What? I Cook Buffet for AYCE hot pot
Where? 7030 Warden Ave (Markham, same plaza as the T&T supermarket)
Price? $16.99 (for adult, Weekend +$1.99)
The skinny: I’ve never heard about this place before. But individual hot pots + seeing some awesome friends? I’m so up for that! I’ve gone on a handful of food adventures with two friends, Mike and Phoenix. But now one of them, Phoenix is leaving for Australia (for a year!! Lucky her :D) so she organized a goodbye dinner, at I Cook Buffet.
There were 7 of us (2 came later) in total and with differing tastes, it’s so clever that the restaurant offers individual hot pots so you can get both the soup base and food you want!
|My attempt at a panoramic shot of the restaurant. It filled up a little more over the course of our meal.|
|Different soup bases: (mine on the left) Satay, $0.99. (on the right) Chicken, free!|
There’s a pretty wide selection of foods you can cook. All you have to do is bring over your melamine plate, grab a pair of tongs and fill it up to your heart’s content!
Traditional to hot pot there are thinly sliced lamb, beef, and chicken and about a handful of balls (squid, pork, fish…).
But there is much more! Such as baby octopus, salmon, shiitake mushrooms, tripe. There are about 40+ items to choose from so there’s definitely something for everyone.
So that’s step two. (Step one – choose soup base). Now step three is to concoct your perfect dipping sauce. Also huge variety here.
|Lots of little extras to go into your sauce|
I was sort of overwhelmed so I went the traditional route with chopped green onions, soy sauce, and a raw egg. I think I also added a little bit of the “i-cook special sauce”.
Last station, or step four. Fountain drink. You can also get rice but I’m trying to cut down on carbs, although that proves to be a constant challenge. Anyways, Sprite’s my go-to pop. Too bad it was kinda warm, or rather room temperature. Not the refreshing blast that I was looking for.
|Remember you're dealing w raw meat so if your soup ain't boiling, don't cook in it!|
|Our mini hot pots, so cute! They're about 8-inches in diameter.|
|My first plate.|
Cooking your own food is always fun! Think about it, you pay to cook. What a great business plan HAHA It’s enjoyable and super easy so I won’t complain. You simply drop in whatever you want to cook and swish it around. When it’s finished cooking, you pick it out, give it a quick dunk into your dipping sauce and EAT.
And since it’s a buffet, you can eat as much as you want! :D WELCOME BACK FOOD BABY! It’s been too long (and by that I mean only 24 hours. Not attractive). I think I only got 2½ plates of food. The dessert selection is highly limited.
Only 3 items were available that night: strawberry/mango pudding (aka jell-o), tofu dessert, and a salty savoury rice cake dessert. I tried the first two. Mediocre, what I’d expect from any regular buffet. The rice cakes, I left that be just because I like my desserts sweet or at least contrastive to my meal rather then an extension of it.
|The tofu dessert. Smooth but lacks the freshness that should be hitting you every spoonful.|
|packed parking lot.|
By the end of the meal, everyone was pretty stuffed. We had hit the stages of hot pot itis and nostalgia. The total per person came up to about $23 which isn't bad but isn't cheap either.
Verdict: Best parts about this place are the individual hot pots and the freedom of getting whatever foods you want to eat. I might be willing to come back on a weekday because it’ll be cheaper, it’ll all depend on the company.
Check ‘em out! Chowhound
3 out of 5 NOMs