Er Dang Jia is an authentic Chinese hotpot restaurant in the China Cluster of International City, Dubai’s unofficial China Town. Located in the F-05 CBD Building its interior is modern and very well decorated – it immediately reminded me of Nine Squares, the current darling of the hotpot community. If driving, go around the back of the building where you should find plenty of parking. The entrance of the restaurant is actually located on a main road where there is none.
Similar to the famous hotpot chain Chuan Fu which has branches in Satwa and Mankhool, Er Dang Jia also offers a self-service buffet for both the raw ingredients and the sauces. The difference here is that all the raw ingredients are on wooden sticks, the ends of which are coloured (like the bowls at Yo! Sushi) thus making the tally at the end easier. I ordered two non-spicy broths: one, their double flavour and the other, mushroom. Neither of my hardcore foodie companions thought much of either. I liked the double flavour broth because (I felt) it tasted like the flavouring you get in an instant noodle packet. I ended slurping up a bowl full like soup.
The raw ingredient sticks were grouped together in an open display chiller with little or no labelling making it VERY difficult to know what you’re choosing. Service was atrocious – we literally had to go to the front to beg for someone to come and attend to us. And when finally someone did come, it was an obviously frustrated staff member who rattled off what sounded like muffled gibberish (these infernal masks don’t help) and was gone two blinks later. As a consequence, every single stick I took turned out to be something other than what I wanted – maybe that’s why I ended up having the broth as soup (that’s not true, I actually liked the broth).
The straw which broke my patient camel’s back was when I was told I would have to pay extra for the sesame oil I asked for to make my sauce with – how petty.
The rating of our experience turned out to be like a Cape Canaveral countdown – 4 (interior), 3 (raw ingredients variety), 2 (dining experience), 1 (service) – lift off! We left the restaurant having not completed our meal. No one asked us why. No one was bothered. Thankfully, there are so many amazing restaurants in International City especially for hotpot…
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join his culinary journey on Instagram: @ravenousxerxes or reach out to him via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.