Are you thinking of trying something different for Thanksgiving this year? Instead of the turkey or the cranberry sauce, you could always make the centerpiece of your holiday gathering the hot pot instead! It is a Chinese style fondue that is also highly popular in other parts of East Asia. While you can visit a restaurant and experience what it’s like, for the full effect, you should have it at home.
The History of Hot Pot
For starters, let’s have a look at how hot pot came to be. Around 1,000 years ago, when the Jin dynasty ruled over China, the Chinese began to tangle with the Mongols. But during their incursions into Chinese territory, the Mongols would stop to rest. They would get hungry, and one solution was to use their helmets as a makeshift soup pot set on an open fire. The broth would be filled with meat and was a great way to stay warm during a bitterly cold Chinese winter. Eating, drinking, and talking became a focal point of the hot pot, and it is something that the Mongols passed onto the Chinese.
The Rules of Etiquette
Table manners are different in many world cultures. Something that would seem rude at an average western-style table wouldn’t be a big deal when everyone gets together for hot pot. Our first piece of advice: let the broth simmer until it comes to a boil. Then you can allow the soup to cook the meat for you. Since it takes the longest, the meat should be the first ingredient you add. Use your own chopsticks to move vegetables and other fillings in and out of the pot but don’t dump everything in all at once, or you will affect the temperature of the broth and make everything a lot less tasty!
Tools You Need
One way to transfer the meat into the hot pot is with tongs. This method is the easiest technique for dipping the beef, chicken, pork belly, or seafood into the soup. A yin-yang pot can let you have two different flavors of broth! Then make sure you’ve got a reliable burner powered by gas or electricity. As we mentioned before, you will need chopsticks, and don’t forget scoopers or ceramic spoons to help you retrieve the food you’ve already cooked!
Some Sample Ingredients
We’ve touched on some of the possible ingredients already, but let’s focus on them in more detail. Noodles, cuts of meat, slabs of seafood, and vegetables can all go in the pot. You can choose to use wheat noodles, rice noodles, or even bean threads!
Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market
Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop-shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to serve our customers better. Since we opened in 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, please email us at LottePlaza.com.