Saturday, December 26, 2015

Morals Village Hot Pot ("德莊火鍋") in Markham

What's better than having hot pot at home with friends and family on a cold winter's night? Not much. I can picture it now. My dining table - overflowing with plates of thinly sliced marbled beef, plump shrimp, fish balls, dumplings, cubes of soft and fried tofu, spinach and noodles - all fighting for space amongst strainers, chopsticks, dipping sauces, jugs of prune juice and soya milk. And of course the star of the show - the generous pot of bubbling broth in the middle of the table - cooking all night long. Ah, yes.

Alright, maybe there is one thing better than having hot pot at home with friends and family on a cold winter's night, and that's having hot pot with friends and family on a cold winter's night at Morals Village Hot Pot (Instagram: @moralsvillagehotpot, Facebook: Morals Village Hot Pot). Morals Village, with close to 600 locations in China, is an all-you-can-eat ("AYCE") hot pot restaurant with a lot to offer. Guests can chose from 12 different kinds of soup bases and six dipping sauces to get started. As for food? Oh man, so many options. Meat lovers can choose from slices of rib eye beef, beef tongue, hand-rolled pork, pork kidney, New Zealand lamb shoulder, marinated beef / pork, and 10 varieties of meat balls (you can also pay $3 extra for AYCE certified Angus beef). For everything else there's tasty stuff like fresh cuttlefish, shrimps and mussels, 20+ different kinds of vegetables, 7 tofu options, various innards, noodles...and more.

If all that doesn't impress you maybe Morals Village's space will. Unlike a lot of the dingy hot pot places in the suburbs Morals Village's interior is modern, spacious, and clean. Check out these comfy booths which are great for small groups.

So in a nutshell, you can enjoy Morals Village's AYCE menu thoroughly without ever getting bored, but if you're feeling particularly fancy you can also order from their Chef's Recommendation menu. Paying a little extra gets you premium cuts like Wagyu short rib slices and Kagoshima pork slices, seafood offerings like tiger shrimps, Alaskan snow crab legs, fresh oyster, Japanese scallops and abalone. 

In terms of drinks, aside from cold soy milk, pop, and the usual sour prune drink (a staple beverage for hot pot) Morals Village also serves freshly squeezed kiwi juice, pear juice, wintermelon tea, lemon juice and watermelon juice. I immediately opted for the juices; I've hated that prune juice ever since I was a kid >< The juices were delicious and very refreshing, perfect for hot pot.

For me, hot pot at home usually consists of one soup base for everybody. Here at Morals Village we each got ourselves a pot with two soup bases. Maybe a bit overkill but I ain't complaining.

Because we each had our own pot we had our own controls too which was very convenient and handy. One thing I noticed is that even though we were using flat tops and not gas stoves everything still heated up very quickly.

All the meatsss.

I'm not sure how many plates of enoki mushrooms I had but I assure you it was a lot. I liked how all the vegetables at Morals Village were thoroughly rinsed, and the leafy vegetables like spinach, watercress and Chinese lettuce had full, crisp green leaves. I tend to eat a lot more vegetables than meat at hot pot so this was a huge plus.

Tiger prawn skewers from the Chef's Recommendation menu.

With plate after plate of food arriving to the table it was time for everybody to start cooking, well more like just puting whatever you want to eat in the pot and wait. While you wait you can also order cooked stuff like spring rolls and deep-fried Chinese donuts to munch on.

Meats, seafood, veggies, drinks, dipping sauces...yea I think we've got it all covered. 

Four people, four pots, and a lot of food. Only a panoramic can do this spread justice!

Is it terrible of me to say that one of my favourite things at Morals Village has nothing to do with hotpot? These soft golden fried mantau (or "fried buns" on the menu) is served piping hot with condensed milk on the side.

Traditionally, hot pot ends with noodles, and Morals Village has Japanese udon, crystal noodle, hand made noodle, Korean rice cakes and instant noodles. Too bad we were too full to try any but we managed to make room for ice cream. Here we have red bean and vanilla.

Morals Village is now my go-to hot pot place. Highlights for me that evening were the lamb slices, cheese stuffed beef balls, fried buns, and all the vegetables. I especially enjoyed trying my friends' soup bases! Speaking of which, I think the only complaint I have about Morals Villageif I can even call it a complaint, is the bijillion different soup bases and sauces to choose from. Okay, more like 10, but still a bit overwhelming considering that I use only chicken broth for my soup base at home, and a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili in varying ratios for my dipping sauce (occasionally with a raw egg too). So I took extra long at Morals Village deciding on what I want, trying to be adventurous with my choices yet not stray too far from what I'm used. What can I say? Life is tough.

Don't fret downtown folks 'cause Morals Village just opened in Toronto at 436 Dundas Street West! Make sure you check out their Facebook page for more info.

- 8333 Kennedy Rd. Unit 1073
Markham, ON
- 436 Dundas St. W., 2nd Floor.
Toronto, ON.

Hours: Monday - Sunday, 4pm - 12am
Weekdays: Adult $25.99, Children (under 13) $13.95, Senior (over 65) $19.95
Weekends & Holidays: +$2.00
Soup bases, AYCE Angus beef, Chef's Recommendation menu and drinks are not included.

*This meal was complimentary. The opinions and views expressed on this post are my own*

Related Post:

Morals Village Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato