This is a staple of Chinese cuisine. Boiling water and ingredients, which on the surface seems rather simple. The broth is made of any number of vegetables (and presumably some stock from meat) but essentially as the meal goes on and you add more and more ingredients, the soup/broth/stock/dish gets more and more flavorful.
I’ve seen the base consist of potatoes, some leafy greens, and mushrooms. In particular, there’s a few mushrooms I really like, that the only translation I have for them are “grades of shitake mushrooms.” I just love the flavors they add, but they’re simply delicious on their own, as well. Wasn’t a huge fan of mushrooms, tofu or animal innards before I came to China…but I’m a changed man.
It’s a bit of production, hot pot is. It’s a whole ordeal, with friends and the ingredients spread out, kinda like a picnic or barbecue, but Chinese style. The pot just simmers in the middle and you pick out whatever it is you want using a ladle or your chopsticks.
There’s three kinds. Sichuan, which is spicy and uses loads of oil. Beijing, which is halal-influenced and uses lots of lamb and cumin. And there’s Cantonese which is lighter, but uses less oil and more broth and peppers for flavoring, which I quite like.
All three are amazing, so after you select with type, you then have to add ingredients: mushrooms, veggies, tofu, fish, chicken, beef, scallops, seafood, and whatever else you see fit. Then you just wait for them to cook through (which is anyone’s guess) and then, bon appetit!
Let me know what you think of hotpot!
Like what you’re reading on China? Check out some other related articles in: The China Chronicles!