Familiar faces take hotpot down a hip, Chinese-American route.
Chef-owners Randy Noprapa and Chalee Kader add to their burgeoning portfolios (together they’re responsible for Fillets, Surface and 100 Mahaseth) with this vibrant melting-pot of CHinese-US hotpot culture. Your broth comes separated into three flavors: a hearty pork bone stock bursting with peppercorn; a rich Japanese nabe–with red wine; and a herbaceous chicken turmeric soup. Add some thinly sliced pork or beef and you're in business.
The decor: Move over Mo-Mo Paradise and other mall-dwelling hotpot pretenders. From the neon-lit Mrs. Wu sign out front, it’s clear this vintage-yet-modern restaurant does things differently. The walls are awash with street art (think qipao-clad girls playing on their iPhones) while the windows come with those old-school metal shutters you usually see in Chinatown.
The food: Your hotpot comes separated into three broths that are a real step up from the usual: a hearty pork bone stock bursting with peppercorn; a rich Japanese nabe–with red wine; and a herbaceous chicken turmeric soup. Add some thinly sliced pork (B280 for mixed pork set) and beef (B520 for mixed beef set) to the steaming pot and you’re in business. The list of potential add-ons is lengthy—mushrooms and other veggies, varieties of tofu and shrimp—but our picks go to the juicy, tender cheese lava meatballs (B50) and fresh squid (B160). The secret weapon: the Mrs. Wu pickled egg and soy sauce for the perfect sweet and sour duo.
The drinks: Tsingtao beers are B150, while your favorite spirit and mixer will set you back B180-250/glass. More impressive, though, is the long list of single-malt Scotch, from an Aberlour 12Y at B300 all the way to 25-year-old Glenmorangie at B1,800.
The crowd: The loyal, trendy and moneyed young people that follow messrs Randy and Chalee from opening to opening, plus a few more families than usual.
The music: Hip-hop and R&B of the old-school variety.
Why we’d go back: With Mrs. Wu, hotpot is probably as cool as it will ever be in Bangkok. The food’s tasty (the chicken turmeric broth, in particular) and the cute backstory of the restaurant’s eponymous mascot as an old Chinese grandma in America who loves to cook food from home for her family, adds a fun touch. Caria Buaon, Vick Chalermlapvoraboon