Zhenbao Hotpot Review: Perfect for That Chilly Weather

zhenbao hotpot, restaurant review, hotpot buffet

Zhenbao Hotpot, Ayala Malls Manila Bay – We have seen Zhenbao Hotpot many times while strolling along Ayala Malls Manila Bay. And we were awed after trying it out. Read on to hear more about my Zhenbao Hotpot Review. 

While strolling, we checked the time, and it was 5 PM, so we went to Zhenbao Hotpot to eat. It was a good decision to start early as the restaurant became packed at about 6 PM. The server made us sit at a table right in the middle of the restaurant, which was great because it is near the sauce buffet and restroom. 

Zhenbao Hotpot Buffet

For the price of 799 PHP+, you can have unlimited beef and pork slices, balls, mushroom, veggies, and soup. You can add 200 PHP if you want to eat seafood like prawns, squid tentacles, cream dory, and shrimp dumplings. 

Once seated, the server showed us the QR code (found on the table) to scan to place our orders. You do not have to register to the site, just click the Google icon on your phone, and you are automatically directed to the Zhenbao Hotpot menu. 

After checking it out, we chose what we wanted to eat and made our own sauces. Just like Mala Sze Chuan Hotpot, there are a lot of sauce toppings to choose from. Here is the list of what you can add to your hotpot sauce

  • Oyster sauce
  • Fermented bean curd
  • Lao Gan Ma (brand of chilli sauce) 
  • Sate paste
  • Mashed garlic
  • Tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds) 
  • Peanut sauce
  • Spring onion
  • Chopped chilli
  • Wansoy
  • Black vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Pepper oil
  • Chilli sauce
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate) 
  • Chilli flakes
  • White sesame
  • Salt
  • White sugar

We also asked if they have raw eggs available, and we were surprised about how much a piece costs. You need to pay 48 PHP for each egg if you want to add it to your sauce or soup. Thankfully, the sauce tasted great, even without the raw egg. 

A pitcher of iced tea is also included in their buffet menu to quench your thirst. You can also request a pitcher of iced cold water if you do not like powdered iced tea. 

Food: 4 stars, Price: 5 stars

After we made our sauces, the hotpot soup arrived. All buffet orders come with 2 soup bases: plain and spicy soup. We requested to lessen the spiciness of the other one because we were afraid to burn our mouths. 

Child-friendly: 4 stars

The plain soup was surprisingly delicious! It was very creamy and nostalgic, tasted like bone broth soup boiled for many hours. Even my son, who does not like to drink soup that much, also enjoyed every drop. I also loved the spicy soup. It tasted like the instant Chinese noodle soup we used to eat when we were young. 

Ambience: 4 stars

What I found fanciest is Zhenbao Hotpot’s chopsticks. I found a small packet included in each plate set. When I opened it, I found 2 small wooden sticks which resembles the front part of the chopsticks. 

Then I learned that the wooden sticks are part of the restaurant’s sanitation protocols. Zhenbao Hotpot discards used wooden chopsticks (that customers need to screw to the plastic part). Good job Zhenbao Hotpot! I hope they continue it even after the pandemic. 

However, I was disappointed when I saw the chairs were dirty when I was about to sit. There was food residue probably from the previous customer. And even though I understand that the staff were tired from doing their service, I believe they should still make sure that everything is clean for the next customer. 

Service: 4 stars

Our orders arrived in a pushcart. The server left the balls, tofu, and mushroom on the table. And so we put everything into the soup except for the meat. As we do not like overcooked meat, we cook them as we eat. 

The beef and pork strips were not so fatty at first, but some plates got more fatty after a few orders. Nonetheless, we enjoyed dipping them into our sauces. Soon, the servers got busy with other tables, so they took longer time to bring out orders. 

Thankfully, we were almost full when that happened, so it did not bother us. Also, the restaurant has no time limit for buffet eaters; which is a plus, especially when the restaurant is always packed. 


We both loved Zhenbao Hotpot and Mala Sze Chuan Hotpot. However, Zhenbao is cheaper than Mala Sze Chuan, even though they seem to be on an equal level in food quality. 

We also found that more people eat at Zhenbao than at Mala Sze Chuan. My only guess is the difference in their location. Ayala Malls Manila Bay has more to offer than Met Live. But, if you are confused about which one to try, why not try both to see which one matches your taste better? 

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. I hope you enjoy your hotpot experience when you visit Zhenbao Hotpot!

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