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Almost the end of January and finally writing my first post of the new year.  I thought about writing a 2013-in-review post.  Something similar to the calibre of Felicia’s writing would be nice as I enjoy reading her posts.  Even when she says she is having difficulty stringing together words to form a sentence (with good reason), it still sounds better than what I can pull together after much uninterrupted thought.

What should I write about today?  I spent my weekend in the office (and every evening after work this week) working on my “lesson plan.”  When I left the office on Sunday evening, the city was shrouded in thick fog.  I could only see a blurry few feet ahead of me.  Even on Monday morning, some of that fog was still hanging around.  It’s weather like this that makes me crave hot pot.   Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to go out for hot pot, but I can share my past year’s experiences at Top Gun Hot Pot.

My first visit to Top Gun at Crystal Mall was for dim sum with my parents many, many years ago.  Although the seating was quite spacious, the food and service was only average.  However, the prices seemed a bit steep.  Perhaps that’s why the server kept trying to sell us the VIP card.  I didn’t get the card and didn’t return for several years.

A few years ago, I went with a group of colleagues for an all-you-cat-eat hot pot dinner at Top Gun Hot Pot at Crystal Mall.  The selection of food available on their all-you-can-eat menu was good and I particularly liked the variety of sauces and toppings that were offered on their mobile “sauce” cart.  After a very enjoyable and positive dining experience, I decided it was worth going back again … for hot pot.

Months later, I was meeting up with Vince for dinner.  We decided to go for hot pot and I suggested Top Gun.  Much as I dislike the design of Crystal Mall’s parking lot, Top Gun’s spacious seating,  selection on the menu … and yes, the sauce cart … was worth the hassle.  I think Vince enjoyed the food selection because after that, we’ve been back to Top Gun a few times — for birthday dinners or sometimes “just because.”

Look at our spread of food (round 1) in January 2013:

back in the days when they came around with the sauce cart and lots of toppings.. sigh.. those days are gone... (Jan 2013)

back in the days when they came around with the sauce cart and lots of toppings.. sigh.. those days are gone…
(Jan 2013)

wintermelon, soft tofu, spinach, mushrooms and frozen tofu  (Jan 2013)

wintermelon, soft tofu, spinach, mushrooms and frozen tofu
(Jan 2013)

thinly sliced meat...  (Jan 2013)

thinly sliced meat…
(Jan 2013)

deep fried fish skin (Jan 2013)

deep fried fish skin
(Jan 2013)

dumplings... yummy...  (Jan 2013)

dumplings… yummy…
(Jan 2013)

meat, meat and more meat...  (Jan 2013)

meat, meat and more meat…
(Jan 2013)

oysters..   (Jan 2013)

(Jan 2013)

fish balls, beef balls, ...  (Jan 2013)

fish balls, beef balls, …
(Jan 2013)

We actually ordered more food than what’s shown in the pictures here.  However, I became quite busy with eating and put my camera away to focus on eating.

Over the past year, we’ve noticed that the price has slowly gone up and the food selection has changed slightly.  Vince and I were there in January 2013 and then again in December 2013.  The most noticeable difference for Vince was that the oysters used to be part of the regular menu but are now part of a deluxe (more expensive) menu.  I don’t eat oysters so that doesn’t affect me as much.  What does affect me though is the sauce cart.  They got rid of the mobile sauce cart and the many toppings.  Now they only provide three sauce dishes on your table and if you want any extra toppings that they used to provide for free, you need to order it for a small fee.

Our Round 1, part 1  (Dec 2013)

Our Round 1, part 1
(Dec 2013)

lots of orders of dessert... for two people (Dec 2013)

lots of orders of dessert… for two people
(Dec 2013)

For an all-you-can-eat price, I suppose the food is still relatively reasonable (relative to eating out).  I am just disappointed that the mobile sauce cart is gone, there is a fee for toppings that used to be free and the menu has shrunk a little.  Not sure if I will be as keen about going to Top Gun Hot Pot when there are other options like Fatty Cow and/or Chubby Sheep (awesome soup) out there.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, they did add two dessert options, increasing it to three.  However, after trying all three of them, I still prefer the coconut jelly.

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