Little Q Hotpot, Arlington

Little Q is my favorite Szechuan hotpot restaurant in Massachusetts. Hotpot is a traditional Asian meal that makes eating more of a social event. The general idea is that you boil or blanch your food in a hot broth to cook it. I love that their mascot is a cute little ram and they do not use MSG in any of their food. I frequently went to eat there when they were first located in Quincy, especially during colder weather. They relocated to East Arlington, near the Capitol movie theater about 2 years ago. The prices are fairly reasonable and the food quality is consistent. Service is friendly and quick. There are many other hotpot spots that are good, but having tried quite a few, I keep coming back to this one. It’s got a homey feel to it and every time I go, I can’t help but think of a certain sweet someone. This restaurant will always hold a special place in my heart and my gullet!

Little Q always provides complimentary pickled cabbage and boiled peanuts. I adore the pickled cabbage. It is sweet, spicy and tangy with a slight crunch. The boiled peanuts are also delicious but I usually leave them for my dining companions.

The broths at Little Q are very flavorful and you have 8 choices- mala, black bone chicken, herbal, summer cooler, Mongolian veggie, seafood, curry chicken and Chinese miso. In the picture above, the top half of the soup base is herbal broth and the bottom half is  black bone chicken. The chicken soup is made from silkie chickens which has dark gray, almost black skin. The Chinese believe this chicken tonic broth is very beneficial as a curative food.

My absolute favorite soup base is the mala, pictured on the right side of the hotpot. It’s a sweat-inducing, sinus-clearing kind of spicy that I love. I must caution you it is very spicy and gets even spicier as the broth cooks down and condenses. After the broth cooks down, I like to take it home to use as a base for a quick ramen or vegetables. On days when I am congested, I’ll go to Little Q and order the mala broth with extra “ma” or hot spices to clear me up.

One thing I do like to mention is a lot of people order the set combinations. A set combination will have a meat, assorted vegetables in a basket, and a starch (rice, vermicelli or udon). You don’t have to do that. I don’t usually eat the included starch and prefer to order a side of taro instead. Separately, plates of meat cost about $5.

Little Q Hot Pot and Szechuan House on Urbanspoon

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