Hotpot haunt in Nasr Square, Deira that’s totally worth the hunt.

Chinese Hotpot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira DubaiThe last time I truly enjoyed Chinese hotpot was three years ago on Baniyas Road. Despite its worn walls and tired décor, Xiao Wei Yang assures the sort of eccentric experience that has made it a widely known ‘secret’ for anyone in the city with an adventurous palette and restlessly hungry soul (and patience to hunt down a parking spot in the oversubscribed lots).

Chinese Hotpot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira Dubai

To be honest, the excitement of dunking everything from mushrooms to crabs into a fondue-like pot was so immense that I can’t quite remember how the broth tasted back then. I do know that the broths I’ve tasted at similar hotpot restaurants in International City were nothing spectacular enough to write about. Over time, without a strong savoury recollection, hotpot faded off my food radar.

The place that has made this simmering communal soup bowl bleep back on my screen is Chongqing Liuyishou. This unpronounceably-named restaurant is in a league of its own, as should be any place that ditches the eerie rocking cat for a happy cow-faced goat boasting an oversized thumb. And no eyeballs. It’s these kinds of places that restore my faith in the quirky eccentricities of Old Dubai.

Chinese Hotpot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira Dubai

Chinese Hotpot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira DubaiThree things make this place my new hotpot favourite, over and above Xiao Wei Yang. Firstly, they have a really clued-on Bangladeshi server called Awal who takes a personal interest in helping you decipher the hotpot menu. This is really critical if you have no idea what you’re doing when faced with the menu ordering form full of things like Thai Fungus and Baconic of Beef. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. And it helps when you have someone like Awal to walk you through the exotic details.

Menu - Chinese Hot Pot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira Dubai

Awal not only walks you through the menu, but he blesses your spice selection based on your nationality (‘you’re Filipino? Can’t do spice, only mild! You – you’re Indian, you can do spicy.’), pre-empts any menu misconceptions especially if you’re cluelessly trying to match dishes to photos (‘you picked this dish because you thought it was the same as this picture?’ Golly yes, how did you know? ‘I know, but it’s not the same dish. THIS is the one you want.’) and is your lifeguard when you drown in the variety of dipping sauces (‘You took every sauce in a separate bowl?!? No, you can’t enjoy it like that.’ Seriously Awal, I prefer it that way. ‘Fine. But you won’t enjoy it. Come, I will show you.’ And true enough, the combined sesame and mushroom sauce he created for me will forever be my go-to dipping sauce recipe.) If you’re a hotpot noob, you’ll be hugging Awal like a doe-eyed hotpot graduate by the time you step out of the door.

Dipping sauce - Chinese Hotpot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira Dubai

The second reason why Chongqing scores top marks in the hotpot category is because their dipping sauces are well-ordered and stacked up in a way that doesn’t feel scary and foreign and wiggling with frog legs if you know what I mean. Not like any dipping sauce display in any hotpot restaurant I’ve seen has squirmy stuff in the sauces, but it helps when the restaurant goes an extra mile to make things look pretty and well-labelled.

Chongqing’s Dipping Sauces Dips - Chinese Hotpot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira Dubai

Because you can never have enough chilli.chilli sauce Chinese Hotpot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira Dubai

Beef Foam served atop Soft Like Likes, obviously.Chinese Hotpot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira Dubai

(The beef foam turned out to be boring old salt mislabeled as something infinitely more exciting. Thankfully, they did have beef foam in another bowl for those who simply crave that nebulous meaty X-factor in their food.)

But the main and most important reason why this hotpot restaurant is one that I’ll be returning in the winter (which is actually when you’re supposed to eat hotpot – not in the 50 degree afternoon heat that I chose for my food jaunt) is because their broth is special. Really special. You simply can’t sidestep the flavour. We picked #106 on the menu aptly called ‘Appetizing Tomato Pot’  –  a dual twin pot with a tomato broth on one side and a ‘mildly’ spicy broth on the other.

