Hot pot, less commonly Chinese fondue or
steamboat, refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a
simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot
pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the
Left: Raw meats ready to be cooked.
Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leafy
wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood. The
cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce. In many areas, hot pot meals
are often eaten in the winter.
Today in many modern homes, particularly in the big cities,
the traditional coal-heated steamboat or hot pot has been replaced by electric
or gas versions.
Frozen meat is sliced deli-thin to prepare it for hot pot
cooking. Slicing frozen meat this way causes it to roll up during cooking, and
it is often presented as such. Meats used include lamb, beef, chicken, and
others. The cooking pot is often sunk into the table and fueled by propane, or
alternatively is above the table and fueled by a portable butane gas stove or
hot coals. Meat or vegetables are loaded individually into the hot cooking broth
by chopsticks, and cooking time is brief. Meat often only takes 15 to 30 seconds
Because steamboat and hot pot styles change so much from
region to region, many different ingredients are used.
There are often disagreements between different styles of hot pot enthusiasts.
Some like to place items into the hot pot at a relaxed, leisurely pace, enjoying
the cooking process, while others prefer to throw everything in at once and wait
for the hotpot to return to a boil.