designs that are very similar to something one might find in Chongqing. The warm atmosphere of the restaurant is perfect for those chilly days where a nice satisfying hot pot meal is the only acceptable form of heating up.

As for the options found at Lao Jiu Men, there are a whole assortment of different broths to pick from and even more ingredients to include in your meal. The menu is somewhat intimidating to look at but there is also a very approachable all you can eat option for roughly twenty five dollars. The all you can eat option is definitely a great choice for first time visitors especially as it will offer the option to try out everything and is a great way to enjoy the overall hot pot experience. In addition to the main meal, the all you can eat option also includes a variety of different appetizer options to choose to start out your meal with. One note to keep in mind is that in many all you can eat hot pot restaurants the sauce bar is included with the meal package but at Lao Jiu Men there is an additional three dollar cost for utilizing the sauce bar. This is one drawback as having an assortment of dipping sauces is almost an essential for any hot pot meal. With that being said, their sauce bar is definitely packed full of quality sauces including the classic choices of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame paste, and many others.

As hot pot meals are commonly served to larger parties around enclosed spaces, the pandemic has cause many difficulties for hot pot restaurants trying to operate during the past year. Lao Jiu Men is no different but they have also been able to put into place many precautions in order to make the dining experience as safe as possible. They currently have a very limited capacity during all times of service and their sanitization and cleaning procedures have been kept up to date with the needs of any restaurant during this pandemic. As a final disclaimer, take as much precaution as possible when continuing to dine out during the pandemic and stay as safe as possible.

Lao Jiu Men Hot Pot can be found lcoated at 2026 S Clark St.

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