Xiao Wei Yang (Little Lamb) is a wonderful Chinese hot pot restaurant on the JBR-side of the marina, just across the street from Le Royal Meridien. Don’t be fooled by the restaurant’s humble appearance, this place is among the most popular spots in this otherwise super posh area.
Getting a table at Xiao Wei Yang can be quite a challenge, as the restaurant doesn’t take reservations for smaller parties. You just have to show up and hope that not everybody else and their mom have got the same idea. Usually they have, and on Friday nights, there’s often a long line of people in front of the restaurant, waiting for a vacant table. So is it worth the hassle? Yes! And that’s a big fat yes, if you ask me.
For those of you unfamiliar with Chinese hotpot, it is best described as a DIY meal consisting of different sorts of vegetables and meat, which you cook in a soup-like broth at the table. Here’s a quick intro to how things work at Xiao Wei Yang:
After you are seated, the staff will hand you an order form to fill in. First, you choose the kind of soup you want (spicy or non spicy). The spicy one at Xiao Wei Yang is very spicy and full of mouth-burning peppers. Unless you’re used to this kind of food, I would strongly suggest that you choose the non-spicy one, which is a white broth that doesn’t taste of much but at least wouldn’t harm you. You could also go for the ying-yang bowl, which has both kinds of soups.
Then you pick the meat, seafood and vegetables you want to cook, either from the selection of set menus or from the list of individual items. Tofu and noodles are also among the items, which I usually add to my order.
The soup you’ve ordered is then placed on a built-in cooking plate on your table and brought to a boil, and now the fun begins. Put some meat, noodles or whatever you’ve ordered in the pot, and wait for it to get cooked. The meat is very thinly sliced, so it’s done almost immediately, while potatoes and noodles need more time.
Oh, I almost forgot the best part: The dipping sauce! There a dipping sauce buffet in the back of the restaurant (5 AED), and it is those sauces that make the hotpot at Xiao Wei Yang such an outstanding experience. My favorite is the peanut sauce with fresh cilantro and extra peanuts on top, but there are several different sauces to choose among, and you can have as many as you like. You dip whatever you’ve cooked into that sauce and eat it with a big smile on your face. It is so delicious!
• A meal for two persons including soft drinks is usually less than 200AED in total, of course depending on what kind of meat you pick and whether you order any side dishes.
• Xiao Wei Yang isn’t licensed, so alcoholic drinks are not available.
• It is a casual restaurant, so you don’t need to dress up. Jeans and a T-shirt is perfectly fine.
• When you’re done, ask the staff to turn off the stove.