The cold weather came and went (and please come again?) in Hong Kong, but that’s nothing to stop us locals from enjoying some hot pot action.
While the many hot pot variations are indeed becoming more similar (thanks to globalization), there’s a wide range of hot pot styles stemming from different Asian cultures. These days, the dishes available across hot pot restaurants would be very similar: from meats to veggies, to fried food for dunking, and some signature dish with a creative twist.
Today, we’re going to break it down a little for you:
1. Taiwanese Hot Pot
Within the Taiwanese culture alone, there is a wide range of hot pot varieties. The most popular soup bases available in Hong Kong are the Taiwanese “Ma La” spicy pot (麻辣), the pickled cabbage with pork belly pot (酸菜白肉), and smelly tofu pot (臭豆腐). My favorite dish to order from Taiwanese hot pot restaurants is the duck blood curd (鴨血). I know, this sounds more than disturbingly gross, but there was no going back after I got adventurous and decided to try this chewy local delicacy during a Taipei trip.
2. Mainland Chinese Hot Pot
Again, so much going on. Famous varieties range from lamb hot pot (涮羊肉) from the north to seafood pots, Sichuan “Ma La” spicy soup, drunken chicken soup to pork bone soup.
3. Hong Kong Hot Pot
What can I say? We’ve got everything going on. While there’s lots of fusion action happening, Hong Kong locals are creative and extremely driven to offer dishes and menus to adapt to the market. We have tomato soup bases, clam pots, and crazy creations like the deep fried dough stuffed with cuttlefish paste (油炸鬼墨魚滑).
4. Japanese Shabu Shabu
While the Taiwanese and Chinese hot pots are quite heavy on the dishes, Japanese hot pot (shabu shabu) by comparison tend to have a lighter broth (or milk broth) which allows for more appreciation for the dishes (usually beef and an assortment of veggies).