Your Ultimate Guide to Eating Chinese Hot Pot in the Philippines
Our cravings for comfort food never ceases. So, as the rainy season continues, we’re introducing you to a one pot wonder that is better when shared and will warm you up from the top of your head to the tips of your toes!
IMAGE from Wow Cow Fresh Beef
Throughout Chinese history, hot pot has been on the tables of people from all walks of life— from fishermen who want to keep themselves warm to emperors and their royal cuisine.
Today, Chinese hot pot restaurants can be seen almost everywhere and has developed a lot of varieties for you to try.
Not just spicy soups?
Hot pot is usually served in a “communal pot” partitioned into two or three tanks. There are basically no rules as to the combination of soups, so you can choose whatever you like. However, if you are not a fan of spicy food, light soups made from chicken or beef broth are also recommended.
Two or three partitioned pots allow you to enjoy several kinds of soups / IMAGE from Xiao Long Kan
The best way to enjoy hot pot is to have it with your family and friends! Gather around a pot and dig in while enjoying each other’s company. However, one-person hot pots are also becoming a craze, and there’s also nothing wrong with enjoying a hot pot of soup on your own!
Put the meaty stuff first!
To make your own hot pot, there are a lot of ingredients that vary depending on your chosen restaurant. Common ingredients include meats like beef, pork, and lamb, seafood, fishballs, vegetables, noodles, tofu, and more.
Different restaurants serve varying hot pot ingredients / IMAGE from Tien Tien Hot Pot
There is no clear rule as to the order in which they are added, but basically, items that take a longer time to cook like carrots, corn, meat, seafood, and meatballs or fishballs that give flavor to the soup, are often added first. Noodles and vegetables are then added after.
Pro Tip: Instead of putting all the meat in first, you can also loop the meat with noodles or vegetables for a yummy combo!
Dipping sauce? Up to you!
Dipping sauce also varies from restaurant to restaurant, but the usual are garlic, chili, soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, peanut butter, and scallions. You can leave it up to the restaurant staff which dipping sauce to try, but it is also fun to mix it up yourself!
Combine your favorite sauces and condiments! / IMAGE from A1 Premium Shabu Shabu
You can add oyster sauce or peanut butter together if you want a sweet combination or simply use soy sauce and sesame oil just to elevate the taste of your hot pot ingredients. It’s totally up to you! You can even enjoy your hot pot without sauce if you’d like.
The Golden Rule
While the delicious meal will ultimately leave you wanting to dig in and slurp, making noise and lifting your plate while eating is not acceptable. In China, it is considered impolite to eat noisily, so be careful when sipping your hot pot soup or noodles.
What is acceptable, however, is to lift up your bowl to drink the soup and enjoy the meat, noodles, and vegetables! So, go ahead and lift that bowl up to savor the rest of your hot pot meal.
Craving for this delicious comfort meal? Watch out for our list of the best hot pot restaurants in the Metro!
Featured image from Chao Shan Beef Hot Pot