Jiyu: Melbourne’s ultimate Thai hot pot

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

Melburnians are already flocking to Jiyu, newly opened only in December 2019; the clever concept presents beloved Thai classics in a Chinese hot pot experience—a delicious marriage of two rich and fiery cuisines.

In Chinese, Jiyu means ‘gathering fish’ or ‘bringing all the seafood together.’ It suggests celebrating and bringing family and friends together to share a good time over a hot pot of seafood. Started in Phuket, Thailand 1998, Jiyu ventured into the Chinese market in 2015 and was so overwhelmingly successful they launched 400 stores in just two years.

Now, Jiyu has landed in Melbourne’s very own Chinatown and boy are we stoked. Looking around, the Ji Yu fam love their plants and greenery. Monsteras and vines adorn tables and walls matching the lush pink and green interiors designed by EFC Group Australia Director Roger Fu.

There are three hot pots to choose from including the ‘Two Flavour’ one with their signature spicy Tom Yum soup and the fish soup which has a more subtle, salty flavour. You then receive an impressive boat-shaped platter of veggies and wacky seafood and meats like fish balls stuffed with caviar and baby octopi.

The wait staff can advise what to plonk in first—for example, the potatoes as they take longer to cook through—and they kindly monitor the temperature of your bubbling soup which sits on a stove in the middle of the table. It’s like a hot pot lucky dip: ‘Oh look a baby octopus! An oyster! A goji berry!!’. The fun is in sifting through the endless soup and slurping away!

Jiyu’s also renowned for their inventive cocktails and Asian-inspired desserts including coconut cream jelly, black sugar boba cakes and mango sticky rice. Make sure to book ahead­—it’s constantly chokkas!