Hotopia is a Sichuan restaurant serving spicy dishes and huge portions of chilli pepper-filled soups.
The kind of restaurant that’s perfect for groups looking to beat the cold weather, this restaurant chain has multiple locations, including one by Yonge and Sheppard.
If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, steel your tastebuds or avoid this restaurant completely. It’s all about Sichuan cuisine here, so expect all the key ingredients of mala: a type of mouth-numbing spicy achieved with loads of chilli and fragrant Sichuan peppercorn.
The main features at Hotopia are its one-size signature soups, which are served in massive pans. You’ll need at least three people to make a dent in these, though ordering some side dishes is recommended.
The Sichuan pickle flavoured tilapia soup ($36) with glass noodles is a boiling vat of spices that, despite the slow-burn, is completely addictive.
A partially deep fried tilapia (be careful of the bones) and enoki mushrooms are submerged in oily, sorghum-based broth, where the intense heat is counteracted with a delicious pickled sauerkraut.
Slightly less spicy (but not by much) is the pickled chilli bullfrog soup ($28).
Real bullfrogs, which are super tender, are sourced from Vancouver and sit in Hotopia’s soup with green peppers.
The Marrying Four ($30) is a dish that combines pork ribs, beef sirloin, lamb cubes and shrimp all together.
It’s a delicious, sesame seed-sprinkled dry dish for tables of meat-lovers.
Kung pao tiger shrimp ($16) is a saucy and flavourful dish that eases up on the heat.
A side of Sichuan bean noodles ($8) is a huge portion of cold noods made from green beans and served in a chilli oil.
You’ll definitely need something to put out the fire in your mouth: litre carafes of juices are available.
So will an ice jelly dessert, which comes with brown sugar, seasoned slices of hawthorn, raisings, and peanuts.