Restaurant: Hip Hot
Location: 500 N Atlantic Blvd #149, Monterey Park, CA 91754. (626) 782-7711
Date: July 23, 2015 & January 28, 2016
Cuisine: Szechuan Chinese
Rating: Updated awesomeness
I love my Szechuan. This pepper-fueled branch of Chinese is all about flavor — and it’s certainly hot right now (and all the time). Hence the name of the restaurant.
The Atlantic Blvd interior is updated and reasonably modern.
The tables have glass tops and cool dioramas inside! Each one is different.
Watermelon juice. Comes in it’s own “evil genius” watermelon!
Another cold Szechuan drink, the super yummy smoked plum juice.
Mung bean noodle with chilies. Love this dish as it has a tangy/hot quality to it.
Cold chicken noodles. These lovely noodles have chili oil and bits of chicken. Cold, a bit spicy, and very pleasant.
Dan Dan Mein. One of my favorite dishes. You mix it up.
This version was very tasty, with lots of pork, but it didn’t have the characteristic nutty/peanut paste richness that I really love, or much Szechuan peppercorn numbing.
Ma Po Tofu. One of my other favorite dishes. This version was excellent, with a nice numb factor, good texture, and lots of chili oil.
Sliced fish boiled with chilies. Another Szechuan classic. The fish was a little thick, but there was plenty of spice to the broth.
Chongking boiled fish. Might even be the same dish on a different day. Seemed to have different vegetables in it though and less crushed pepper.
Cauliflower with pork belly hot pot. Rather yummy. Nice crunch to the vegetables and fatty pork goodness.
Spicy chicken. Fried chicken bits tossed with aromatic peppers. Nice salty spicy version of this dish.
Lamb chops. This was a stunner. Really, really good dish with tender lamb chops and delicious spice mixture on top.
Mutton stew with buns and potatoes. You were supposed to eat the mutton in the buns. The meat was super “gamey.” The lamb cops were better. The combo was interesting, but the little rib bones in the meat made eating it like a sandwich a bit of a challenge.
Crab with chilies. The crab itself was tasty but a bit hard to get into. I loved the mixture below of potatoes, peanuts, rice cakes and the like. When the potatoes had soaked up the chili oil and peppers. Yum!
Taro toast (on left) and rice cakes (right). The taro was mild but had a nice texture like a taro stuffed spring roll. The right was a bit chewy and inaccessible.
Hip Hot is good. The style and plating are updated a lot from the likes of Lucky Noodle King and a little bit above Spicy City. The ingredients were good. The menu isn’t as big as Spicy City, but what they did serve us was very good. I wish the Dan Dan was just a bit nuttier. It’s fairly similar to Chuan’s in being a bit more modern, but I think Chuan’s is a bit better.