HAN Restaurant brings hot pot to Connecticut

Kita Karna, Copy & Design Chief

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Nestled in the busy street of Prospect Avenue in Hartford, HAN Restaurant opened its doors last summer after owners Xingyu Huang and Sally Zhu realized the need for a hot pot in Connecticut, according to The Hartford Courant. With a diverse Asian menu and interactive atmosphere, HAN Restaurant serves a unique dining experience.

While hot pot restaurants are popular in Asian countries, few exist in Connecticut. Hot pot is a cooking method
where customers cook their own food. All that is required is a boiling pot and an assortment of ingredients of the consumer’s choosing. It is rarely done independently and usually is a dining experience shared with others.

Despite its drabby exterior, HAN Restaurant has the ambiance of a familiar, classy Asian restaurant. Dimly lit, the restaurant is set up in a series of booths and tables, all of which feature active burners. There is also a make-your- own sauce bar in the corner for diners to create their own authentic sauces.

My recommendation is to plan ahead. The restaurant equips you with everything you need, including a tableside list of cooking
times. However, the myriad of ingredients can be overwhelming along with the different combo options. Our server was exceptional at explaining this all to us, but it probably would have been best if we had made a few choices before going
in. It was also comforting to know that if we didn’t feel up to the challenge of cooking that HAN offered a variety of
other pre-cooked Asian meals and appetizers.

My friend and I both ordered the $18.95 combo, which, honestly, is a little pricey. However, it was the most cost-effective since
going à la carte is much more expensive. After choosing a broth of choice and two proteins, the combo comes with a “Vegetable Platter” that includes things such as an egg, bean sprouts, noodles, cabbage, sweet potato, and white potato, among many other ingredients. I chose a more light mushroom broth with shrimp and tofu, and my friend chose the spicy broth with beef and shrimp.

After learning how to use a burner, we slowly cooked our food piece by piece through trial and error, learning how much food was too much for the pot, how to best take food out, and more. While we weren’t the most refined diners, we both had a fun time both cooking and eating our soups.

While the food itself was nothing special, the experience was worth it. Since you cook your own food and eat it more slowly with chopsticks, ingredient by ingredient, you can actually sit more relaxed and not feel rushed. While the servers do check in, they do not have the same impatience that other servers at other restaurants sometimes give off.

If you are looking for an experience, HAN Restaurant is the place for you. With a wide range of menu options and a patient wait staff, it is likely that the restaurant will appeal to you.