Soup is not something I used to think of as a meal on its own. It was an appetizer or snack at best because I was used to eating soups from a can or cups of clam chowder before the real meal arrives. It wasn’t until I had my first bowl of pho and then a bowl of ramen that I realized soup could be so much more! Not just filling, but a worthy meal unto itself. Hot Pot is like a soup eating experience rather than just a meal. The delicious broths are served in essentially a cauldron that is heated at the table until simmering or boiling. Ingredients such as meat, seafood, noodles, and vegetables are then added to the broth by the customers to cook. Often, the ingredients are then pulled from the broth when cooked and eaten after having taken on the flavors of the soup. There are various ways to approach the meal, such as having dipping sauces on the side or even scooping some of the broth over noodles or rice. No matter what, it’s all great so long as the establishment serving the hot pot does a good job. Luckily, LaMei provides a wonderful hot pot experience in the Providence, RI area.
Lamei Hot Pot
Providence, RI 02903
Service and Atmosphere
The interior of Lamei has a new look from the darker decor of the previous establishment. It sports comfortable seating, Chinese lantern chandeliers, and a somewhat cramped aisle for walking between tables when the place is full. The service is quick and efficient so that no time is wasted between arrival and delivering delicious hot pot to your taste buds.
Unlike some other hot pot restaurants I’ve been to, Lamei offers its patrons a condiment bar full of oils, dried herbs, spices, and dips. While the broths, meats, and vegetables were delicious, the condiment bar kind of made the experience for me because I was able to play with the flavors of the meal in more ways than I could count.
Condiment Bar – As I said, the condiment bar is really fun to mix a dip to accompany the meal. If your broth isn’t spicy enough or if you want a little something to add a little extra zip to every bite, the condiment bar has what you need. My personal favorite to mix up is light sesame oil, crushed garlic, dried scallions, and a little oyster sauce.
Beef, Pork, and Veggies – Lamei offers different items to dip into the boiling hot pot broths. They range from proteins like beef, pork, chicken, and seafood to vegetables like bok choy, corn, potatoes, and cabbage. There are also side dishes of steamed white rice or udon noodles available. The meats are perfectly shaved and mildly frozen to allow for easy handling and cooking. There are combination options that offer a variety for one price or each side can be individually purchased a la carte. No matter what you pick, it’s going to taste fantastic after taking a dip in the hot pot broth.
Hot Pot – Last, but certainly not least are the wide variety of hot pot broths customers can choose from. I always opt for two broths in one divided bowl. It offers variety to the meal and lets me taste more than one broth per meal. My personal favorites at Lamei are the spicy Chinese broth and the beef bone broth. The spicy is not for the faint of heart, but every bite is fiery Szechuan peppercorn goodness whereas the beef bone broth is much milder and basic to show off the flavors of the ingredients themselves.
I very much enjoyed Lamei as a solid spot to enjoy hot pot in the Providence area. The food is excellent and the broths tasty. The condiment bar offers customers the ability to customize their dips to their own tastes while trying something new each visit. Hot pot stands on its own, but it’s also a great alternative to the usual bowl of Pho or Ramen when you might want soup, but also an entertaining dining experience to share with friends or family.
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