The next time you decide to go out for a Chinese meal, why not try something outside of the norm. Chow Mein and fried rice are great, but Chinese cuisine offers so much more. One of the most popular dishes is the Chinese Hot Pot; not only is it a delicious alternative to the usual Chinese dishes, it is also a great meal for large groups and really encourages the social aspects of an amazing culinary experience. Here is a brief guide to Chinese Hot Pots and why they are so popular.
The History of the Hot Pot
Chinese Hot Pots are nothing new. Although it is just starting to become a trend in Chinese cuisine here in Canada, the Hot Pot has been around for more than 1000 years. It can trace its origins back to the Jin Dynasty and probably originated in Mongolia. Over time, the dish evolved and began taking on more of a local vibe by combining different ingredients and flavours. By the Qing Dynasty the Hot Pot was being enjoyed all over China.
What is a Hot Pot?
A Chinese Hot Pot consists of a metal wok or pot that holds some type of a boiling broth. This broth is heated by a gas burner or more traditionally with charcoal. Different ingredients are then dipped into the bowl to allow them to cook. Some of the more popular vegetarian ingredients are mushrooms, potatoes, cabbage and tofu. Once the ingredients have been thoroughly cooked, they are removed from the broth and dipped into a wide selection of dips that accompany the Hot Pot.
The two most popular types of Hot Pot are the Sichuan Hot Pot and the Beijing Hot Pot. The Sichuan Hot Pot is served with a broth that includes the Sichuan pepper and can be extremely spice. If you are looking to challenge your taste buds and try some unique but spicy flavor combinations, this Hot Pot is for you.
The Beijing Hot Pot is more representative of northern China and is not as spicy as the Sichuan variety. Instead, the Beijing Hot Pot is served with a clear broth which is comprised of lighter seasonings such as ginger.
Enjoying a Hot Pot
The Chinese Hot Pot is about the overall experience. The Hot Pot experience is a way to socialize while enjoying a delicious and healthy meal. A Hot Pot lunch or dinner can take hours to complete, if you so choose, as the overall experience encourages socialization and is a great way to bring friends and family together. This is one of the reasons as to why the Hot Pot is so popular in China and is quickly gaining popularity here in Canada.
When you are adding ingredients to the Hot Pot, it is important to add ingredients that will take longer to cook first. Then begin to add ingredients that will take less time to cook so you can enjoy different flavours at the same time. It is also very important to make sure that all of your ingredients are properly and thoroughly cooked so that they can be enjoyed and bring out their full flavour. Once all ingredients are cooked to your liking, it is time to enjoy the full and unique flavours that Chinese Hot Pots provide and try the different sauces that accompany the dish.
A Chinese Hot Pot is something that everyone should experience. It is a healthy and delicious alternative to the traditional Chinese cuisine and provides a great opportunity for friends and family to get together and enjoy good conversation and great food. At Panz Veggie, we would love to help provide you with a positive and exciting Hot Pot experience. Stop by today and let us introduce you to and help you enjoy the overall Chinese Hot Pot experience. We look forward to seeing you soon!