Tony Xu and Sean Xie, the ambitious restaurateurs behind Chengdu Taste and Mian, are set to open the first U.S. outlet of Xiaolongkan Chinese Hot Pot this month in Alhambra. Founded in Chengdu in 2014, the immensely popular chain has 800 locations in China, Singapore, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan.
Xu and Xie have spent the last year and a half transforming the 4,000 square feet space that formerly housed White Prawn restaurant according to exact specifications from their Chinese partners. “We have designed our U.S. stores entirely based on their designs and imported all the decorative material from Sichuan,” shares Xie. Once complete, the dining room will boast ornate Chinese touches including sturdy wood furnishings, festive lanterns, and traditional latticework. The aesthetic, which is inspired by “ancient western Sichuan style,” according to Xie, is in line with Xiaolongkan’s other global outlets.
“The reason we chose to open Xiaolongkan rather than create a hot pot [concept] ourselves is [because] they have developed the most authentic hot pot soup base,” explains Xie. “The soup base is the soul for Sichuan hot pot.”
Xiaolongkan hopes to stand out in a crowded market for its broth and appealing add-ons like beef tripe and rustic meatballs. Additionally, the restaurant will serve toothpick beef, a riff on Chengdu Taste’s famous toothpick lamb, that is cooked in the soup base.
Xu and Xie are contracted to open a second Xiaolongkan location in Houston later this year. The duo currently run five Chengdu Taste restaurants in Alhambra, Rowland Heights, Las Vegas, Houston, and Honolulu, as well as five Mian restaurants in San Gabriel, Rowland Heights, Las Vegas, Houston, and Honolulu.
Previously, Chengdu-based hot pot brand Da Long Yi opened its first U.S. outposts in Los Angeles and New York, following more than 200 restaurants in China, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
Xiaolongkan Hot Pot. 46 West Valley Blvd. Alhambra, CA 91801.