Chinese Hot Pot
Hot pot generally refers to the cooking method which uses a pot to boil water or soup to cook all kinds of food. Its main characteristic is to eat while cooking, because the small pieces ingredients cook so quickly, the food is still steaming when eating. It is a unique Chinese dish with a long history and enjoyed by all ages. Typical hot pot ingredients include, thinly sliced meat, leaf vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, tofu, and seafood. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce. Each region has their own preferences for dipping sauce but in most restaurants you can make your own!
Why Chinese Like Eating Hot pot
Hotpot has a long history of over 1,000 years in China. It used to be favored only during winter, but recently hotpot has been appearing on tables all year round. Besides the delicious flavor, there are two other important reasons why Chinese people like hotpot so much. The first one is that it is a great way to socialize. People gather around the pot (usually one big pot in the middle of the table, although now some restaurants you can each get your own individual pot of soup), chatting, eating, drinking, and having fun. This is the epitome of Chinese food culture. The other is that hot pot is a "healthy meal." Eating hot pot can warm the body and help improve blood circulation in winter.
Chinese ancient emperor's love for hot pot
Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty liked hot pot and often ate it. When the banquet was held in the palace, the Emperor Qianlong always asked the servants to prepare hot pot. His son, the Emperor Jiaqing, also enjoyed hot pot. On the day when the Jiaqing ascended to the throne, he set up more than 1,500 hot pot tables to celebrate. The common folk heard of the emperor's love for hot pot, and wanted to try it, suddenly hot pot became very popular among the public.
What to order
For foreigners, looking the hot pot menu can be very complicated and scary. But trust us, once you have gone the first time and see how it’s done you will find great satisfaction going back over and over to try all the different combinations. You can change the flavor of your soup or more commonly have a spilt pot that holds two types of soup. The best thing is all the ingredients that make your broth taste delicious. Lamb and beef are the two most common meats you can put in the pot but the meat is cut wafer thin so that it cooks quickly so don’t be disheartened when you don’t get a big piece of steak to cook. We also recommend mushrooms, fish balls and shrimps or any other seafood you fancy. In addition, tofu and potatoes are highly suggested because they absorb the flavor of all other ingredients and taste super good. Be sure to order some vegetables (cabbage, lettuce, bean sprouts, white radish, pumpkin, etc... and... don't forget to buy some noodles!) In short , you can order any type of meat, fish or vegetable you feel like and just get stuck in.