Thursday, January 8, 2015

Goodbye, Tak Heng Hot Pot Restaurant 德興火鍋酒家

This is a rant.

The nicer looking photos are from previous posts.

My parents wanted me to have dinner with them at Kirin and I agreed, with a different choice of restaurant in mind. I suggested Richmond Sushi because the restaurant is constantly busy, so the sashimi is always fresh. Of course my parents hesitated at first and insisted on going to Octopus Garden if I wanted sushi, but I pretty much forced them to go to Richmond Sushi. On the way there however, I had a bad feeling in my stomach like perhaps Richmond Sushi is closed on Tuesdays. And evidently when we arrived, the restaurant was indeed closed.

So since I had a long day, my second choice was something fast, like Tak Heng, a reliable AYCE hot pot restaurant. My parents only like Landmark, but I insisted that Tak Heng's chicken wings and goji jello are really good. Tak Heng is also a regular restaurant of mine and I have been visiting almost biweekly ever since my last visit. Although I have noticed as more visits progressed, the owners are less friendly and have become inattentive, but I could care less about the service as long as the food tastes good. Or so I thought…

We arrived around 6:00pm and like my usual visits, the restaurant was not busy. Throughout the duration of our stay, there were only six seated tables. Starting with the positives, for the first time out of more than fifteen visits, the owner mentioned their "special sauce" comes at a $5.00 charge. There was always a charge for the sauce, but it was never mentioned until now and this is appreciated.

With regards to the food, the hot pot bases have changed and there is no longer a spicy option. The spicy option has been replaced with a peanut satay soup base, which tastes fairly rich. I personally prefer the spicy one however, because I find the flavours in the peanut satay too overwhelming (which many people may prefer). As for the chicken wings which are one of the reasons I keep coming back, both orders were poorly executed. On the first order, the wings tasted very dry and the honey flavour was really mild. I thought perhaps this must be a one time inconsistency, but the second order was worse. The second order of wings tasted more dry, burnt and oily, and there was no hint of honey whatsoever. Really? Cheaping out on honey? I cannot stress that the restaurant had only six seated tables at the time too!

The last disappointment of the night would be regarding the goji jello. Apparently, there were only three pieces of goji jello left. After an hour and a half since opening? With only six seated tables in the restaurant? And none of the tables ordered jello yet? How convenient. But hey, at least there were only exactly three left in the entire restaurant for the three of us. On top of that, I asked if we could have another order of jello (mango and coconut are available) later on and one of the owners glared at me without saying a word or confirming my order. WTF? Should I ask for another order of vegetables which costs more? What is with the attitude of getting freaking jello? Is this NOT all you can eat?! In total, we had 6 pieces of jello between the three of us and usually the staff is fine when I have honestly like eight to myself! The jello was also sliced into half the usual sizes to. On top of that, when I saw another table with jello later, I wanted to go up to them and ask to take a photo because they received the "usual" size. But why the heck were our orders on two occasions, half the regular size?

Asides from the disappointing aforementioned issues, what is with the service? This visit was the worst service I have ever had at Tak Heng. Empty plates were not removed and new dishes were stacked onto the empty plates. Really? Come on, you guys are the owners! How many hot pot restaurants are there in Richmond? And isn't January the slowest month for restaurants? One of the owners were inattentive and indifferent, while another tossed dishes on the table. I do not understand how the service was so rude considering 1. The owners are the servers and 2. The restaurant was not even busy! Yeah, the chicken wings are usually really good and the restaurant offers goji jello, but the service really ticked me off this time. Especially because I was here with my parents. In addition, when I asked if "we" could have plate changes, the owner only changed mine. Really? Usually the skinnier owner is friendlier than the rest, but she is just as bad or even worse this time.

However, there is hope for non-Asians. The owners provide VIP treatment to non-Asians which includes friendly service, a secret stash of jello that is not available to other tables, and a personal invitation to try their dim sum menu in the day time. The only reason I can think of for the disgusting service we received is perhaps they thought we wouldn't tip? I have no clue. But to be fair, the owners were more friendly towards Cantonese speakers, despite that they understand Mandarin perfectly.

In the end, I do stand by what I wrote in my first and second posts. There are many AYCE hot pot restaurants which are practically the same, but Tak Heng has a variety of cooked items and jello which may make or break it when deciding which restaurant to go to.

- Reasonable price for AYCE hot pot
- Good quality meat and fresh vegetables

- Indifferent and rude owners
- Greasy and slippery floors
- Inconsistent chicken wings
- Apparently goji jello sells out fast (despite never having any problems when ordering eight on my last visits)

- Even though Chubby Lamb costs more and the menu is limited, I guess my next hot pot choice would be there if I am in Richmond because of the friendly owners
- I visit Little Sheep Mongolian on a monthly basis but like I keep mentioning, I like the chicken wings and goji jello at Take Heng. But since Little Sheep has not given me any problems regarding the service, my go-to can only be there. The restaurant has an electronic stamp card system now too!

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 1/5

Tak Heng Hot Pot Restaurant 德興火鍋酒家 on Urbanspoon


  1. You should have tried Double East instead. It's doing a pretty good job on frying and deep frying. Lots of "wok hei" but might also find the food a little too greasy

    1. I don't think my parents would have went there if I suggested the restaurant lol.



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