Food Nazis & Hot Pot @ Toyotomi 豐臣家

Toyotomi had opened for quite some time now -- I remember wanting to try it after reading Chowtime's post over a year ago.  I tried going back then, but it was absolutely packed and impossible to make a reservation without a few days notice.  The reason being that it was super cheap -- around $13 for AYCE hotpot (normally $19 at other places).  Somehow I had forgotten about this place until Doro found eatwithkirby's post.

The photos are bad quality, since I forgot my SD card at home. Ha. But the quality of the photos represent the meal quite well, I think.

When Doro called to make a reservation in the afternoon, no one picked up.  Surprisingly, they called back to check if she called.  That's pretty considerate.  But the other reason may have been because it was pretty quiet the whole night there.  It was very different from the Toyotomi a year ago. Wonder why.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
The menu is fairly simple and doesn't have a lot of traditional Hong Kong hot pot foods, such as fish and beef balls or tripe and all that.  Instead, they actually provide an option of doing just hot pot for $13.99, with optional items for $6.  I feel like they tried to make seem like your normal hot pot experience would be only $13.99, with sashimi at an optional $6.  No.  At the very bottom of the menu, you will see that the normal hot pot "snow" beef is not included in the $13.99, but rather, you have to add $6.  Fair enough, hot pot at any other place is $19 anyways, so basically you're getting the option of sashimi as well. Or so we thought.

There is a sign stating that for any food wasted, they will charge $1.  Posh has a similar rule for their beef and pork, but they donate the funds to the food bank.  I don't really know how they measure what's $1's worth here.  Also, Posh doesn't threaten to check inside the pot and under the tables in Chinglish.

We ordered some appetizers while waiting for Bo: chicken nuggets, deep fried fish balls, and... chili fries.  Unimpressed much? We totally did not expect the fries to be like this -- they were pretty much of the frozen variety with some shichimi powder.  Are you kidding me? If anybody likes this stuff, let me know and I'll open a night market stand next year. The chicken nuggets were kind of like cardboard and tasteless.  Fish balls were okay but oily.

From the $6 options, we ordered the "crispy wings" (according to the menu) which were not crispy and rather oily and boring.  The frozen pineapples were really frozen.  Kind of felt like we were chewing ice cubes except they weren't crunchy.

For sashimi, we had:
 - salmon (which was a little slimy but bearable)
 - spicy salmon (which I don't like. They said it was better than the normal one.)
 - ika - cuttlefish (slimy)
 - saba - mackerel (very fishy)
 - tai - red snapper (usually my fave, but quite fishy here and weird texture)
 - tako - octopus (alright, a bit tough)
I was thinking, fine, AYCE sushi is pretty horrible anyways and I never eat it.  Surely they can't mess up hot pot.

The beef sashimi was actually one of the better things, though we were expecting more of a tataki that was lightly grilled on the outside before cutting.  This seemed to be entirely rare instead, but still alright.

For the soup base, we ordered two ($8.36): the Japanese chili and beef bone soup.  I wasn't a fan of the chili, but Doro liked it.  I really liked the beef bone soup since it was really rich compared to the other soup bases at HK hot pot restaurants.  Although there was a bone inside, I kind of felt like most of the flavour came from MSG.

If you went with the $13.99 hot pot only option, you would've been able to choose only the fatty beef (on the bottom).  That's some serious fat, but it was not bad.  My arteries probably hated me for eating that, but not as much as when I had the pork (on top).  It kind of looked like bacon, but was much more horrible and not as delicious.  The only good meat was the "snowy beef" (right) which you had to add $6 for.  I was pretty satisfied with it.

There were also some other meats, such as sirloin (bottom) and "thousand layer" beef (top) for the $6 option.  They were both alright, but the snowy beef was the best.

We also ordered a lot of veggies, though there wasn't any tong ho (garland chrystanthemum).  Wintermelon and napa were pretty standard and good.  The konnyaku bundles (you know how I love them), were not that good and much thicker than normal -- I didn't like it at all.  One of the cabbages and watercress were kind of yellowing.  The taro (which was not pre-fried) was hard, and it felt like they gave us the rind parts.  The oyster mushrooms were also really brown.

This is where I have to vent a bit: we tried to leave the taro and cabbage since they were pretty horrible.  THEY WOULDN'T TAKE IT and pretty much threatened to charge us for them. You know how people return horrible dishes back to the kitchen? This was the first time the kitchen returned horrible food back to me.  Food nazis.

Still hungry, we ordered more food: salmon sashimi this time kind of felt like salmon belly instead.  Bo got his pig intestine, which he loves normally, but absolutely hated here.  I won't quote him since it was not very PG-friendly, how he described the pig intestine.

