meats & veggies at 99 Favor Taste

It’s Hot Pot Time at 99 Favor Taste! – NYC

Now that it’s definitely colder, it’s time for Chinese hot pot! Everyone has their favorite place, and mine is 99 Favor Taste. Why? It’s close to my apartment in the East Village, it’s All-You-Can-Eat, it’s pretty clean and the ingredients relatively fresh for the low price of $24.99/pp, and there usually isn’t too long of a wait. Quadruple win! Moreover, on the day of your birthday, you can eat for free! If you go 3 days prior or after your birthday, they require you to come with a minimum of 3 other people. (No sad solo bday dinners, people!) In the past, they also required you to bring a 9″ birthday cake as well, but that seems to have gone away. ?

raw beef at 99 Favor Taste
The ordering process at 99 Favor is pretty similar to other Chinese hot pot restaurants in New York. First, you pick your soup (original, pork bone, Chinese herbal, spicy, kimchi, or tomato). I always go for spicy as that has Sichuan peppercorns in it. If you don’t like spicy soups, Chinese herbal or pork bone is also good. You can also opt for more than one flavor, but this means you have to sit at a table with a larger burner with a shared hot pot as opposed to sitting at table with your personal hot pot. I like variety, but I like having my own hot pot more so I can control the cook time for all my ingredients.

After picking your soup base, you pick all the meat, seafood and veggies you want. It depends on my mood what I order, but in my regular rotation is beef, lamb, white fish, pork, enoki mushrooms, cabbage, tofu skin, corn and kabocha. It’s AYCE for 2 hours and you can keep ordering within the 2 hours, so don’t go too crazy at first. I’ve never had it happen to me, but on the menu it says any leftover food is charged $13.99/lb. ?

sauce & raw beef at 99 Favor Taste
After ordering your soup and hot pot ingredients, it’s time to saunter over to the sauce station and make your dipping sauce. My usual is shacha sauce with sesame paste and cilantro. 99 Favor Taste also has a spicy house sauce which is good too, so if you don’t want to bother, get that.

beef hotpot at 99 Favor Taste
Once the soup arrives and starts boiling, now it’s time to start cooking. Cooking time for everything is pretty fast as everything is cut thin or very small, so dunk in your ingredients using your judgement. Beef and lamb takes a few seconds only (less than 10), while pork a little longer, and root vegetables like kabocha take a few minutes.

beef hotpot at 99 Favor Taste
There is a slotted spoon provided as well if chopsticks are difficult for you or if you want to make sure nothing gets lost at the bottom of your pot. And if your soup level gets low, ask the waiter for more soup. It’s free!

seafood pancake at 99 Favor Taste
For apps, 99 Favor Taste has a Korean-style seafood pancake on the menu, which is decent but definitely not worth filling up on. It’s very thin with barely any seafood, and the dipping sauce is super sweet. However, it’s free and fried crisp, so one pancake to share at the table is a good idea.

99 Favor Taste also offers AYCE Korean BBQ, but I’ve heard it’s not very good, so I stick with hot pot. Dessert is included too, but it’s nothing great. There’s free ice cream to-go if you check-in on Yelp, and downstairs there will be 1 or 2 watery Chinese dessert soups. But again, it’s nothing great.

There are nicer hot pot restaurants in Brooklyn and Flushing with much more variety, but in my opinion, not so much better it’s worth the commute time. 99 Favor Taste fits the bill for me.

What’s your favorite hot pot restaurant? Let me know in the comments below!

99 Favor Taste (multiple locations, I visited the East Village restaurant)
37 St Marks Pl
New York, NY 10003 (map)

Visit Rating: 4/5 stars
Pro Tip: Don’t over order because it’s AYCE. You can keep ordering within the 2 hour time limit. And don’t forget the sauce! The house sauce is good if you like spice and don’t want to mix your own. Desserts are forgettable so no need to save room. And if you go for your free bday meal, bring an ID for verification.

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