Qimin Organic Hot Pot 齊民有機中國火鍋
Address: 407 Shaanxi Bei Lu / 陕西北路407号
Tel: 6258 8777
Hours: [Lunch] 12pm-2pm, [Dinner] 6pm-12am
Price: [Weekday Lunch] 68~88 RMB/set, [Weekend Lunch] 148~198 RMB/set, [Dinner] 250 RMB/person
‘Tis cold in Shanghai! To combat the sudden drop in temperature, we went for a hot pot lunch at Qimin to get warmed up. The idea of hot pot naturally conjures images of steamy restaurants and messy table tops, with people hovering over one communal pot filled with meats and veggies and unidentifiable blahs swimming in a foamy, murky broth. Qimin is quite the opposite. The combination of fresh and organic ingredients, individual pots, elegant interior, and attentive service means that hot pot can be an upscale dining experience as well.
Clean and elegant interior
Huge windows ensure an abundance of sunlight
A la carte menu is available, but we went for the 68 RMB lunch set which gives you: two small appetizers, a broth of your choice, a basket of vegetables and/or meats, and a choice between rice and noodles. Two dipping sauces were included with the set. The Qimin house sauce is richer with a sesame flavor and is recommended for the meats, while the Empress sauce is lighter and recommended to be paired with vegetables. You can choose to add minced garlic, chopped spring onions, chili pepper, etc. to the sauces.
Fresh and organic
The fresh ingredients came out daintily arranged in wicker baskets. Here’s what you get from the 68 RMB lunch set: 6 slices of prime pork, some tofu, a piece of mochi, corn, three types of mushrooms, one meat ball, and lots of leaves.
Options: thick noodles, thin noodles, or organic steamed rice
There are two broths to choose from for the 68 RMB lunch set: the chicken broth and the organic vegetable & kumbu broth. Both are very light, perfect for bringing out the natural flavors of the ingredients without overpowering them.
The ingredients are of good quality and are flavorful in themselves, which means minimal dipping sauce is needed – the vegetables are naturally sweet and the meat actually tastes like meat. With an additional 20 RMB, you can have a vinegar drink along with the set (a la carte price is 45 RMB). I recommend sharing this among two people since the portion is quite large. I personally prefer the more concentrated vinegar drink from Vegetarian Lifestyle (棗子樹), but the one at Qimin is not a bad accompaniment to the meal either.
Fresh-made crab roe dumplings
Organic vegetables for sale
Dining at Qimin is a very pleasant experience. Instead of masking ingredients of dubious quality with heavy sauces, Qimin relies on the natural flavors of its fresh ingredients. The waitress was also very helpful in making recommendations and in reminding us which ingredients can be cooked for a long time while others can only tolerate a few seconds in the boiling broth. However, Qimin is not the place for those with a palate for heavy flavors. Go to 海底撈 (Hai Di Lao) or another typical hot pot place instead.