Posted by Neenu Sajin on 28th March 2019.

I come from a land where “Hot Pot” is a concept unheard of. It was an adventure Mr. FoodKissed and myself embarked on in Singapore for the first time. Hai Di Lao showed us how the game was played. Once back in Dubai, we explored our options and thankfully, the game only continued to get exhilarating. Our visit to Hikina, at Lapita Hotel Dubai, was one such exploration that proved the addictive nature of the Hot Pot concept, in the company of some very authentic Pan-Asian dishes.

Lapita is, simply put, the Polynesian paradise of Dubai. The moment our car pulled up into the resort, I felt like I was on vacation. And that is saying something, considering the two sleepy, tantrum-personified kids we were tugging along! Hikina gave a relaxed vibe with an appealing aroma in the air and a welcoming steam from the soup containers in the kitchen.

We ordered the chicken gyoza, the mix dimsum basket and the pulled short rib tacos to begin with. The Gyoza came with a soy ginger dipping sauce, and the dim sum basket with a flavoursome black vinegar Sichuan. With prawn, chicken, crabmeat bun and vegetarian to choose from, the basket was worth the AED 65 priced. The show stopper however, was the taco platter with a refreshing celeriac slaw and a mouthwatering combination of caramelized onions, pulled meat and hoisin sauce. Little Miss Mehreen got busy with the Woody’s Beef Burger and the crayons she got from Jiawei, our wonderfully helpful server.

The Hotpot, aka, Shabu Shabu (AED 75) appeared with fresh chicken broth poured into the vessel atop the induction plate, followed by the seafood, meat & vegetable basket. The broth gets refilled unlimitedly and the baskets carry enough to get you stuffed with a happy grin.

The Dragonball chicken wings, possibly one of the best-looking dishes in the menu, tasted fabulous and came with a unique Puerto Rico mint mojo dipping. Since anything in black pepper sauce calls onto me at a telepathic level, I just HAD to try the Wok fried chicken too. As it turned out, it was one of the best decisions of my life (bloggers exaggerate for poetic effect, excuse me.)

By now, our eyes were droopy and tummies filled. But desserts were mandatory in the FoodKissed experience, and so came along the Fried Brownie with banana ice cream. A spoonful meant the crispiness of the pastry, the warm richness of the brownie, complemented by the sweetness of the banana ice cream. Divine, but to be eaten before the pastry got cold & tough. 

The Hikina experience is not just about the food. For us, it was Jiawei explaining the Chinese tea pots and the relaxed, all-accepting ambience of the restaurant, even as our Little FoodKissed kept whining. All that, together with the crunch of the black pepper and the merry spluttering of the shabu shabu ensured Hikina the trophy it deserved from the FoodKissed panel!

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