We also ordered ONE piece of beef sashimi.  Right.

Another picture of fat and disgusting-ness
Anyways, it was a really bad dining experience that was only made a bit better by funny/crazy friends who are as bitter as me.  We went to Bubble Queen after since we all died of having too much MSG, so that was happy.

Just don't go. Not going to summarize, either read the post or trust me.  I actually wrote this post the night after coming back so I remember what to vent about. (I scheduled this post after Christmas because I don't want to be a Grinch.)  Wow, I can't believe I was so angry.

Toyotomi 豐臣家
110 - 8111 Anderson Road
Richmond, BC
(778) 297-6186
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Haha I've heard bad reviews about this place ever since it opened. The thing with food bloggers though, is that we want to experience it ourselves and not just trust what other people say which is a good thing :)
I am curious about how your friend described the pig intestines though, you must tell me when we go to Phnom Penh lol.

I actually went yesterday (my first visit was in the summer (crazy i know!)) and I got to say the quality has gone WAYYYY down. They increased the prices and shifted some items around (i.e. the things that used to be included before the +6 are no longer included). Overall though, my experience wasn't as bad as yours, so maybe they improved a little bit since your visit?

On the positive note though, I was there with a group of five people and even though they have an 1hr45min dining limit we were there for well over 4 hours and we were really loud and they didn't kick us out, which was pretty nice of them I thought!! :)

@krispy: ok, remind me to tell you. hahaha. yeah, I dunno. Literally two days after going there, I saw my friend's fb and she posted some pics and said it was amazing there...

Good thing I read your blog post. I was planning to go to this place after also reading Kirby's post. But I'll pass for sure. Its good to vent once in a while. I'll be upset too if I was there with you guys.

@ceci: Thanks for the comment! Yeah I do remember someone saying that it was pretty good a year back or so -- and that guy worked at another hot pot restaurant too! So I expected that it would be at least alright. Sad to hear the quality has dropped so much, but it is hard to keep the costs low and maintain quality.

@Crispy: I'm glad I posted this just in time then! My fave hot pot places are still Clay Pot and So Hot So Pot! Perhaps give those ones a try if you are looking for some in Richmond!

HAHAHA I actually laughed when you called them FOOD NAZIS. LOL!!
Anyway, I read the post from the blogger you mentioned. Wow, the difference between both post is hilarious. 13 for AYCE sounds a bit too good to be true anyhow :p

Not all places will be good. Suck it up, princess! But, hey, at least you had the courage to post it - unlike some people who only write about "positive" places. Anyway, nothing is that bad that can't be worst! ;)

@fatpanda: Thanks for the comment! hahaha yeah, we were muttering it all night and I even snuck a picture of the food nazi manager. We were thinking of how it could be a meme and all the different captions we could put under it... fun stuff!

@Kim: I know of course not every place will be good. Not going to sugarcoat it.

Wow! What a difference from my experience! It's incredible how some people have amazing experiences there and some have horrible ones! Is it not consistent or what?! Meta Knight went there at least three times with his family and they all enjoyed it each time!

Maybe I should try it again with a smaller party to see if there is a difference from my previous visit :P

and yes, please do tell us at Phnom Penh what your friend said!

I think sometimes their food quality varies, its hard to tell when they get fresh fish. ): but I feel bad for your experience there, usually when I go, it's pretty good. But yes, they do threaten you if you don't finish your food. They are so demanding. LOL. Hope you have a better experience next time, if you are willing to go again :P

@Kirby: Yeah, darn. I hate it when restaurants are inconsistent. Especially with sashimi and stuff and it's all gross.... :( haha oh no, it's not that interesting, what he said. Just his expression and the way he said it was hilarious!

@KayCe: I probably will never go again honestly, just because there are other hot pot places that are more consistent and less demanding. Plus I'm not a fan of AYCE sushi anyways. Oh man, I keep seeing the food nazi manager everywhere. I can just imagine him threatening me while I'm shopping for groceries :(

Just to let you know then rules say that you can only use one blog post that has the word "Food Nazi" in it since that's a pretty funny description.

You should have added the Pig Intestine comment. It would have made the blog post more colourful.

Haha, hilarous post, sorry you had a bad experience, but it makes for some interesting reading!

Just thinking about AYCE makes me want to hurl, especially after pigging out during the holidays :)

@Vincent: yeah, so we now know the term nazi is suitable for blogging, as long as it's "food nazi".

@peter: hahaha I'm glad something good came out of it if you had a laugh! Yeah... just as we're speaking I'm buying another groupon for another ayce place. ugh.

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