Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hot Pot Fun

My Love of food is firmly routed in the passion for food of both of my parents. It is no surprise that the primary focus of each of their wants and desires for a Birthday celebration (or any celebration for that matter) revolve around food.  For my Mother's recent birthday, she requested that we all go out to a local Chinese restaurant for a Hot Pot dinner. Despite my overwhelming love for Chinatown in any city in this country, and the many Dim Sum meals and other great chinese food I have eaten over the years, I have never actually had a Hot Pot or Shabu Shabu  meal, so was very happy to accommodate her request!

Some of you may have seen this type of meal from the sidewalk side of the restaurant window. A large table with a pot set into the middle of it filled with simmering broth, perfect for cooking a large assortment of thinly sliced meat, fish and vegetables by the diners armed with chopsticks, a long handled cooking basket and a hungry belly.

The selection at the Great Wall of China in New Haven, CT worked well for vegetarians as well as meat eaters alike. We had two types of broth, one basic, one spicy with szechuan peppercorn. It is recommended that meat and fish be cooked in the broth first to help add flavor, followed by vegetables and noodles. Periodically a waiter added boiling water to the pot to make up for broth that had evaporated or been absorbed by noodles. Additional sauces were available to add flavor as well.

Over all it was a fun meal. I was not wowed by the flavors, but it was definitely good, and worth the experience.

Popular Hot Pot Restaurants
I have not tried all of these personally, but wanted to list some of the popular restaurants around the country to get you started. Feel free to read reviews on Yelp or ChowHound and have a little food adventure of your own. 
New Haven, CT: Great Wall of China
Boston: Shabu Zen

Have you eaten Shabu Shabu or Hot Pot before? Please comment below and share your thoughts!