Variations of Hot Pot: A Delicious Tour Around the World
Hot pot is a dish famous for its communal dining experience. It involves cooking raw ingredients in a bubbling pot of broth, usually placed at the center of the table. Each person then dips their cooked food in a variety of sauces before savoring the flavors. Originating in China, various hot pot styles have developed worldwide. Here are some of the most popular varieties.
Shabu-Shabu: The Japanese Twist
Shabu-shabu is a hot pot style originating from Japan. The name comes from the sound the ingredients make when swished in the hot broth. Unlike other hot pot styles, shabu-shabu uses thinly sliced meat, such as beef or pork, and vegetables, like napa cabbage and enoki mushrooms. The dipping sauce typically consists of citrusy ponzu sauce, sesame sauce, and grated daikon radish.
Tom Yum: The Spicy and Sour Thai Hot Pot
Tom yum hot pot is a Thai variation known for its spicy and sour flavors. The soup base is made from a combination of lemongrass, galangal, chili pepper, lime, and fish sauce. Its ingredients include seafood, mushroom, and meatballs. The dipping sauce comprises of Thai chili sauce, soy sauce, and chili flakes that perfectly elevates the flavors.
Korean Budae Jjigae: The Army Stew Inspired Hot Pot
Budae jjigae hot pot is a popular variation in Korea, with history rooted in the aftermath of the Korean War. It features an unusual combination of processed meat products, such as sausages, ham, and spam, alongside vegetables like onions, mushrooms, and tofu. The broth of Budae Jjigae is spicy and flavorful, making it ideal for cold winters.
Cheese: The Swiss Cheese Heaven
Switzerland has embraced hot pot culture with cheese fondue, a communal meal that features a hot pot filled with melted cheese. The classic mixture utilizes Gruyere, Emmental, and Vacherin Fribourgeois. The dipper ingredients range from vegetables like broccoli and tomatoes to bread cubes. The melted cheese sauce is perfect for dipping and is often served with a glass of white wine.
Sichuan: The Spice-Lovers Delight
The Sichuan-style hot pot is a fiery and numbing variation of this delicious dish. Sichuan peppercorns and chili pepper create an invigorating broth. The ingredients include lamb slices, mushrooms, and leafy greens. When eating Sichuan hot pot, the sauce is paramount to balance the flavors. It consists of sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and cilantro that add an extra zing to the dish.