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How to Hot Pot? [moved from Pacific NW board]

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Wondering if any of you hounds could offer some guidance for novice hot-potters. We’re excited about going to Szechuan Chef and ordering the hot pot, but not sure of all the hows (aside from saying “we’d like the hot pot”). Is there anything we need to know to not botch anything? And to make this a great experience?

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  1. You'll have your choice of broths. One is a chicken/vegetable, aka: regular and the other is spicy.

    At Szechuan Chef (I get my hot pots confused), I believe you have a couple of choices as far as meats go. They affect the price. However, it'll be on the menu in plain English.

    You'll have a number of plates/platters with all of your hot pot items that will fill the table. Depending on your crowd, you'll likely want quite a few extra sets of chopsticks. Chopsticks for raw food, chopsticks for cooked. We usually hot pot with close friends or family, so we don't worry about sharing germs.

    At many hot pot places, the platters are bottomless, so just ask for more of whatever you want. Otherwise, enjoy!

    1. A few more tips to keep in mind,
      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/39340...

      6 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Thanks for that link, Melanie. I remembered that topic and couldn't find it.

        As you know, I might go for my first hot pot experience this weekend. The restaurant might have two types ... Beijing and Taiwanese. I know I've heard about Korean hot pot. So I was wondering about the differences.

        Here's a link to articles types of hot pot mentioned in these links ...

        http://www.sinica.edu.tw/tit/dining/0...
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_pot
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steamboa...

        Beijing (Peking)
        Cantonese - shacha
        Hong Kong
        Japanese - Nabemono
        Korean - Jjigae
        Manchurian
        Szechwan - maotu (hairy stomach
        )Thai - sukiyaki ... Coca hot pot a Thai chain
        Yunnan - Xishuangbanna
        Swiss "Hot Pot" aka fondue

        The last is funny to me since the articles mention sometimes hot pot is called Chinese fondue in the West. Perspective. Also it seems different in Asia with garlic flakes in the cheese and different dipping sauce for the meat/seafood versions.

        I'm surprise some smart chain hasn't introduced this in the US to a more mainstream population. It has all the earmarks of success ... unique fun outing ... some have ingrediants set out like a buffet and all you can eat ... some have shave ice bars ... family fun all around. I mean people get into ths stuff ... fondue, Mongolian bbq, benihana, Brazilian churriscos (sp).

        Interesting that those shave ice bars are there to cool off after the spicy hot pot.

        1. re: rworange

          Bear in mind that not all of these are do-it-yourself. Not sure about "shacha", we say da bin lo. Sukiyaki for Thai?!?

          That last reference to Swiss fondue is probably a comparison to fondue Bourguignonne made with beef in hot oil rather than cheese fondue.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Wiki said that when the chain Coco opened in 1957 and introduced this variation of hot pot, the song sukiyaki was popular, so they called it that. It doesn't have any resemblance or connection to the Japanese dish.

            1. re: rworange

              http://www.tammadathaicuisine.com/

              #99 on the online menu for this Tammada Thai in Union City is Thai style sukiyaki noodles.

          2. re: rworange

            To add to your list-
            Vietnam - lau (sounds like "low")
            Which is in adition to the vietnamese dish of raw beef dipped into a hotpot of vinegary broth.

            There is a street (more like alley) in Hanoi that has like 20 lau restaurants in a 1km stretch:
            http://www.noodlepie.com/2005/01/froz...

            1. re: rworange

              LoL.

              Having served hot Korean stews and soups for thirteen years, this is the first time that I have heard the term "Hot Pot".
              There were a variety of soups that were served boiling in a stone bowl, Soon dubo Jjiggae (a soft creamy tofu), Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi soup), Haemul jeoptang (mixed seafood soup).
              Also a non-soup dish called Dol Sot Bibimbap - a stone bowl with steamed rice topped with veggies like seasoned fresh spinach, soy bean sprouts, shredded Daikon, sweet potato stems, fiddle head sprouts, mung bean sprouts, with some shredded beef and an egg cracked on top of everything. Cooked until the rice at the bottom crisped and served steaming to the table.