Hot pot is best enjoyed with people you love. There’s something inherently communal and intimate about hot pot. I hadn’t found a hot pot restaurant in North Carolina to replace my favorites in Texas. Deep down it made me sad to even try to find a comparable place. I imagined it would make me ache for my Texas tradition of grabbing hot pot on Christmas Day with my bestie and her family, something I haven’t done since moving to North Carolina. Or, ache for eating hot pot with my parents and with my dad gone now, it wouldn’t be the same. But I was finally excited to try my first hot pot restaurant in North Carolina when my friend Janet picked Good Harvest, my new favorite hot pot restaurant for our dinner date.
Janet has become like a sister to me. We met a few months after I moved to North Carolina and we were both homesick for our home states. We bonded over missing California and Texas and our shared love for Asian food (in particular, noodles). The first time we met, we both ordered noodles for entrÃ©es, but then she amazed me by ordering two entrÃ©es for herself. This wouldn’t be the only time I’ve seen her do this. So, it didn’t surprise me that she picked such an ambitious meal (hot pot is best consumed in volume and with eating parties greater than two) for our dinner date. Good Harvest is an all-you-can-eat hot pot restaurant (with a two-hour eating limit).
I arrived first for our dinner date and picked a cozy booth for the two of us. Some minutes later, I hear Janet’s sweet voice sing out, “happy birthday, Linda!” Which disoriented me because my birthday wasn’t for another ten days. I turned around and she had brought some of my favorite North Carolinians with her. And my financÃ©, Sugarface! He had told me needed to work late that night! Sneaky.
Good Harvest Has a Sauce Bar!
I have been a long time (over 10 years and multiple cities) fan of the hot pot franchise Little Sheep. My loyalties run deep and I thought my standard was pretty high, but I have to say Good Harvest already blew me away by having a sauce bar! You can create your own sauces! I loved Janet’s sauce concoction and copied her. She mixed bean paste, barbecue sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, garlic, and some green onions. She tells me it’s different every time she makes it, but it really did add a surprising and pleasant detail to this hot pot experience!
Good Harvest also was the first hot pot place I’ve seen with hand-pulled noodles. It was the best noodles I’ve had with hot pot. There were the usual menu offerings like various meatballs, watercress, tofu, spinach, mushrooms, beef slices, radishes, fish paste, and noodles. There were things I haven’t seen offered with hot pot before like fried Chinese bread (Youtiao), Spam, spicy lamb, and dumplings! Their fried tofu skins were so delicious, soaking up the flavors of our broths. We picked the tomato broth and the Sichuan spicy broth as our two soup selections.
We ate, and ate, and ate. We ate until our bellies ached. And you know what’s funny? The next day I craved it again.
So there you have it. How I came to be introduced to Good Harvest, my new favorite hot pot restaurant.
I ate it the way I believe hot pot should be eaten. Surrounded by people you adore. I’ve been struggling this month (grief over my dad, being a year older and not having him around anymore, and some financial stress) but this night was such a beautiful night with beautiful humans that I will cherish the memory forever. Thank you, Janet, Sugarface, Arturo, Karina, and Crystal for making me feel special.
All photos were taken by Crystal.
1104 Ledsome Ln, Cary, NC 27511
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