Now that winter has come, it’s the perfect season for hot pot! This is one of my favorite winter activities, as well as one of favorite winter foods.
Hot pot is the East Asian version of fondue. It’s perfect for a large group of people, especially family and friends, because it involves simultaneously making and eating food. All you need is the following equipment:
- Hot pot, similar to this. You can find hot pots both online and at many Asian grocery stores. I prefer the hot pots with the divider because I like having the clear broth and the spicy broth concurrently.
- I like using a portable gas stove, such as this. I’ve even made hot pot camping a couple of times by bringing this portable stove and my hot pot. If you get a portable gas stove, you need to purchase some butane fuel canisters.
- In lieu of a portable gas stove, you can buy an electric hot pot like this.
- Ladles. I’ve found that if you purchase a hot pot at an Asian grocery store, it will come with a few ladles.
That’s it! Aside from your food, of course.
Typical hot pot ingredients:
- Stock (can be homemade with a soup base, water, and salt or bought)
- Meats/protein (beef, pork, lamb, fish, shrimp, scallops, fish balls, cuttlefish, tofu, egg dumplings)
- Veggies (bok choy, cabbage, spinach, Napa cabbage, lettuce, carrots, winter melon, bean sprouts, radish, mushrooms (enoki’s the best), potatoes, taro, watercress, pumpkin)
- Condiments (soy sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar, garlic, scallions, sesame oil, sa cha sauce, chili pepper, XO sauce, satay sauce or a peanut butter mixture, white pepper)
My favorite store-bought soup base is Hai Di Lao and Little Sheep. These two brands are two very popular hot pot chains. I’ve been to Hai Di Lao in China and Little Sheep in California and in Virginia; they are definitely some of my favorite hot pot restaurants (and I’m very picky about going to hot pot restaurants).
Hot pot is ridiculously easy, plus it’s really fun with a group of friends. I always have at least one hot pot party every winter. It’s guaranteed fun and delicious. Try some hot pot this winter!