A Northern Chinese
dish, served in the winter
to warm the people. It isn't Mongolian
, having existed in Korea
as well as Mongolia
for ages. Restaurants
that serve hotpot
with a large circular hole in the center, with a stove
placed under it. A large iron
pot (more like a wok
) is placed over the hole, and ingredients are tossed in, cooked, then eaten on the spot. Hence, it is like a big soup
with everything mixed in.
The "soup" stock is of the utmost importance. Conventionally, spices are used, along with hot peppers to give it the spicy edge. Meats, ranging from lamb to beef to venison are thrown into the pot. Tofu and vegetables can also be served. Each diner gets a large sieve to cook with, the boiling hot stock cooks the very thinly sliced meats in mere seconds. It is then dipped in hot sauces. A very tasty combination. Beer is usually drunken in large quantities to go with the spicy flavor. It really does wonders against cold weather.
Hotpot has a unique DIY feel to it, because all the stuff arrived uncooked and you can cook it to your needs. A nice dining experience, especially with a group of good friends. When cooked properly, hotpot is very tasty, but beware undercooked meat, it tastes nasty. Overcooked meat is stringly and flavorless, and should also be avoided. If you're too drunk to cook the stuff yourself, one should ask a waiter to help. Happened to me a few times.