What is Hot Pot?
A hot pot is a simmering pot of broth that sits in the center of the table while various ingredients are added, cooked and removed.
This is a very traditional style of dining with over 1,000 years of history in China.
How to Eat Hot Pot
Here is a simple description of how things work here at Hotto Potto:
Step 1: Choose your broth. We have meat and vegetarian options with your choice of spice (non- to numb-spicy).
Step 2: Choose your ingredients. Take your pick of our wide selection of meats, seafood, vegetables, dumplings, tofu, noodles, and more!
Step 3: While your broth boils, make your own sauce using our tray of homemade sauces. Flavors range from savory to spicy to sweet.
Step 4: Add and cook your ingredients. Suggested minimum cooking times are on your table.
Step 5: Remove your cooked ingredients from the pot with the slotted and soup ladles.
Step 6: Top with your sauce, or dip.
Step 7: Enjoy!
The History of Hot Pot
Centuries ago the Mongol horsemen rode across Asia. These fearless warriors never bothered carrying cooking utensils. They rigged their shields over campfires to sear meat and nestled upturned helmets in the embers to simmer soup.
The Chinese emperors built the Great Wall of China to keep out the invaders, but the allure of the simmering broth had already won them over. Hot pot became one of China’s signature dishes and Mongolian hot pot traveled farther than the Mongols themselves ever did.
The earliest Mongolian hot pots simply held water. But as the dish spread to other parts of the country, it picked up local ingredients and embellishments. In the southern part of China, seafood and vegetables were the main ingredients for hot pot. In the winter seasons, a time when chilly temperatures and frigid winds prevail over the land, the people liked to eat food that would instantly warm their bodies and lift their spirits.
Today, families and friends throughout Asia still gather around steaming hot pots to celebrate, socialize and escape the winter chill. Eating hot pot is a social event just like having a backyard barbecue. The meal can and should last for hours. A leisurely pace, good company and lively conversation are equally as important as the cooking and eating.
Eating hot pot is not a passive activity; diners must select morsels of prepared raw food from plates scattered around the table, place them in the pot, wait for them to cook, fish them out of the soup, dip them in their preferred sauce and then eat them hot, fresh and tender. They can also ladle up the broth from the pot and drink it. Eating hot pot is a cheerful activity. It is cozy, yet formal. It is not a banquet, yet it can last as long as one.
Hot pots are easy, healthy, versatile and as much fun to cook as they are tasty to eat. The soup stock is prepared in advance and is made by boiling beef or chicken bones or rice. Meat, seafood, vegetables, tofu and bean noodles are the most popular ingredients. Meat should not be cooked too long, otherwise it will lose its tenderness. It’s best for the meat to be cut as thin as paper, and that’s why a sizable piece of meat often shrinks to a small bite after being boiled.