Food & Drink

Monster Pot Mixes up the Soup Scene

The Chinese restaurant offers a hot-pot spin on Betty’s Noodle House soups

Monster Pot owner Benji Mo tends to a hot pot dish at the restaurant. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

If you’re missing Betty’s Noodle House, which occupied a small space in the downtown Metro station, look no further than Monster Pot. 

The new spot on Front Street from restaurateur Benji Mo fulfills his vision for what he had always wanted the now-closed Betty’s Noodle House to be—a gathering spot with room to sit down and enjoy a meal. Mo opened Monster Pot in August, carrying over most of the menu items from Betty’s Noodle House with a few new twists. 

What inspired you to open Monster Pot as the next iteration of Betty’s Noodle House? 

BENJI MO: Hot pot has become one of the very popular restaurant types in the Bay Area. What we did at Betty’s Noodle House is noodle soup. So I thought that would be a really good idea to combine them together and transfer the soup from the bowl to the hot pot. Because the people love our soup. So I think they are looking forward to something more fancy.

What’s changed in the menu?  

The hot pot is the same taste as the original soup at Betty’s Noodle House. We added some appetizers and beer and wine. We are adding more stuff to the menu, too. We are thinking to have a weekly special, like during the winter we want to give the customers a chance to try pumpkin noodle soup, and in the summer maybe we will have some cold noodles.

Do you come up with all of the ideas for new dishes? 

I created most of them. My mother-in-law, she was a cook in China. Once I come up with an idea I would just tell her what I want and she would make it.

What is your personal favorite dish?  

I like the black pepper fried udon. 

What else should people know about Monster Pot?  

Don’t be scared to try the hot pot. They taste much better than the noodle soup. The broth is the same, the tastes are the same, but it turns out much better at the end if you let it sit for a while.

Monster Pot, 431 Front St., Santa Cruz. monsterpotsc.com. 

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