Cooking meat, vegetables, and tofu skin in a vat of boiling broth is fun no matter the circumstances. But we’ve found that it’s especially enjoyable when experienced outside on a New York City sidewalk. Whether you’re interested in Chongqing-style spicy broth, all-you-can-eat (AYCE) Chengdu hot pot, or Japanese shabu shabu, check out these outdoor options in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and Staten Island.
Chong Qing Lao Zao in Flushing specializes in Chongqing-style hot pot made with rich beef tallow and Sichuan peppers, so we’d recommend trying at least one spicy broth. In terms of the setup, each covered outdoor table has its own hot pot burner built in, a QR code for ordering, and a brigade of plastic utensils. This restaurant offers dividers for your hot pot with nine individual chambers (like a hot tub with cubicles), which helps you keep track of what you added and when. There’s also a bar inside with a selection of peanut and sesame sauces, as well as a garlicky house sauce. You can make a reservation by calling 917-563-7171.
Most hot pot places offer around 6 or 7 broth varieties to choose from. Impressively, Hou Yi Hot Pot on the LES makes 30 (including nine vegetarian options). These range from pickled vegetable to kimchi with pork, and spicy butter beef. You get to pick two broths, since each communal pot is divided in half, and our approach is to go with something mild on one side and something from the “Hot & Spicy” section on the other. Just be aware that even the “medium” spicy broths would cause a mild commotion even at a hot sauce convention. An AYCE dinner at Hou Yi Hot Pot costs roughly $35 per person. Also, there’s unlimited ice cream, and a heated patio to enjoy it on.
Outdoor hot pot on a roof sounds like a dream we once had when we fell asleep on the C train. But it’s real, at least when you go to Xiang Hot Pot. This Flushing spot’s heated patio is located on top of the New World Mall, and their AYCE hot pot costs around $50 per person. It’s a bit more expensive than other options on this guide, but perhaps that’s what you get when you’re living a dream. Also, sodas and juices are included in the price and there’s a bar inside with unlimited starters like noodle dishes and dim sum. Try the broth called “spicy bear” - the Sichuan-pepper-filled broth comes with an edible bear sculpture made out of butter.
If you’re looking for AYCE hot pot outside in Sunset Park, LaoJie is one of two places to check out first (the other is Lan Ting, more on them later). This Chinese hot pot restaurant has set up individual heated tents that wall you off from other parties. They have six different broths to complement your tofu skin, fuzhou fish balls, and watercress, including bases like tomato, bone cylinder soup, dark chicken ginseng, and one with mala spices. Perhaps most importantly: everyone gets a free milk tea pudding for dessert with their $23 AYCE hot pot meal.
The Staten Island, Lower East Side, and Sunset Park locations of this Chinese hot pot chain are all currently open for outdoor dining. 99 Favor Taste offers individual hot pots in case you don’t want to share a big bowl of broth with someone. Keep their AYCE hot pot in mind for a celebratory group dinner for around $25 per person, especially because 99 Favor Taste has a policy of giving birthday diners a free meal with proof of ID. Birthday or not, expect six different broth choices and things like fish roe balls, enoki mushrooms, and fried dough to plunge into said broth.
This Japanese spot on 10th Street in the East Village has set up individual heated pods on their sidewalk - meaning your bottom half can stay warm as you stir thinly-sliced wagyu ribeye into a bubbling pot on your table and then dip it in ponzu. Each shabu shabu or sukiyaki meal comes with assorted vegetables, salad, rice, ice cream, and your choice of two proteins (all the proteins are priced individually, ranging from $29 to $65). There are only a couple of outdoor tables, so make a reservation here ahead of time.
Lan Ting in Sunset Park offers $21 AYCE hot pot with eight different base broths, like kimchi, pig bone, tomato, and herbs. Their hot pots come with dividers so it’s easy to keep track of cooking time, and you have the option to request two different broths. Unlike Lao Jie Hot Pot in the same neighborhood, there’s no dessert included on Lan Ting’s AYCE menu, but they do serve bubble tea and a bunch of other juices.
Like 99 Favor Taste, rely on Hometown Hot Pot & BBQ on Grand Street whenever you want to eat an unconscionable amount of hot, broth-dipped meat and seafood amongst NYC’s outdoor natural habitat. A meal here will cost roughly $30 per person, and there’s also the option to go for the hot pot and Korean BBQ combo for an extra $7. Hometown has a couple of Thai-influenced broths available like tom yum and curry (you can try a couple by getting the trio broth bowl), as well as special items like stuffed lotus root that’s included in the AYCE price.