V-Yan Hot Pot & BBQ: Mouthwatering Food Options
PARSIPPANY – If you were a Mongolian horseman 800-900 years ago, under the tutelage of cold and hungry Genghis Khan, you probably used your hardened iron and leather helmet as a vessel to simmer broth over an open fire, then you threw in a few pieces of meat, probably sheep or horse, to fortify yourself so that you were ready to attack your next village. The origins of the Hot Pot can be traced back to these roots and have since spread throughout China. In fact, if you walk down a street in some cities in China or across Asia, you might find Hot Pot restaurants as popular as our own hamburger fast food places.
In the summer of 2016, Parsippany became home to one such restaurant, offering Asian fusion cuisine with the opening of the V-YAN Hot Pot & BBQ, located in Arlington Plaza just off Route 46 Westbound. V-Yan translates to “a party” according to our server. Some may remember this place as the old Blockbuster store. Although the Hot Pot has its origins in China, the barbecue that this restaurant offers refers to the popular method of Korean cuisine of grilling meats, fish, chicken, pork, etc. at the table itself. I guess the origin history of Korean barbecue (gogi-gui) goes back to that of Hot Pot and is sure to be just as interesting, but it only really became popular in its current style, with a lot of western influences, since the 1980s. If you are not familiar with Korean barbecue, it is quite different from the slow, slow style of American barbecue you may be used to. Instead of large chunks of meat, like the brisket and ribs, which are slowly smoked, Korean barbecue centers around chunks of various meats and chicken that are skewered and grilled.
Since Hot Pot, sometimes referred to as Steamboat, is a social, community and interactive feast that is best enjoyed with friends and family, I invited a few foodie friends to join me on my first visit to this type of cuisine, and I was looking forward to this new dining experience. And, although fondue, steaming cuisine is traditionally enjoyed during the colder winter months, we chose to schedule our visit in the middle of a summer heatwave. Turns out that was okay, the restaurant was comfortably air conditioned and we had a great time.
When you arrive you come across an architecturally very appealing glass-fronted building standing out of the way on the Arlington Plaza, and upon entering you encounter a surprisingly spacious, modern, bright and upscale vibe. A cordial, Key Lin, who worked at the counter, was immediately welcoming and made sure our group was taken to our table immediately. The interior was impressive, carefully appointed with a black countertop, comfortably separated tables, soothing bright colors, clusters of lamps hanging from the ceiling, and soft acoustic music playing in the background. There are also separate dining sections along the sides of the dining room which seemed to be a bit more private and perfect for a more intimate gathering. The atmosphere was very cool, relaxed, comfortable and laid back.
The tables are equipped with individual heaters, which can be set from low to surprisingly high, so that each guest can boil their own Hot Pot broth (there are a variety of broths to choose from) as they wish, and in the center of the table is a grill for the group to cook the BBQ. After a very brief training session from our helpful, patient, friendly and caring waitress Jenny we did it like experts. MDR. As advertised, it was an extremely enjoyable social gathering, where everyone at the table participated in the preparation of the food we shared, which included a wide range of meats, fish and vegetables of our choice.
You can order the Hot Pot or the BBQ individually, or you can order a combination of the two, which I did on my visit. The combined dinner is $ 32.99 per person, but in my opinion it was worth it considering the variety and large amount of food you can order. Did I mention that you can order unlimited amount of food and it’s also a BYOB?
I made sure to bring Lucky Buddha beer, while my friend found a traditional Korean wine. Note that your table should match the option that everyone in your party chooses, but you can individually choose from a variety of soup bases. As usual, I went for the spicy and tangy. Since food is brought in for the whole table to be shared, this policy makes sense.
There are literally several pages of mouthwatering food options to choose from, some for your now boiling hot soup base and others for the barbecue. My group did not hesitate to choose a sufficient amount of beef, lamb, pork, pork belly, sliced chicken, shrimp, squid, squid, fish fillet, clam, sticks crabmeat, mussels, oysters, meatballs, lobster ball and Fuzhou Fish Balls, just to get started. And don’t forget the Udon and other assorted noodles to thicken up your personalized fondue broth. No, we had no hesitation in ordering, and rearranging and our attentive servers kept pulling it out as quickly as we ordered. It was a really fun and entertaining learning experience deciding how long to cook and prepare our chosen items. You will find that this culinary interaction is a big part of what really enhances this lively dining experience. Note: the cooking time is very quick both in the pot and on the grill, but you will find out very quickly.
I found it to be a great place to visit and certainly enjoyed the whole dining experience. I didn’t know about Hot Pot previously, but it only took a few minutes for me to get comfortable and feel at home, and the waiters are more than willing to guide you with any questions or cooking suggestions. . All of the assorted meats, fish, chickens and vegetables were fresh, flavorful and of high quality.
There is also a self-service sauce bar available at the back of the restaurant with a wide variety of sauces, marinades and herbs that you can mix and match to complement your meal as you wish. I found the chili sauce hot, with a few scallions, a great selection of dips. And, for the perfect end to this feast, don’t forget to serve yourself a fresh, creamy and delicious ice cream for dessert. It’s included in the price and there’s a huge selection of flavors to choose from, and you can have whatever you want. Personally, I liked the pistachio. That is if you can still eat at that time. One of my guests couldn’t.
If you haven’t tried this type of cuisine before, I recommend that you get together with a friend or two, a group, your family and give it a try. Don’t hesitate to try something new. I think you will suddenly become a fan and want to add this cuisine to your future releases. The food is tasty and delicious, it’s reasonably priced, and it’s a lot of fun cooking your dinner together. Perfect for a family reunion, the kids will love it. I don’t know what took me so long to get here!
As always, please continue to support all of our local businesses and restaurants. 고기 구이
Ample parking, BYOB, Dine-In, No delivery, Vegan options; Reservations for large groups
V-Yan Hot Pot & BBQ, 796 Route 46, Parsippany; Located at Arlington Plaza; (973) 299-8666. www.vhotpot.com