17 May, 2015

Mongolian Hot Pots – Chinese Regional Variations

火锅 – huǒ guō – Mongolian hot pot 
火锅 (“huoguo” or “hot pot” in English) is a kind of stew which is popular in China, Thailand, Singapore and some other Asian countries. It is believed to be invented about 1,000 years ago. 

火锅 – huǒ guō – Mongolian hot pot 

At the center of the dining table, there is a big pot with broth that is kept simmering. Those participating in the dinner can take fresh ingredients and place them into the broth (using chopsticks). So, all food is cooked at the table. It is a very relaxing and pleasant experience. 

In the vast majority of restaurants, the cooking pots are sunk into the table or, alternatively, hung above it. Gas and hot coals may be used as a fuel. Nowadays, inductor cookers are widely used.

The broth is commonly cooked of water, salt and soup base. Meat ingredients vary, but thinly sliced lamb and beef balls are among the most popular. You can also find fish, prawns, mussels, squids, tofu, egg dumplings, Chinese noodles, spinach, lettuce, bean sprouts and mushrooms on menu. 

two soup hot pot
鸳鸯锅 – yuān yang guō –
double soup pot (Yuanyang hot pot) 
Hot pots have many regional variations. Chongqing hot pot is the most well-known across the world by its spiciness. Sichuan pepper is usually added to the hop pot which makes its taste unforgettable. The sensation on the tongue is described by a special word: 麻辣 – má là – very spicy (”numb and spicy”).

However, to suit different customers’ preferences, nowadays, in many Chinese restaurants sweet, sour and salty flavors are also available. If you want to try both spicy and mild taste, 鸳鸯锅 is for you. It is a pot with a divider (spicy broth on one side, and mild soup on another). 

鸳鸯锅 – yuān yang guō – double soup pot (Yuanyang hot pot) 

shēng huó yǒu shí hòu jiù xiàng shì zhè yuān yāng huǒ guō, yǒu rén kàn tā yī bàn shì mǎn de, yǒu rén kàn tā yī bàn shì kōng de
Sometimes life is like a Yuanyang hot pot: some people see it half full, some people see it half empty.

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