By Hailey Moschella
While waiting to be seen at the dentist, I stumbled upon an eclectic mix of dining options at a nearby plaza in Londonderry, N.H. Nestled between a Mexican restaurant and a noodle shop lives a heavenly place beckoning you in with a warm welcome, delicious smells and an exciting adventure.
Zapp Hot Pot invites you to cook your own meal at the table. With guidance from the servers and a menu with images in categories of broth, protein, starch and vegetables, this participatory experience is a true delight.
Bangkok Thai Restaurant opened with the intention of serving authentic Thai food and, with its success, expanded to introduce an innovate concept new to this New Hampshire town: Hot Pot, where the tables on which you sit also serve as a stove.
You begin by choosing a broth; chicken, vegetable, spicy, very hot or – my favorite – the Tom Yum with notes of lemongrass and kaffir lime. This part of your ordering process is personalized, as your stove area will become home to the perfectly portioned pot of broth, and anything that enters the broth can be shared among the table.
Next, you decide on the protein. There are many options to choose from, but not so many that you may feel overwhelmed. You can play it safe with cuts you know or embark on a culinary adventure. The ribeye and pork shabu are thinly sliced for quick cooking. You also have options of adding seafood, dumplings or tofu for a vegetarian diet.
There is an array of rice and noodle options, many of which are gluten-free, like the flat noodles or the glass noodles. I chose the thick udon noodles, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Your order culminates with a rainbow of vegetables to choose from. For those more indecisive, you can order the Zapp Vegetable set with a variety of freshly prepared produce on a platter. I suggest starting with bok choy and bean sprouts, then adding in others that appeal to you.
To include something more to your meal, try one of the appetizers, like the stir-fried garlic green beans or fried Thai-style marinated beef jerky. The sides are great, but I’d recommend instead throwing in more ingredients to the hot pot, as the satisfaction of creating a unique soup at the table of a restaurant serving up the freshest ingredients is glorious.
The TV in either corner of the restaurant shows a bird’s-eye view of a hot pot table, with someone dipping a beautiful spread of accoutrements into steaming broth. It’s as comforting as watching Julia Child on WGBH.
Zapp Hot Pot offers the popular “bubble tea,” as well as wine and beer. For dessert, enjoy a Happy Elephant – fried bananas with ice cream. Other options include mango sticky rice and Roti, a milky pancake.
Find yourself a restaurant near to the dentist that your children love, to use as incentive during your next visit. I couldn’t be happier that I landed at Bangkok Thai Food, where I will enjoy a meal every time I get a cleaning or a cavity filled. If hot pot doesn’t excite you, dine at the adjacent restaurant with a full menu of beautifully plated Thai dishes.
ZAPP HOT POT
44 Nashua Road, Londonderry, N.H.
$$ out of $$$
Phone: (603) 426-5162
Hailey Moschella loves exploring communities through their cuisine, discovering the story behind every dish. Her column appears in MethuenLife, SalemLife and HaverhillLife magazines. Her favorite culinary delight is taco night with her kids, Henry & Neko.