I’m going to interrupt the chronological(ish) order of my backlogged posts for something much more recent but as it gets closer to the holidays, I feel compelled to talk about my favorite holiday/winter party. Once it gets a bit cooler, I start getting very excited for hot pot. What is hot pot you ask? I guess my usual description is that it’s Asian style fondue but instead of using oil or cheese to dip your food in, we use a variety of soup bases. My personal favorite is something with a little bit of spice (but not too spicy), but the end of the night, all the flavors will meld together.
JP is my go-to hot pot host as he has hosted nearly every hot pot I’ve been to since grad school. What can I say, the man knows how to throw an amazing hot pot party! And without exception, he has hosted our latest get together – holiday hot pot. Invites to JP’s parties can be hard to come by as we can only fit 9-10 people around the table so I consider myself very lucky to be a regular guest and luckier when JP lets me “steal” a spot or two for new hot pot friends.
So what is a hot pot party like? Well it involves a lot of wine, amazing food and even greater company (edit: as JP has kindly reminded me – there is also copious amounts of K-Pop (Korean pop music)) – I have never had a bad hot pot experience and that is a testament to how awesome my fellow dining partners are. There are so many interesting perspectives and discussions that happen at these events!
But let’s talk about the food shall we? Our holiday hot pot featured a szechuan spicy soup base as well as a clear chicken broth base in the dual pot, although by the end of the night, it was all one soup. As you can see above, we have a bunch of containers filled with goodies – but I’ve taken individual shots of them and collaged it (nothing but the best for my readers ;p) below:
Starting from the top row we have (Left to Right):
- Oyster mushrooms, udon and Chinese mushrooms, sliced beef, baby bok choy,
- Silken tofu and deep fried tofu, beef balls, fish tofu, sliced chicken,
- Mushrooms, dried bean curd,
- Enoki mushrooms, vegetable dumplings, konnyaku noodles, watercress, lettuce and suey choy,
- Korean rice cakes, tripe, fish paste in a tube, scallops, soup.
While I understand that not everyone can have their own personal hot pot host – there are lots of places in Chinatown that offer hot pot although my preference is to do it at home. All you need is a pot, a burner/grill thing (available at Chinese supermarkets near you – T&T definitely carries it for sure) or an induction burner (which is what I have at home) and hot pot ingredients! If you want the dual soup pot, it is also available at Chinese supermarkets and there are often hot pot sections in the supermarkets where you can find the thinly sliced meats and meat balls for your pot.
If you haven’t tried hot pot – I strongly encourage you to give it a whirl (possibly in a restaurant if you’re worried you won’t like it) – although I am confident that you will love it as much as I do!
So What Would Argenplath Pay?
There was a time where we would take JP’s grocery bill and divide it between all the guests but it was tedious and a pain so we’ve settled for a $15 flat fee for all hot pots and in the end, I’m sure it comes out in the wash. Everyone tends to bring a bottle of wine and/or other beverages that they wish to drink, although JP is generally well stocked in the wine department too.
$15 for an evening of awesome food and company is a great price in my opinion, especially since they are priceless to me…
And with that dear friends – I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year!