You may not know it, but Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot
is big in China. KFC big. When you're there you're liable to see the cute mascot as part of the urban landscape as you are likely to see the Golden Arches and the Colonel. There is about 450 restaurants in China with 22 more overseas, including Hacienda Heights, San Gabriel, and now Irvine. And there's this: as of this year, they are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the company that owns KFC. That's right, Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot is owned by Kentucky-based Yum! Brands.
What they specialize in are, of course, fondue-style hot pots, with dip-your-own meats for you to cook in a flavorful and sometimes lip burning broths made roiling by an induction burner. They actually started in Inner Mongolia in 1999 and has this description for its meals:
Mongolian Hot Pot serves as the forerunner to the modern fondue. Its history stems back hundreds of years to the nomadic Mongols, where tribes would gather together around a fire to cook fresh meats in a communal pot with simmering broth. Overtime, hot pot is refined, but the fundamental ideas of fresh and healthy ingredients, sharing, friendship, family, and the excitement of gathering around a dinner table remains unchanged. Today, Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot continues this culture and offers exactly this.
With 36 spices and ingredients in our original soup base recipe, our flavorful broth is sure to satisfy every single one of your taste buds. The highest quality meats ranging from lamb, beef, pork, and poultry are sliced perfectly to cook within seconds of touching the simmering broth. Vegetarian? No problem. We offer a wide range of leafy greens, mushrooms, and other vegetables that perfectly complements our famous broth. Seafood lovers will also not be left out with our fresh seafood list.
I've long been a Little Sheep fan and enjoyed them before they moved into the new space it now occupies in Hacienda Heights, before this Irvine store opened, and before they became part of the Colonel's empire, and I'm looking forward to more.