What could be better on a numbingly cold winter night than a hot pot to warm your heart? Eating hot pot is not simply about dipping small pieces of food into boiling liquid, it’s also an opportunity to have a great time with friends gathered around a simmering pot. Here we bring you hot pot ideas from around the world, so that you and your friends can enjoy these exotic flavors at home or (if allowed) in your dormitory.
Cheese fondue, Switzerland
A heaving pot of bubbling cheese with bite-sized bread and vegetables to dip into it, that’s what hot pot in Switzerland is about. The dish bears a French name: fondue.
Legend has it that the cheese fondue was created by two shepherds in the Alps. Whether or not that’s true, one thing is for sure: the Swiss are credited with creating the fondue. It is always served as a main dish in the country, not as an appetizer or as part of a multi-course meal.
But beware, the etiquette for eating fondue forbids double dipping. And if a person drops their bread into the cheese they must kiss the person to their left. Or you could drop it on purpose if you happen to fancy the person next to you.
Americans love fondue parties. With the number of different seasonings available today, there are fondues made out of beef, prawns and even scallions. But chocolate fondue is by far the most famous.
The dish, in which fresh fruit is dipped into a hot, rich, creamy chocolate sauce, was born in a long-lost New York restaurant called Chalet Suisse in the 1960s. It has since become one of the most popular dessert options for parties.
The most common and traditional chocolate fondue dipper is strawberries. Bananas, blackberries and pears also go well with hot chocolate. You could even try some more unconventional dippers, like potato chips.
Chanko nabe, Japan
This hearty, protein-rich Japanese-style hot pot dish is famous for being the principal source of energy for the country’s sumo wrestlers. But don’t worry, you would have to eat a serious amount of this special hot pot before you become as big as them!
A traditional chanko nabe usually contains a dashi or chicken broth soup base with sake or mirin to add flavor. Vegetables and meat are then cooked in the soup.
During sumo tournaments, this hot pot is served exclusively with chicken meat. This is because a sumo wrestler should always stand on two legs like a chicken, not on all fours. Of course, you are free to replace chicken meat with any other meat or seafood.