Some might say Jerry Li is an overachiever of sorts. By the time he’d reached his mid 20s, he was already a successful lawyer in Shanghai. Today, he’s the founding owner of the Dolar Shop Hot Pot franchise, which has received Best Restaurant accolades in China. Li is also an avid Iron Man competitor, to boot.
Since Dolar Shop Hot Pot’s first location opened in Shanghai in 2004, the company has grown to include 52 locations in China and three in the U.S., with one location soon to come in Australia. And lucky Richmond residents can experience its first Canadian location, which opened at Lansdowne Centre in 2017.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, hotpot dining involves ordering a choice of savoury broth and a selection of fresh and usually raw ingredients, which diners cook in the broth, then dip into their choice of sauce. This fun and interactive dining concept has long been popular in Asia and is quickly growing in popularity in the West.
Unlike regular hotpot, where a group shares one or maybe two large pots, Dolar Shop Hot Pot is known for offering individual pots, which ensure all diners eat exactly what they want.
One of the restaurant’s most popular menu items is the Individual Seafood Hotpot. Shrimp Pâté and fresh Wagyu Beef are also a hit, but the most important element in the hotpot experience is the soup base, which is made from scratch using ingredients of the highest quality.
The base is so important, in fact, that hotpot chef Jack Zhao, who has been with Dolar Shop Hot Pot for 10 years, was brought all the way from China to work at the Lansdowne Centre restaurant. He is one of the only people in the world entrusted with the secret recipes for the restaurant’s exclusive sauces and soup bases.
Lucy, the restaurant’s director, shares Mr. Li’s passion for introducing the traditional flavours of her homeland cuisine to people all over the world.
The Lansdowne location has been a draw for such Asian celebrities as Na Ying (the famous Chinese pop-singer) when she was in town to perform at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in April 2018, local VIPs and of course, hungry diners from all over the lower mainland.
Dolar Shop Hot Pot, 720-5300 No 3 Rd, Richmond, 604-370-7077.