Chinese Hotpot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira Dubai

Both types of broth spoke of a simmering stock process that had executed the right balance across its seasonings – ginger, garlic, pepper, whoever knows what else (in the wise words of Jerry who lent his tummy for this lunch: when in a Chinese restaurant, don’t ask too many questions.) The tomato broth played out like a perfectly synchronized composition, one where even the keenest of tasters would find it challenging to single out any one flavour from the well-orchestrated, harmonious whole.

The spicy broth was fantastic, less because I can handle spice (I can’t) but more because of the type of chillies used. When you sip the soup, the spice travels like a prickly steamroller from the tip of your tongue, towards the sides, then to the back. And just when you think it’s all done and dusted, the steamroller goes barging backwards and stuns your ears with a scarily unexpected spice shock. This happens only on the first sip. Every spoonful after that just adds to the fiery burn that has now erupted all across your face. Mind you, this was the mildly spicy broth.

Chinese Hotpot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira Dubai

If you do plan to inflict the spicy broth on yourself, I’d recommend grabbing a Chinese iced tea to reward yourself. It tastes of some sweet combination of apples and faint mango and is monumentally more exciting in its packaging than Coke or Pepsi will ever be. When in China, be a Rockstar.

Iced tea - Chinese Hotpot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira Dubai

If you’re going in to try this place and need a helping hand on what to pair with your broth, here’s my list for your dunking pleasure: lamb chops (they arrive boiled, but dunk them in the bubbling broth before consumption), flatbeef flakes (razor thin, they cook almost instantly and then disintegrate into the soup if you don’t fish them out fast enough), seafood dumplings (the best dunking item on the list), mixed mushrooms, floppy triangles of ‘Chinese special dried tofu,’ kankong (aka swamp cabbage that doesn’t look swampy by any means, but rather a vibrant refreshing green), handmade noodles (it’s sacrilege to not dunk handmade noodles into the broth, even though it’s a royal pain to fish them back out.)

Chinese Hotpot - Chongqing Liuyishou Restaurant - Nasr Square Deira Dubai

Next time I’ll ask them if I can have an egg to dunk in towards the end. I’ve read that it’s tradition and a runny egg with noodles seems right up my experimental alley, along with a couple of other tantalizing items like glutinous rice sesame balls, deep-fried dough sticks (a universal culinary protocol) and baconic of beef.

If Awal isn’t around to concoct the sweet sesame sauce for you, here’s the recipe: sesame sauce, mushroom sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, scallions, coriander, sesame oil. Or try something spicier if you dare.

Chongqing Liuyishou Hotpot Restaurant
Phone Number: 04-2293380, 050-1497496
Near Fish Roundabout behind Al Ghurair. If you have Al Ghurair to your right as you drive down towards Fish Roundabout, take a u-turn from the roundabout and park in the open parking on the right (i.e. across the street from Al Ghurair). Walk back towards the main road with Fish Roundabout, take a left heading into Naif and walk down the road. Take the second left and the restaurant will be to your right. DO NOT try to brave the parking situation in this area, your car is best left in the open parking lot. And for God’s sake, carry a smartphone equipped with Google maps and the link to the restaurant location pre-loaded in. Here’s my Google Map of hideouts with the restaurant location pinned to it.

Author: InaFryingPan

With a family legacy of ingenious cooks, a nutritionist and chef-extraordinaire mother, and a father who introduced me to steak and caviar when I could barely reach the table, I had no choice but to acquire a keen awareness of food during my childhood years in Dubai. But it was only after I found myself on a college campus in Philadelphia – far away from home, too cheap as a student to spend on anything other than pizza, and with dorm rooms that had little rat-holes of kitchens if they even had them at all – when I developed a heightened appreciation of food. An appreciation of food that I once ate every night at the dinner table in Dubai, but that was now an entire ocean away. I lusted for the culinary treasures that lay outside the stale walls of my college dining hall, hijacked friends’ kitchens to try my hand at something, anything , remotely edible, and greedily raided different websites in search of highly-rated restaurants. With my move to New York to work for a consulting firm that secretly harbored self-professed foodies, my appreciation transformed into a passion, an addicition. I felt like everyone around me in New York was talking about food: where to get the best cupcakes, pizza slices, banh mi, kati rolls, pho, fried chicken, and every other food item out there that is just a plain old dish in some part of the world, but that’s become hyped to unforeseen proportions in New York. What fuelled my addiction over time was travel to different cities, both for work and play, which gave me unfettered access to the culinary havens of not only New York, but also of DC, Virginia, Chicago, Houston, Vegas, Austin, Seattle and even a little city called Bentonville (Arkansas!). After 9 years away from home, I’ve finally taken the leap to come back to Dubai – with not just an awareness, but genuine appreciation and passionate addiction for what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom, I’m back to reclaim my seat at your dinner table, and to rediscover this city with its ever-expanding menu of international flavors.

