Imagine setting in a circle with a bunch of strangers surrounding a cauldron of spoiling soup on a table full of wired looking ingredients. With all the chopsticks stirring at the same time in the same pot, who guarantee you won’t have serious diarrhoea afterwards? Therefore you must be fearless to have hotpot; it is a brave sharing experience after all.
The whole point of Oriental hotpot goes into the soup. You can find a red wine coloured hotpot with a layer of black-purple oil floating on the surface, immersed with a bunch of anonymous roots, stems and leaves in the bottom; or a yellowish muddy pot floating with animal organs or bones. All the food you are about to put in your mouth came from the luscious soup. It applies to most of the oriental hotpot such as butter pot from Szechuan, spicy hotpot from Taiwan and offal hotpot from Korea.
Another type of hotpot taste comparatively light as green onions being the main ingredients in the soup. Having this type of hotpot requires a lot of patient since it takes time for the soup to soak up the scent in the food you put in. Beijing’s mutton pot and Japanese crab shabu shabu are on this list.
Generally speaking, the best food for hotpot can arguably be Cephalomappa slice as it is the ideal meat to deliver the tangy soup into your mouth. This kind of sliced beef have the perfect thickness between too thick to hinder the meat soaking up the soup; or not thick enough to satisfy the joy of chewing. But when you come across with Szechuan butter pot, you may want to odder as much animal organ as possible. They goes the best with buttery soup drizzled with Garlic and sesame oil. As for the boiled mutton pot from Beijing, mutton of course will be your best choice. Who can resist a pinky wafer-thin mutton slice dipped with Tahini (sesame sauce) melt in your mouth?
Where to experience oriental hotpot in London?
Little Lamb – Renowned for their ‘herbal tonic and spicy twin-flavours pot’, Little Lamb serves the most authentic Chinese hotpot for Londoners. 72 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 6NA
Ikkyusan – Located in China town, Ikkyusan provide the most traditional Japanese style dieting experience as customer can set on traditional Japanese seats to enjoy the renowned Japanese hotpot. 39 Gerrard Street, Chinatown, London, W1D 5QD
Royal Palace – Highly praised Chinese hotpot restaurant, providing a wide range of authentic ingredients to go with the pot. Local Chinese often visits for a taste of home. 1b Rotherhithe Old Road, SE16 2PP
By Jennifer Chan