Spice World Chinese hot pot restaurant is insanely good

5 Min Read
The talking point

Sydney Spice World Chinese hot pot restaurant: When Chinese hot pot meets Lady Gaga-style meat dressed dolls.

The first thing that hits you as you walk up the stairs to Sydney Spice World Chinese hot pot restaurant is a cacophony of spices led by chilli and Sichuan pepper.

The Haymarket eatery foreshadows the sensory adventure that lies ahead with a popping setting that’s framed by red-tinged décor.

Arcade games at Spice World hot pot in Sydney.
This place is not just about food-based entertainment.

We opt for a yin yang-style hot pot: one side filled with a mushroom soup and the other, Spice World’s signature butter chilli made of a pork, beef and chicken broth and sparked with star anise, fennel seeds, dried chilli and Sichuan peppercorns.

As Spice World’s floor manager Kitty Li told SBS Food, “Hot pot cuisine has one of the most flexible choices of meat, vegetable and sauce.”

That might be why it has gone on to become one of China’s biggest restaurant chains with more than five hundred stores around the world.

Hot pot at Sydney's branch of Chinese hot pot diner Spice World.
Hot pot for days.

But Li has one warning: “It’s very spicy and you’ll need to tell the waiter to turn the spice down a bit if you’re sensitive to the heat.”


Andrea: As a spice tragic – bring on that chilli broth!

Rex: But they don’t believe you can take the strongest level!

Andrea: I can! They better believe me and not tone it down…

Rex: If they do, there’s a long bar packed with dozens of dipping sauces to choose from like fresh chilli, signature dry chilli, chilli oil and chilli sauce.

Andrea: …Thank goodness. But I think we should note at this stage that there are plenty of mild options too. You can take sesame seeds, peanut butter, barbeque sauce, beef sauce, teriyaki, oyster sauce, coriander, shallots, celery, garlic, and that’s just to name a few.

Dipping sauces and condiments at Chinese hot pot restaurant Spice World in Sydney.
Just when you think your hotpot broth has got enough flavour, there’s this too.

Rex: Once you’re happy with your dipping-sauce selection, there’s an array of protein and vegetables to choose from, and its most quirky but delicious meat dish has gotta be the 2010 Lady Gaga-inspired wagyu-dressed barbie.

Andrea: I get her political message but it feels slightly uncomfortable undressing the doll to cook the meat…

Lady Gaga-inspired meat (wagyu) dress barbie doll.
The talking point

Rex: It’s not the only unconventional signature meat dish at Spice World. Its lamb roll gets our attention too – the rolled wafer slices of lamb look like they’ve been rolled down the entire length of the table.

Lamb roll - a signature dish at Chinese hot pot restaurant Spice World in Sydney.
In case the wagyu wasn’t enough!

Andrea: Both meats are tender and soak up the explosion of flavours boiling away in our hot pot – then again, so do our other sides.

Rex: It’s hard to narrow down the choices to a manageable selection, but we end up choosing the shrimp paste wrapped in bamboo shoots, enoki mushrooms, black fungi, lettuce, vermicelli noodles and meat balls.

We also get a seafood platter to switch the flavours up – the only issue here is it can be a bit of a nuisance to peel the prawns if you don’t want to use your hands.

Seafood platter at Chinese hot pot restaurant Spice World in Sydney.
These guys really know how to put on a show.

Andrea: I appreciate the opulent display but the land meats sing most for me.

Rex: As your meal winds up and you’re wondering if there’s a spice extinguisher, the restaurant has got you covered with plates full of watermelon slices and orange wedges. They work a treat as a palate cleanser as well.

Orange wedges palate cleansers at Spice World, a Chinese hot pot restaurant chain that has a branch in Sydney.
Put out the fire in your mouth with these juicy wedges.

Andrea: This place gets a big thumbs up from me. The service is top of the game – despite a busy evening, our waiters were always ready to collect our orders, top up our broths, help create space on our table and keep it clean throughout the evening.

Rex: This is one of the best hotpot restaurants we’ve been to for it’s quality ingredients, rip-roaring flavours, the interactive and unusual elements, and yes, its world of spices.

Spice World | $
Daily, 11:30am–2:30pm and 5:30pm–10:00pm
405 Sussex Street, Haymarket
Sydney, NSW, Australia

Experience more culinary adventures at Two Chat Food and follow us on Instagram @twochatfood.

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