24 thoughts on “Hotpot haunt in Nasr Square, Deira that’s totally worth the hunt.

  1. Nabeela says:

    Can’t wait to tell my husband about this place! He’s been raving about hot pots ever since he spent some time in China, and keeps on wanting to take me to try a real authentic version. This is right up his alley! You did it for us with the Little Bangkok review and I’m sure you will again with this place coz we’re definitely giving it a visit!

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      Awesome to hear that Little Bangkok was a hit Nabeela! Let me know what you both think once you and hubs have tried the hot pot at this place.

  2. Saleem says:

    Mouth watering since I like spices – have so many places to explore that you have written about and guess will take me a year to cover even if I do two a week.

    Well written article and photo’s are tempting and nice.

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      Don’t worry dad, I’ll catch you up on all the places you’ve still to try. But I must take you for the spicy hotpot soon, you can finally meet your fiery match!

  3. Didi says:

    Oh the wonders of great servers! I wish that all restaurants, big or hole in the wall, have people as knowledgeable and helpful as Awal.

  4. Delnavaz says:

    You just always surprise me with these little gems that you discover time and again. Currently in the midst of making a big long list of joints to visit in Deira in Dec. Can you suggest a food walk as well? More intrigued by the Arabian walk.

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      Hi Delnavaz! Thanks for the blog love :) A Deira list sounds like a monumental but mouthwatering task…it’s like a bottomless pitcher of quirky eateries in this area. Would love to see you on the food trails, drop us a line through our website at and we can advise you on the best trail to worship your tummy ;) The Middle Eastern one is the most comprehensive and intense one to try!

  5. Choc Chip Uru says:

    I love me my spices, so this is a perfect place to visit! Delicious and full of awesome flavour! Your photos are so enticing!

    Choc Chip Uru

  6. Himani says:

    Thank you so much for this recommendation. My husband and I are in Dubai (from India) for work for a month and a half and have been on the lookout for places just like these. We started the past weekend with a hotpot at this gem of a place. Everything encluding the servers at this joint are A+. Our first hotpot experience. We are definitely going back here.

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      My pleasure Himani! Impressed that you’re new to town and still venturing out to find places in the labyrinth that is Naif ;) Glad to hear you had a top-notch experience!

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      You and KP would love this place. Make sure to get an extra helping of baconic of beef just for me ;)

  7. Salman says:

    Great recommendation. enjoyed it when I was there but grossly underestimated the spice level of the spicy broth….
    Ended up with severe fallback from indulging the spicy broth and took a day to recover.
    But will definitely go back and spread the news on the new hotpot joint in town…

    1. Ashrafuzzaman says:

      Thank you to make this all about me & my restaurant.
      it’s been pleusare to meet with you people.
      in future I’ll do better.
      I hope you will come back again very soon

    2. Ashrafuzzaman awwal says:

      After the article I got more customers
      so many many thanks and all the very best

  8. Neeru Jeswain says:

    Hello! I came across this article but not sure this place exists anymore. Any chance you have an update to this article or know much about the best hotpot now?

  9. Archana Suresh says:

    I’m five years too late to this post, and now I’m sincerely hoping the place is still around when I make my annual trek to Dubai this December. But even if it isn’t, this made for such a good read, and matched my first experience with hotpot at Singapore almost down to the tee!

    I look forward to reading more. :)


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