HuHot brings a taste of Mongolia

Lindsay Bland

Lindsay Bland

A new taste has found its way to tables in Sioux Falls.

HuHot Mongolian Grill is one of the newest restaurants in the city. Located on Western Ave., next to the big Scheel’s store, HuHot features a new take on a familiar favorite. The food is very similar to Chinese food, featuring rice, noodles and different types of meat and fresh vegetables. But the way the food is made is what makes the place unique.

I decided to head to HuHot around 4 p.m., hoping to miss the dinner crowd.

Despite the early hour, plenty of people were already there. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait for a table and our waitress came almost as soon as we sat down.

Our waitress was spectacular. After she took our drink and appetizer orders (I ordered a Sprite and a Mongolian Feast appetizer which consisted of egg rolls, crab rangoon, pot stickers and two kinds of dipping sauces), she knelt beside the table and explained how things work at HuHot.

HuHot isn’t like any other eating establishment I have ever visited. Instead of ordering food and having someone in a hot steamy kitchen cook it and then having a waitress deliver the meal to the table, at HuHot, you get up and make stir-fry for yourself.

First, I started at the meat counter. This particular reporter dislikes looking at raw meat, so this was my least favorite part. Patrons may choose from a variety of uncooked meat, including beef, chicken (my choice), sausage and certain types of seafood.

After I selected my meat, I headed to the noodle station. Three different types of noodles are featured, I picked yakisoba noodles, which remind me of lo mein noodles.

Once I was satisfied with my noodle selection, I moved on to the fresh veggies. I was shocked at the number of vegetables from which I could select. There were carrots, broccoli, cabbage, watercress, the list could go on and on. I picked broccoli (yes, you can pick more than one, but I’m boring)and made my way to the crazy selection of sauces.

At the sauce location, diners had the choice of creating a mixture from recipes listed above the station, or they could invent their own concoction. Some of the names of the sauces included: Samurai Teriyaki, Not So Sweet and Sour Sauce and Mean Bean Garlic Sauce. Since I’m kind of a baby when it comes to spicy things, I picked their mildest formula. It included two ladles full of Kahn’s Favorite (which had sort of a ginger flavor), a ladle of Samurai Teriyaki, a ladle of sesame oil and a bit of garlic oil.

After I seasoned my meal to taste (although, I didn’t try it first, since everything was raw), I made my way over to the massive grill in the center of the room. I found this to be the most confusing part of the whole meal.

There really weren’t any signs that told you where to start and where to put your bowl of ingredients. So, I headed to an empty spot and then a very rude man behind the grill made fun of me for “cutting” in line.

The grill was covered in grease and the remains from other people’s meals. I wondered how sanitary this arrangement could be and I concluded that maybe the devices used to cook meals in restaurants should stay behind closed doors.

Once I found my seat again, I sat down with my plate of freshly grilled stir-fry, with a large bowl of steamed rice and the appetizers waiting. Everything was delicious. I was afraid I wouldn’t like the way I seasoned my food, but it was perfect. And whenever my glass of Sprite was almost empty, the server had another one waiting for me. I never went thirsty eating the salty meal.

I would have to say that the atmosphere of HuHot is really the selling point. The restaurant had a “contemporary Mongolian” feel. It had a large mural painted on the far wall depicting Mongolian soldiers. Everything was in deep colors, which gave the room a kind of cozy, warm feeling. My favorite part of the d