Interactive tabletop cooking, such as Korean barbecue or fondue, is always a fun activity for a group of diners. Hot pot (sometimes called steamboat) provides another fun tabletop option. It involves cooking an assortment of meat, seafood, vegetables, and noodles in a table top pot of seasoned broth.
Hot pot's origins are the chilly steppes of Mongolia, but variations are found all over Asia. Within China, the country with which hot pot is most frequently associated, mushroom broths, spicy broths with Sichuan peppers and hot pepper oil, or sour preserved vegetable broths cook and flavor the food, which is then dipped in a sauce that likely features Mongolian barbecue sauce (containing brill shrimp, dried shrimp, garlic, and shallots), chili paste, sesame oil, soy sauce, raw egg, scallions, and cilantro.
In Japan, find shabu-shabu, which features a kombu-based stock and a ponzu- or sesame seed-based dipping sauce. And in Vietnam, they serve lẩu featuring a sour broth flavored with lemongrass, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, and tamarind.
The most common items that go into a hot pot are thinly-shaved beef, chicken, pork, and lamb, as well as quick-cooking chunks of fish, squid, octopus, and shrimp as well as meatball forms of these proteins. All of these proteins deepen the flavor of the broth, which is sopped up by various forms of tofu and vegetables like napa cabbage and wood ear mushroom that are added later.
Now that the weather's getting cooler, there's a new excuse to visit these restaurants (this map has been updated with a couple of 2016 newcomers this time around). And stay tuned for more hot pot to come: Little Dipper is heading to Rockville, while Little Sheep is bound for Eden Center.
—Updated by Missy FrederickRead More