Hotpot is a communal dish of Chinese origin where diners cook thinly sliced meat, seafood, vegetables, and tofu at their own table in a simmering pot of soup broth. The cooked food is then dipped in a sauce before eating.
The word “hotpot” comes from the Chinese words “huo” (火), meaning “fire” and “guo” (锅) meaning “pot”. The Chinese name for hotpot, Huo Guo/火锅, literally means “fire pot”.
Hotpot is a popular dish in many parts of Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. There are many different variations of hotpot, each with its own unique flavour and style. But at its core, hotpot is a social experience where people gather around a pot of soup and cook their own food.
History Of Hotpot
The history of hotpot is long and storied, dating back centuries to China. The exact origins of hotpot are unknown, but there are many legends and stories about how it came to be.
One legend says that hotpot was invented by Mongolian horsemen who would boil meat in their helmets over open fires. Another legend says that hotpot was invented by an emperor who demanded a meal of lamb leg before a battle, and his cook chopped up the meat and boiled it in a pot to make it cook faster.
Whatever its origins, hotpot became popular in China during the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD). During this time, hotpot was often served at banquets and other special occasions. It was also a popular dish among the common people, as it was a relatively inexpensive and easy way to cook food.
Hotpot grew popular in China during the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD). During this time, hotpot restaurants began to appear in major cities. Hotpot also began to spread to other parts of Asia, such as Japan and Korea.
In the 19th century, hotpot was introduced to Europe and the United States. It has since become a popular dish in these countries as well.
Today, hotpot is enjoyed by people globally. There are many different variations of hotpot, each with its own unique flavour and style. But at its core, hotpot is a communal meal that brings people together.
Here are some of the most popular types of hotpot:
- Sichuan hotpot: This type of hotpot is known for its spicy broth and flavorful ingredients.
- Chongqing hotpot: This type of hotpot is even spicier than Sichuan hotpot. It is also known for its use of chilli peppers.
- Peking hotpot: This type of hotpot is milder than Sichuan or Chongqing hotpot. It is often served with a clear broth and various seafood and vegetables.
- Japanese hotpot: This type of hotpot is known for using dashi broth and thinly sliced meat and vegetables.
- Korean hotpot: This type of hotpot is known for using kimchi and other Korean ingredients.
No matter what type of hotpot you enjoy, it will surely be a delicious and fun dining experience.
Hotpot Dining Etiquettes And Techniques
Here are the basic steps of eating hotpot:
- The hotpot is brought to the table, and the broth is brought to a simmer.
- The diners then choose various meats, seafood, vegetables, and tofu ingredients to be cooked in the hotpot.
- They then cook their chosen ingredients in the broth until they are cooked to their liking.
- The cooked food is then dipped in a sauce before eating.
The most common sauces for hotpot are soy sauce, sesame oil, and chilli sauce. But many other sauces, such as hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, and sweet and sour sauce, can be used.
Hotpot is a fun and interactive dining experience perfect for groups of people. It is a great way to try new foods and to get creative with your sauces. So next time you want a delicious and fun meal, try hotpot.
Here are some additional tips for enjoying hotpot:
- Start with the milder ingredients and work up to the spicier ones.
- Don’t overcrowd the pot, or the broth will cool down.
- If you use a spicy broth, have plenty of water or other drinks on hand.
- Have fun, and feel free to experiment with different ingredients and sauces.
Places To Have Hotpot
There are so many places to enjoy a delicious hotpot meal in Singapore, Xiao Mu Deng being one of the best! Check out our other blog article on The Top 10 Best Hotpot Restaurants in Bedok, Singapore next!