LF Reviews: Hotpot
Written by: Erica Wee
As seen in the November 2018 issue of Lazy Faire magazine
With this month’s LF review article, we thought there would be no better dish to take a break from the cold with than hot pot. For those not familiar with the popular Chinese cooking method, hot pot is prepared with a simmering pot of soup stock, while ingredients are placed into the pot and cooked right at the table. What goes in is entirely up to you. It is most enjoyed with a group of friends and can be said to have a communal vibe, as everyone sits around the table and cooks their meal together. Does it sound a bit like fondue? Well it’s much better.
This week, I satisfied my craving by going to my usual spot, Chinese Hot Pot Buffet. The selection of broth is no doubt the best in the city, with cilantro & preserved egg, chinese herbs, and tom yum at the top of my list. The selection of thinly sliced meat (lamb being the favourite), seafood (such as mussels, squid, cuttlefish), veggies (such as winter melon, watercress, enoki mushrooms) and noodles is yet another reason that makes the hotpot experience so much better.
What makes Chinese Hot Pot Buffet different from other AYCE (all you can eat) hot pot is the setup of the restaurant. While at most hot pot restaurants you order the ingredients and they bring it out to you, here you have the freedom of taking your pick from the fully stocked buffet. Not only do you get that instant gratification, but the process makes it all the more exciting. Not into AYCE? No problem. This restaurant offers a late-night special after 9 p.m. where you will be able to satisfy your late- night cravings! Just pick a soup base, five items, and you’ll be set. This is also a great alternative for those who want to spend a fraction of the price and still satisfy those hot pot cravings you’ve been having for the whole week.
Tying into our theme of diversity this month, I found it fascinating that different cultures across Asia have adapted their own version of this comforting meal. Shabu Shabu from Japan is similar to Chinese hot pot, where thinly sliced meat is dipped into a simmering broth and swished back and forth to cook before being eaten. Sichuan hot pot from Sichuan Province, is known for being hot and spicy, with the aroma of numbing peppers, spicy bean paste and bay leaves in your mouth (and most likely making your eyes water and your nose run).
Now that you’ve read this review, I hope it inspires you to not only go out and have more hot pot this winter, but also to venture out and try diverse foods from across the world. If you love eating like I do, this shouldn’t be a problem!