What food do you think of when you think of America? Burgers? Grilled/fried chicken? Pizza? Well I’ve discovered a restaurant without a single burger on the menu! On my first visit to Iowa back in 2014, my other half took me to HuHot Mongolian Grill and it’s definitely a firm favourite of ours now I’m living here permanently!
HuHot is mainly a self serve UNLIMITED stir fry restaurant. The waitstaff will bring over a bowl of rice, soup or salad which is included with dinners (not lunch times) and take the drinks order…be prepared, they have over 100 different types of soda. 100. Yes really. Think all the regular flavours: Dr Pepper, Coke, 7up etc etc but then add a shot of flavoured syrup: cherry, vanilla, orange, apple, lime…you get the idea!
You start by collecting a bowl, a little too small for my liking but you are free to stack it as high as you dare! First up is the meat station. Slices of chicken, beef, pork and various fish including things like crab. These all shrivel up quite small once it’s cooked so I find it best to layer up with quite a lot!
Next are the noodles. There are 3 different types. But remember you do get served a bowl of rice at the table if you need that little bit of extra food!
The 3rd station is the vegetables. Some things I don’t recognise and unlike the meats, these aren’t labelled. There’s so much to choose from though! Carrots, cabbage, watercress, bean sprouts, green beans, water chestnuts, mushrooms, cucumber, baby sweetcorn, broccoli, potatoes and even pineapple and orange segments (yes I’m aware the last 2 aren’t vegetables!)
The final station is the sauces and oils. These range from normal to mild to spicy and are crucial for the grilling part as this is essentially what will make the food cook. They recommend 5 ‘spoons’ as the perfect amount and you’re free to mix and match. I’m not a fan of spices so I usually go for the sesame seed oil and/or lemon juice.
Then the magic happens (see video footage below)!
Everyone stands around a giant circular hot plate while the chefs will grill the bowls of food in front of you. It’s pretty fun to watch and they’ll often be chopping away and spinning the spatulas around to clean them off! (I put a dollar in their tip jar so I didn’t feel bad about recording them!) Afterwards they scrape all the food onto a plate and pass it to you in the order you arrived at the hot plate. They then clean the hot plate by pushing any scraps down the hole in the middle, I’d hate to clean that out each night, I bet it’s nasty!
The last stop before returning to the table is the toppings table. I like to add shredded coconut to the top of mine, things like peanuts are also on offer! Considering it’s mainly vegetables, it just feels like a healthy option compared to burger and chips/fries!
HuHot Dubuque, you get the double thumbs up from me. Always a great service.