Hot Potting in China

Ernst and Gwenda sharing a hot pot with our importer, Michael from Jiangxi Imports in China.
Ernst and Gwenda sharing a hot pot with our importer, Michael from Jiangxi Imports in China.

For those of you not familiar with the concept of the hot pot, it is the Asian version of fondue. In China hot pots differ from region to region, almost like the speaking of different dialects.  The base is a heated pot standing on a burner in the middle of the table with, simmering with a broth of choice. Different kinds of meat, mostly chicken, pork or beef, which has been cut into small bite size portions as well as vegetables or fish, will be passed around.  Guests will pick their choice and put it into the cooking broth until it is ready.  Different sauces, ranging from spicy hot to really hot, will add flavour to the cooked food.  The meat and vegetables dishes will be served before the fish. A special meal can consist solely out of mushroom (serving a variety of mushrooms cooked in this way).  Gwenda once shared a mushroom hot pot where the broth was made from cooking a turtle which was served right at the end of the meal. Needless to say, it came as a complete surprise and unfortunately by then, she no longer had an appetite.  Apart from the different versions of hot pot, there is one universal rule —you don’t “hot pot” when you don’t know what is being served.  

Hot Pot Lamb Recipe


  • Soy Sauce
  • ·Sesame Paste
  • ·Preserved (fermented) bean curd
  • ·Chili Oil
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Red Rice Vinegar


  • 6 cups lamb or chicken stock
  • ·1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • ·1 Slice ginger
  • ·2 Green onions
  • ·1 kg boneless lamb
  • 1 – 2 Cakes bean curd
  • ·0.5 kg green vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage, bok choy, or spinach
  • · 100 grams bean thread (vermicelli) noodles


  1. Cut the lamb into paper thin rectangular slices. Slice the bean curd.
  2. Wash, drain, and chop the vegetables. Prepare any side dishes that you are planning to serve.
  3. Lay the lamb, chopped vegetables, and side dishes on separate platters on the table. Place the dipping sauces on the table in small individual bowls. Make sure each guest has a complete place setting, including a dipping fork (color-coded if possible) and a small bowl for placing the cooked food.
  4. Bring the broth with the dark soy sauce to a boil, and add the ginger and green onion. Transfer enough broth so that the fondue pot is approximately 2/3 – 3/4 full. (How much broth you need will depend on the size of the fondue pot).
  5. ·Place the fondue pot on the burner, and keep it simmering throughout the meal. Keep the remaining broth warming on the stovetop.
  6. To serve, invite guests to spear the food with a dipping fork and cook briefly in the broth until cooked, then dip the cooked food in the sauces as desired.
  7. Use a dipping basket to cook the vegetables in batches in the hot broth and ladle out into the soup bowls. Cook the noodles and serve at the end of the meal.



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