Hot Pot

Some of you may remember James from a post I did some weeks back. Last night, he invited me to go to Boston with him for a traditional hot-pot dinner. James grew up eating hot-pot and I’ve heard him talking about it since we met two years ago. I have to say that as someone who has always eaten American-ized Chinese food, I was excited about this outing.

Hot-pot is much like fondue. You have a pot filled with broth in which you cook various foods that you order. First you have to select the broth. James comes from a region of China that favors spicy foods, so we had a bowl divided with a spicy, red Szechuan broth and a tame yet flavorful mushroom broth. You can see the bowl and James in the main image. The bowl is placed on a heating element built into the table and heated to boiling. Next, each of us was provided with a small bowl of soy sauce. The little white containers you see are filled with flavorings to mix into your soy sauce. We added four: garlic, green onion, salty fish paste, and spicy red paste. As the broths cooked, the waiter brought us the food we ordered to go in the pot: thinly slice beef and lamb (pictured with the rice), broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms, Chinese yams, tofu skins (which looked like noodles), noodles and quail eggs.

James expertly cooked each in turn and served them. We dipped them in our soy sauce and then ate them. Oh, if you ever do this with quail eggs, let them cool a bit before eating them (ouch). Everything was really tasty. The spicy broth and sauce was spicy. I slowed down on the spice about half way through the meal. Also, I had ordered the white rice and used it to counter the spice when my mouth became too hot.

This was really a unique experience and not something that I would have been likely to try without someone who knew that they were doing. The reality is that is was not that difficult. The food was good and the process made it fun. It was also really healthy. We left there full, but there was no oil or frying involved and the only sauce was the soy sauce. Everything came to the table really fresh with little processing. I thanked James profusely for this rare opportunity, and I was proud when he gave my chopstick skills and A+.


29 thoughts on “Hot Pot

  1. Garfield Hug

    Aah what you had is what we call ‘steam boat’ in lil red dot. The spicy broth is ‘mala’ hot broth. We have 3 levels of spicy for mala. You are brave to try mala hot pot. Mala originated from Zhongjing I was told and it goes well with 8 treasures tea served with skill through a 3 feet long spout of a copper kettle. I love mala hot pot too. Next time you eat it, order abalone mushrooms or golden needles mushrooms as it goes very well with it and shabu shabu sliced pork. Enjoy😃

    1. milfordstreet Post author

      “Steam boat” seems like a good nickname. Yes, I saw “mala” on the menu. It was good. We had long thin mushrooms, which did not look like and mushroom, I’d ever seen. Thank you for the recommendations. Cheers

  2. Miss Gentileschi

    What a wonderful outing, Chris! I love hot-pot! My Chinese friend and her boyfriend did this once for me at their home, also with a spicy and not so spicy brew (after one bite I stayed with the not-spicy one 😉 ). It was so much fun to try out all the lovely things she had prepared, thin sliced meats and veggies and tofu. It took us two hours at least to eat it all! And like you said, it´s very healthy too!

  3. Sohair

    Such a great meal …Chinese people are creative in all fields of life…they are genius indeed…
    Great post Chris thanks for sharing …

  4. Miriam Hurdle

    I have invited friends over to have hot-pot dinner years ago. It was fun. I’m glad you enjoyed it. We only ear authentic Chinese food, when I go to “New China Town” once a month.

    1. milfordstreet Post author

      It’s so much healthier than the Americanized version. The problem is that growing up eating American Chinese food leaves me at a loss as to what to order when it comes to authentic food. Cheers

  5. The Coastal Crone

    Very interesting! It seems a very intimate way to share a meal and healthy too. One of the student VITA volunteers was from Thailand and she often brought her lunch and it was always healthy.

      1. milfordstreet Post author

        Well they cook one or two items at a time and each is cut up pretty small. The cooking time is really short but you’re always cooking and eating. It’s worth a try. Cheers

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