China's Largest Hot Pot Chain Haidilao Unveils First San Diego Outpost

May 3, 2022

China's largest hot pot chain Haidilao, which late Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold once described as "the Ferrari of Chinese hot pot restaurants," has opened its first restaurant in San Diego. 

Haidilao Hot Pot was founded in Jianyang, China in 1994 and now has more than 1,500 restaurants in China, Singapore, United States, South Korea, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, Malaysia , Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia. Haidilao offers a menu centered around Sichuan-style hot pots made with a selection of 8 rich broths and a lengthy list of dipping options including raw meats, fish, tofu, vegetables and noodles.

The Haidilao Hot Pot restaurants also specialize in entertaining table-side service, which includes employees dancing with hand-made noodles stretched in up to 10-foot-long ribbons with sweeping motions around their bodies. Entertainers are required to undergo between four and six months of training before they are ready to perform the dance. Haidilao takes service seriously and also goes as far as offering diners drinks and snacks while they wait for their tables, as well as hair ties to keep hair out of broth and plastic bags to keep phones from getting damaged from soup splatters. The chain also has a unique ventilation system to keep lingering hot pot smells out of its restaurants.

After over a year of development, the San Diego location of Haidilao Hot Pot has finally opened in the space between Aldo and Zara inside Westfield UTC Mall in La Jolla. The restaurant was originally expected to open in summer 2020, but it is much delayed due to COVID-19 and now isn't anticipated to unveil until summer 2021. The San Diego location of Haidilao offers capacity for up to 300 guests and features claw games and a full bar upon entry, with a no-nonsense interior dining area filled with booths and a condiment bar. 

Haidilao is now open from 3-9pm at 4545 La Jolla Village Drive within Westfield UTC mall in La Jolla. For more information, visit