Among many food trends that are currently dominating, one definitely has to be Hot Pot, at least in Karachi. There might be a chance that not a lot of people are familiar with on-going trend of trying out a live, interactive experience but those who love authentic Chinese food, will tell you they love it. Yes, it’s an acquired taste, but once you develop a taste for it, you crave it again and again.
Before digging right into it, what exactly is a hot pot dish?
The hotpot has been a dominant dish in China for at least 1,000 years now, particularly popular in the colder times of the year and the Chinese love devouring it. Some say the concept originated from Mongolia. As their social impact spread, so did the hot pot, taking on heap structures in Northern China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. Presently it is on menus across East Asia, and accompanies a wide exhibit of daintily cut ingredients you can cook, including meat, chicken and fish, along with whatever vegetables are in season.
A master hot pot dish comprises of a metal pot placed on a portable stove, the pot is filled with broth, oil, sometimes garlicky chilli oil and along with this, are placed uncooked food items to dip and sauces to have your dish with.
As for the dipping ingredients, they can be a combination of slim cut meats—from fish, veal, chicken to prawns as per your liking and meatballs, vegetables, noodles, fish balls, dumplings, and rice cakes that you can arrange individually. Now and again restaurants do offer blend platters with a decent range of proteins and vegetables. For instance, Wang Wang in Karachi offers one of the best Chinese hot pots with a variety of dipping ingredients and meat set that incorporates noodles, mushrooms and kale salad.
The appeal of hot pot seems to lie in the interactive social experience, other than the taste itself, of course. That you are free to essentially create your own little portion and cook for however little or long you want, as well as taste it your specifications, is a really interesting idea. It also makes for a great social experience as everyone can have their say and mix it up. There’s something satisfying about watching your meal cook right in front of you.
There are a couple of things to remember before you dive in. First thing to remember, cook your chosen ingredients properly and try to pace it to your eating speed. Take shrimp, for example. It will cook the quickest, so place that in right towards the end. Similarly, mushrooms may require more time while thin sliced meat would not take more than a min or two and could be overcooked and get extreme if cooked for longer time.
Also keep in mind that the food will be hot when you haul it out, so keep things relaxed, and ensure you trust that the soup will get bubbling again between groups. Smartly utilize the handheld containers or long cooking chopsticks to cook your food so you’re not utilizing similar utensils to eat and cook.
So this weekend, why not try out the infamous hot pot? A number of places in Karachi are offering it. As mentioned, Wang Wang is at the top of that list, but there’s also Pesto and even a restaurant named Hotpot itself. Check them out and don’t forget to share your experience.