Most of us are familiar with the spicy, Sichuan-style of hot pot, but one restaurant in San Francisco brings a rather, unique hot pot experience to the dining scene. Teo Restaurant at The Good Hotel (7th and Mission) in SoMa specializes in Teochew-style (aka Chiuchow, Chaochow, Chaozhou) hot pot. Teochew is a region of Southern China’s Guangdong province and is known for a style of Chinese cooking which is healthier, lighter and more natural. During my visit to San Francisco recently, I had the opportunity to dine at Teo Restaurant and experience their Teochew hot pot. Here’s a look at this style of hot pot and why you need to try it when you visit San Francisco.
Disclosure: I attended a media tasting at Teo Restaurant where all food and drinks were complimentary. Opinions are my own.
Compared to other hot pot styles, Teochew hot pot uses only beef but not just any kind of beef – in fact, only fresh beef. You might be used to dropping in slices of frozen meat into your hot pot but that is not the case at Teo Restaurant. They source fresh beef (never frozen or aged) from grass-fed and pasture-raised cows raised on farms in Sonoma, California. Furthermore, the beef they use is certified humane, antibiotic free, hormone free, and is sustainably raised.
Superior Bone Broth
Teochew cooking is considered to be one of the healthier, lighter and natural styles of Chinese cooking as the use of oil is modest. Teochew cuisine is known for fresh ingredients, vegetable carving, and superior bone broth. Teo Restaurant’s Chef, Zhang Zongwen, personally hand-selects and hand-cuts the local beef to be placed into the soup.
What We Tried
How it works is that you choose a broth (regular or spicy) and wait for it to boil. You then select the beef, vegetable or noodles to cook in the broth. For some added flavours, Teo Restaurant offers house-made dipping sauces. The hot pots come as individual sizes so you can cooking however you like and adjust the hot plate heat settings yourself.
We tried the Beef Short Rib ($10.98), Beef Flank ($6.98), and Beef Tongue ($10.98). The Beef Short Rib is a must-try being ultra tender and juicy. The Beef Tongue was more a delicacy being tender and crunchy. Not to be missed are Teo Restaurant’s handcrafted beef meatballs which were very bouncy, flavourful and oh-so-delicious. We also enjoyed vegetables like napa cabbage, lotus root and mushrooms. The suggested cooking times for the meats are written on the labels.
Teo Restaurant’s regular, non-spicy broth was just perfect for me. I loved how hearty it was and it was very drinkable.
I quite enjoyed the contemporary, industrial-chic interior of Teo Restaurant. Bright windows, cozy banquettes, a bar and a mix of small and larger dining tables. They also have VIP rooms to accomodate events and larger parties.
Other Menu Items
If you’re not in the mood for hot pot, Teo Restaurant also offers other dishes like claypots, soups, rice & noodle, vegetables and desserts.
Overall Impression of Teo Restaurant
I love the concept of having fresh beef in hot pot and the delicious broth prepared by Teo Restaurant. I’d recommend others to try Teochew-style hot pot which was nicely light but still satisfying. Teo Restaurant is certainly one place I want to revisit on my next trip to San Francisco.
Address: 1111 Mission St, San Francisco, CA