Second in our winter series of hotpot reviews is Aberdeen (春秋火锅), a Cantonese style hotpot located in a renovated old house on Fuxing Lu. For us, Cantonese hotpot has always connoted clean and uncomplicated broth spread across a variety of regions. Want a spicy ma la or satay stock? Aberdeen’s got it, but don’t expect anything more than a mild tang. What they do have is an assortment of seafood and premium meats that you wouldn’t find at your local Little Sheep.
Walk through the door and past the tanks of live seafood and shellfish, and you immediately get a sense of why Aberdeen demands a price premium compared to other hotpots. People come here to splurge on the good stuff. Think plates of thinly sliced wagyu beef to be quickly whisked just below the surface of the bubbling stock, thick marinated scallops and mussels, lobster claws atop a bed of dense lobster sashimi, and black truffles instead of plain on old shiitake mushrooms. Given that one is essentially cooking these fine ingredients in simple and MSG-free broth, it would be very difficult and tragically weird if the food didn’t end up tasting good. It does indeed, and of course it’s not cheap. Aberdeen also has regular hotpot fare (great shrimp and beef balls and dumplings and brisket versus wagyu and foie gras) at more down-to-earth prices, but they’ve positioned themselves as a place where you indulge in extravagance in a pot, particularly its fresh seafood, so why go for lesser, terrestrial meat? Of course, when it comes to these upper-crust hotpot joints, one tends to ask oneself if the joy of boiling stuff for yourself is really worth 200-300 RMB a pop.
One thing we do highly recommend about the place: the fourth floor is a special VIP-ish room (that all of us non-VIPs can book) tha comes equipped with sofas, disco ball, and karaoke machine. If you’ve got a crowd that’s looking for drinking and singing in the privacy of your own set of boiling pots of flavored stock, I’d wager there aren’t many places other than Aberdeen to get your jones on.
Aberdeen Hotpot – 578 Fuxing Lu, near Ruijin No. 2 Lu (春秋火锅 – 复兴中路579号,近瑞金二路) Tel: 5465-2220, Hours: Daily 6pm-4am
Eric Hu is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news and gossip about Shanghai’s food scene to food at shanghaiist.com.