Hot pot is a cooking method that is very popular in southern China such as Hong Kong and Guangzhou. It is considered a main dish and prepared with a simmering pot of soup stock at the dining table, containing a variety of ingredients. While a hot pot full of flavored broth is kept simmering, raw ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked in a manner similar to fondue. Hot pots may be prepared and eaten either at home or in a restaurant.
What is it:
Hot pot is a communal eating experience where individuals place different ingredients in a large simmering pot of broth placed in the center of a table.
What to cook in the pot:
Everything from meat to seafood, vegetables and noodles are fair game for hot pot. Popular items include meatballs, thin pre-sliced beef, pork and lamb. Vegetables typically found in hot pot include watercress, spinach and chrysanthemum. Dumplings and noodles add heartiness to the meal and go well with all types of broths.
The order matters:
The ingredients to place first in a hot pot are those that take longer to cook such as white radish, corn and potatoes, while placing more delicate greens like lettuce, spinach and watercress in last to avoid overcooking. Keep in mind that thinly sliced meats can cook in just seconds depending on the thickness and consistency.
The sauce is where it’s at:
When eating hot pot, choosing the right sauce is your key to a delicious experience. The sauce depends on your taste and spice tolerance. A traditional sauce may include various combinations of shacha sauce (Chinese BBQ sauce), soy sauce, sesame paste and vinegar. People also like to include ingredients such as minced garlic, cilantro, scallions and chili oil.
How to eat hot pot:
You can choose to cook everything all at once, or eat as you go by adding one ingredient at a time. Be sure to slowly lower the ingredients into the pot to avoid splashing.