Hot pot

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This article is about East Asian varieties of stew. For other uses, see Hot pot (disambiguation).
Hot pot
Raw foods ready to be cooked
Alternative names steamboat
Course Main dishes
Place of origin Mongolia, China
Main ingredients meat, leaf vegetables, mushrooms, dumplings, and seafood
Cookbook: Hot pot  Media: Hot pot
Hot pot
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 火鍋
Simplified Chinese 火锅
Literal meaning fire pot
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 打邊爐 or 打甂爐
Simplified Chinese 打边炉 or 打甂炉
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese lẩu

Hot pot (also known as steamboat in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines China and Brunei), refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leaf vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce. Hot pot meals are usually eaten in the winter during supper time.


The Chinese hot pot has a history of more than 1,000 years.[1] Hot pot seems to have originated in Mongolia and the Jin Dynasty where the main ingredient was meat, usually beef, mutton or horse. It then spread to southern China during the Song Dynasty and was further established during the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty.[1] In time, regional variations developed with different ingredients such as seafood. By the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644 to 1912), the hot pot became popular throughout most of China. Today in many modern homes, particularly in larger cities, the traditional coal-heated steamboat or hot pot has been replaced by electric, propane, butane gas, or induction cooker versions.

Common ingredients[edit]

Regional variations[edit]

Steamboat at Smoke BBQ Company
Combination of hot-pot and barbecue

Mainland China[edit]

Different kinds of hot pots can be found in Beijing – typically, more modern eateries offer the sectioned bowl with differently flavored broths in each section. More traditional or older establishments serve a fragrant, mild broth in the hot pot, which is a large brass vessel heated by burning coals in a central chimney. The broth is boiled in a deep, donut-shaped bowl surrounding the chimney.

One of the most famous variations is the Chongqing (Chungking) má là (Chinese: 麻辣 – "numb and spicy") hot pot, to which Sichuan pepper (Chinese: 花椒 huā jiāo "flower pepper"; also known as "prickly ash") is added. It is usual to use a variety of different meats as well as sliced mutton fillet. A Chongqing hotpot is markedly different from the types eaten in other parts of China. Quite often the differences lie in the meats used, the type of soup base, and the sauces and condiments used to flavor the meat. Má là huǒ guō could be used to distinguish from simply huǒ guō in cases when people refer to the "Northern Style Hot Pot" in China. Instant-boiled mutton (Chinese: 涮羊肉; pinyin: Shuàn Yángròu) could be viewed as representative of this kind of food, which does not focus on the soup base.

In neighbouring Yunnan, although spicy broths are equally popular, there is another predominant type of hot pot that is made with various wild or planted mushrooms. The big difference between the mushroom hot pot and the spicy hot pot is that the former rarely uses spice and chili in order to keep the original flavor of the mushrooms. The mushroom hot pot is also seasonal, depending on the availability of local mushrooms.

The Manchurian hot pot (Chinese: 東北酸菜火鍋) uses plenty of suan cai (Chinese sauerkraut) (Chinese: 酸菜; pinyin: suān cài) to make the pot's stew sour.

A Cantonese variation includes mixing a raw egg with the condiments to reduce the amount of "heat" absorbed by the food, thereby reducing the likelihood of a sore throat after the steamboat meal, according to Chinese herbalist theories. It is often seen as a social event for people in Hong Kong.[2] Another variant includes the use of rice congee in place of stock.

In Hubei, hot pot is normally prepared with hot spice and Sichuan pepper. Items supplied to be cooked in this broth include mushrooms, thinly-shaved beef or lamb, lettuce, and various other green vegetables.

In Hainan cuisine hot pot is generally served in small woks with a prepared broth containing pieces of meat. At the time of serving, the meat is not fully cooked. Approximately fifteen minutes is required before it is ready to eat. Items supplied to be cooked in this type of hot pot include mushrooms, thinly shaved beef or goat meat (referred to as mutton), lettuce, and other green vegetables. This dish varies somewhat in different parts of the province.


In Japan, hot pot dishes are called nabemono. There are dozens of varieties of hot pots, and each hot pot has a distinguished flavor and style.

Sukiyaki is one of the most popular hot pot dishes among the Japanese, and undoubtedly the most well-known hot pot overseas, particularly in English-speaking parts of the world. Sukiyaki hot pot is served with sliced beef, vegetables and tofu in a sweet sauce based on soy sauce, which is only used in small amounts, enough for the ingredients to merge in a shallow iron pot. Before being eaten, the ingredients are usually dipped in a small bowl of raw, beaten eggs.

Shabu-shabu is another popular hot pot in Japan. Shabu-shabu hot pot is prepared by submerging a very thin slice of meat or a piece of vegetable in a pot of broth made with kelp (kombu) and swishing it back and forth several times. The familiar swishing sound is where the dish gets its name. Shabu-shabu directly translates to "swish swish." Cooked meat and vegetables are usually dipped in ponzu or goma (sesame seed) sauce before eating. Once the meat and vegetables have been eaten, leftover broth from the pot is customarily combined with the remaining rice, and the resulting soup is usually eaten last.

Because the shabu-shabu hot pot cooks beef "blue rare" to rare, use of high-grade Japanese beef is preferred. Typically, shabu-shabu is considered a fine dining dish, due to the quality of the meat used, and the price charged for it at restaurants in Japan.

Both sukiyaki and shabu-shabu, rice or noodle is cooked with remained broth along with additional ingredients at the very end of the meal. This menu is called shime, ending the meal. Traditionally, hot pots are considered fall and winter dishes.

Other regions[edit]

In the Taiwanese hot pot, also called shabu-shabu due to Japanese influence, people eat the food with a dipping sauce consisting of shacha sauce and raw egg yolk.

In Thailand, hotpot is called Thai suki, although it is quite different from the Japanese shabu-shabu variation called sukiyaki. Originally a Chinese-style hot pot, the number of ingredients to choose from was greatly increased and a Thai-style dipping sauce with chili sauce, chilli, lime and coriander leaves was added. Another variation is the Mu kratha, the Thai Hot Pot. It originated from the Korean barbecue and combines it with the Thai suki.[3]

In Vietnam, a hot pot is called lẩu or cù lao, and the sour soup called canh chua is often cooked in hot pot style (called lẩu canh chua). The generic term for a salted fish hot pot is lẩu mắm.

See also[edit]

Related dishes[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Beijing service highlight
  2. ^ CNN Go 40 Hong Kong foods we can't live without 13 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-09
  3. ^ MooJaa, Mookata Thai BBQ Steamboat, 19. October 2015.

External links[edit]