According to Wikipedia,
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.
Well, lucky me found a new local Hot Pot spot! Its a Taiwanese Hot Pot restaurant. I have never eaten this style of aisian food but you can bet your booty, I was ALL IN! I was so excited to go. A friend and I visited last night. I have to say it was awesome! Plus, we had a great waitress who explained everything to us!
First, we got there before every seat was taken and that was at 6pm. Crazy crowded, but its still new in the area. So we got seated at was what I would describe as a bar, as in sushi bar. We sat next to each other. 80% of the seats are like this, but there are tables. I would not recommend waiting for one to open, because it will be a long wait. On the weekends they have a maximum sitting time of 2 hours. So we sat next to each other, with our individual hot pots built in to the table above our eating area.
There are six different broth styles to choose from. They all have a base of lemongrass. I chose the Tom Kha broth which had coconut milk added to the broth. My friend had the base lemongrass broth. That one is the most popular one. In the picture above you can see my broth in the metal pot with ladle leaning on it. My eating space is just below the pot.
Next, you go to the protein station. There is a enclosed case with thinly slice red meats and then another area with everything else. The proteins included so many things I cannot even remember them all. Here is a bunch of things I remember…beef, lamb, pork, gizzards, chicken, clams, crab, calamari, shrimp, scallops, frogs legs, marrow, octopus, bean thread, tofu, pigs blood, intestine, tilapia, various types of fish balls, etc. Ok I cheated, I could remember half of them. There were many more I did not list.
After choosing a plate of proteins, you can then do to the sauce station and take some of about 20 different sauces and ingredients back to your table. There were things like soy sauce, hoisin sauce, Asian bbq sauce, fish sauce, garlic, cilantro, chili sauce, etc. I cannot remember them all. The waitress made us a combination of sauce that the people in the know make. It was very good.
Once you gather up everything you just start adding your food into the broth to cook. Some people familiar with that style of eating just loaded up their pots from the get go, dumped the contents of their plates right into the broth. Others added a bit at a time. I started slow but eventually just started dropping stuff in.
There are also other accompaniments that rotate around the restaurant on a conveyor belt. This includes all your veggies and noodles. There was a ton of different mushroom varieties, lettuces, watercress, zucchini, carrots, corn, ramen, dumplings, fish cakes, and more.
They have desserts also. They have fruits, cakes and ice cream.
We were there just under 2 hours, as it really does take a long time to figure it all out, gather your foods, cook, eat, talk, and get more food! It was definitely an experience for me that I would love to try again.