As Chinese New Year approaches, more and more restaurants are coming up with new promotional packages for reunion dinner. However, for those that prefer home-cooked meals, a traditional dish for a reunion dinner is Chinese Hot Pot.
Nothing beats the warmth and happiness of eating at a round table with your family, sharing conversations while filling tummies with many rounds of hot soups.
Origins Of Chinese Hot Pot
Surprisingly, Hot Pot was not created by the Chinese. About 800 to 900 years ago, the Mongolians created this concept of eating with a few people by dipping raw meats and vegetable into a bowl of hot soup broth.
It eventually spread throughout the region of China, where this culture and tradition remains to this day. The oldest Chinese Hot Pot dates back to1900 years ago in ChongQing, China.
During the ancient days, Chinese Hot Pot was generally consumed by the local fishermen working on the rivers in the country.
What is Inside a Hot Pot?
The typical broth for a traditional Chinese Hot Pot is pork broth or chicken stock. For pork and chicken stock broth, people will usually add in corns and vegetables to make the soup sweeter and more fragrant.
In Malaysia, we have a lot of broth types to choose from for our Hot Pot cravings. Tom Yam is a standard go-to Hot Pot broth choice as it boosts the appetite. Another popular option of Hot Pot soup base among Malaysian is the Mala soup base.
Mala Hot Pot originated from ChongQing, China, whereby the broth contains peppercorns, fresh chillies, chilli oil, Sichuan peppers. Hence, this broth is exceptionally spicy and tongue-numbing for most people. However, most of us are adventurous enough to order this soup base every time we crave for Hot Pot.
So, the ingredients used for Chinese Hot Pot dishes are vegetables, all sorts of mushrooms, pork belly slices, beef slices, meatballs, squids, black fungus, tofu puffs, dumplings, chicken, pork, prawns, crab sticks, noodles, fish balls, shellfish, firm tofus and many more.
How Do You Eat Chinese Hot Pot?
Generally, when eating Chinese Hot Pot, there should be at least two or more people. Chinese Hot Pot are created to eat among a group of people. Thus this idea is used to celebrate reunion dinner during Chinese New Year, whereby all the family members gather together on the night for waves of laughter and catching up.
Since it is a cultural dish, dipping of ingredients into the soup broths are supposed to be hygienic and comfortable for everyone. Usually, ladles will be placed on the table to ease the dipping process for everyone.
Furthermore, everyone is supposed to take turns when it comes to taking the food items for themselves. It is considered good manners for the younger ones to take dishes for their elders and leave some ingredients in the Hot Pot for other people to consume.
Where To Get Chinese Hot Pot?
As a matter of fact, Chinese Hot Pot can be done at home. Although it is a bit troublesome and clean-up is needed after that, it can undoubtedly bring happiness among family members.
If you feel like eating out, there are a lot of Chinese Hot Pot restaurants in Malaysia. Here are some suggestions for you:
- Zi Wei Yuan Steamboat
- Hong La Jiao Steamboat
- Chong Qing Lao Huo Guo
- Haidilao Hot Pot
- Golden Gate Steamboat
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