By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen
How would you like to get steamed up with your own hot pot instead of having to share with your group of friends? And not have to deal with flammable portable gas canister propelled stoves?
At Yi Ren Yi Guo (which means, one person, one pot) that is precisely what you get, your own induction stove which remains cool to the touch so there are no accidents and your own pot of broth.
And watch as they slowly slide in the most yummilicious bone broth in jelly form. That truly shows me how pure their bone broth is, full of collagen from Chicken cartilage without added gelatin and devoid of preservatives, additives or MSG. Called the Golden Collagen Chicken soup it can be ordered as a set or on its own for RM14. This is a must-have for anyone coming here. Chef Steven Wong tells me that he uses 7-8kg of chicken cartilage and bones which he boils for a minimum of eight hours till most of bones and cartilage have dissolved. Talk about being good for skin and bones!
And this is not the only broth available here to dunk in the goodies. They have a Collagen Herbal Soup where 10 different herbs specially handpicked by a TCM ‘Sinsei’, are added to their Golden Collagen soup for those who need more of a boost for their health.
Other broths are their Japanese Tonkatsu Pork Broth again boiled for 8 hours. RM11.90; their wild mushroom soup RM11.90; their Pork Rib Pepper Soup with hints of pepper and garlic. RM14; Tomato soup, mildly tart yet umami, perfect for kids RM14; Singapore Laksa with all the typical flavours enhanced with coconut milk or Santan RM14; Tom Yum soup with its inimitable hints of lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves RM12; and last but not least my favourite Mahlat broth, swimming with Sichuan peppercorns, dried chillies, chilli oil, chilli flakes, garlic, ginger, fermented spicy bean paste, fermented black bean paste, peanut and sesame make up this Gang of Fire. RM14. Masochists can ask them to make it spicier but for me, it was spicy enough.
And that is just for the soups. Now you will have to make decisions on what you want to cook in your broths.
Naturally, they had all the usual ingredients, the prawns (very fresh) scallops; a mixture of veggies, mushrooms; all manner of bean curd; chicken, lamb, pork, beef slices; fish, squid and fish balls etc. What won me over, in particular, were their meat pastes. Minced pork in three different tastes, Tung Choy or preserved Chinese cabbage; Ebiko; and dried cuttlefish. Dropped into your choice of broth they were all equally delicious. RM7.90 per portion.
Of course, what is critically important in any hotpot restaurant is their dipping sauces. Here at Yi Ren Yi Guo, sauces are aplenty and delectable. From a sweet Thai chilli sauce to preserved beans sauce with Chinchalok (fermented tiny shrimp); embracing the wonderful Nam Chim ( a Thai sauce of green chillies, fresh lime, garlic and slightly sweetened); ginger, red chilli and garlic; and of course the ubiquitous sambal belacan (my favourite)
All in all, if you’re in the mood for hotpot, Yi Ren Yi Guo is the place to go. Great value and great quality. I only hope that proprietor Sam Ong and Chef Steven will maintain the same quality.
Yi Ren Yi Guo6, Jalan Medan 9,Bandar Baru Medan,Tel: 05 549 1580, 016 314 7223Business Hours: 5.30 pm – 11 pm. Closed Mondays.