2021-09-20 12:00


How to Become a Hot Pot Master?

How to Become a Hot Pot Master?

Ingredients, soup base, and dipping sauce. Three elements are necessary to start your hot pot journey. Instead of these three components, there are other necessary steps you should not neglect when you start your hot pot journey.

Simply follow the steps below to master Hot Pot! 



Understanding the typical difference between Shabu-shabu, Sukiyaki, and Chinese Hot Pot

As we all know, Shanghai is a modern city that contains diverse cultures and diverse cuisine. So, when you want to first take a glance and have your hot pot, you might get confused because you see different types of hot pot such as Shabu-shabu, Sukiyaki, and traditional hotpot. Some of your friends would tell you it is the same thing because they both contain ingredients, soup base, and dipping sauce. (and they all need a pot to cook!) Well, I would say these friends are basically correct. However, if you wanna be a guru of hotpot, it would be nice to know the difference.


First, Shabu-shabu is a Japanese hotpot dish that originates from Chinese hot pot. In shabu shabu, most of the meat and vegetables are cut into very thin slices so that many of them will cook easily and taste good. 

To pursue the original taste of ingredients, shabu shabu broth is made with Dashi (Japanese seafood broth) or veggie broth, so the soup based would taste generally light. If you need to enhance the flavor of your food, authentic shabu-shabu restaurant would usually provide Ponzu vinegarA kind of vinegar is made from Japanese grapefruit) and Japanese style of sesame sauces as a dipping sauce

Besides, the biggest characteristic of shabu-shabu is that you can have a small pot to cook the ingredients by yourself.  For some people who are not getting used to the shared food. Shabu shabu is definitely your priority choice.

Soup base: Dashi broth or Veggie broth

Ingredients: veggies, meat, and seafood

Dipping sauce: Ponzu Vinegar/ Japanese sesame sauce

Flavor: Very Mild/ The original taste of the ingredients

Pro-tips: After eating all the ingredients, leave some of the broth behind. You can ask the waiter to give you a bowl of rice and eggs for making your own egg drop porridge.


Sukiyaki is an original Japanese dish that contains thinly sliced beef, unlike Shabu Shabu and Chinese hot pot. Sukiyaki is cooked in a very shallow pan. So most of the food will be fully cooked and cook fast. 

Unlike other hot pots, Sukiyaki has a very high requirement for beef. Whether Sukiyaki is good or not depends on the quality of the beef. To emphasize the quality of the beef, most Sukiyaki cook with a soy sauce broth. 

Many sukiyaki restaurants in Shanghai cook Sukiyaki in a Kansai way: They would first cook beef in a soy sauce soup and then stew with vegetables and tofu. 

To highlight the silky texture of the beef, many Sukiyaki restaurants serve raw eggs as a dipping sauce. The reason many people are afraid to eat Sukiyaki is because of salmonella in raw eggs. Most sukiyaki restaurants in Shanghai use eggs that are imported from Japan. These imported eggs are usually pasteurized, so they are not harmful to people. Of course, if you really hate the slimy texture of raw eggs and have an allergy to eggs, you can also eat without the dipping sauce.

Soup Based: soy sauce broth only

Ingredients: Veggies and most important thing: BEEF

Dipping sauce: raw egg

Flavor: Strong taste of soy sauce/Pretty sweet/flavor from good quality beef

Pro-tips:There are many sukiyaki stores in Shanghai that serve wagyu beef buffet. You can just pay certain money and eat as much beef as you want! So, Bon Apptit!

Chinese hot pot

Of course, The most important and authentic type of hot pot you can have in Shanghai must be the Chinese hot pot. Compared to Shabu-shabu and Sukiyaki in Japan, Chinese hotpot has a wider range of ingredients, soups, and dipping sauce. Of course, I mean, hotpot newbies always have trouble choosing the sauce and soup-based since there are too many options. So I will provide some tips to people who have a hot pot for the first time without their hospitable Chinese fellows.

So for the hotpot newbies...

The first thing is to play safe. When you first choose the soup base, make sure you choose the tomato broth, mushroom broth, or clear soup broth.(For those of you who believe in Islam or vegans, MAKE SURE to ask the waiters or waiters about the components of broth because many broths contain pig bones!) 

If you never eat any spicy food(Hot Pockets and Mighty Wings do not count!), it's better not to choose spicy broth even it's a little spicy because I see so many cases of failure and tragedies in restrooms... In the absence of allergies, shrimp, meat, and veggies are priority ingredients to choose from. However, if you are vegan, make sure you choose the right tofu because some tofu is actually made of chicken. For the dipping sauce, just make sure about your allergies and choose some familiar sauce.

For hot pot gurus...

It's all about being adventurous. After you improve your tolerating level of spiciness, ordinary hot pot restaurants are no longer for you. As a hotpot GURU, It is necessary to try Chongqing hotpot and Sichuan hotpot because their spiciness level is totally different.

To be a true hotpot master, you must have the qualification to enjoy the spiciness of the entire spicy soup base. I mean, half spicy/half non-spicy soup-based hotpot is just showing empathy to your friend who cannot digest spicy food. A hot pot guru has already achieved the Hot pot democracy for ingredients and dipping sauce because they have the free rights to choose whatever ingredients and dipping sauce you want. 

Pig's brain, tripe, and yellow throat cannot stop your passions from cooking them in your spicy hot pot. What really matters is the texture, not where these ingredients come from, because having a hot pot is not taking an anatomy class. Of course, if you have a religious reason, be sure to consult the waiter carefully about ingredients.

For hot pot newbies, I would recommend your first trip to Haidilao Hotpot Restaurant()The soup base is mild and the service is supreme!

The real authentic hot pot dipping sauce is the art of minimalism which only contains sesame oil, garlics, chives,and cilantro



Understanding the manner when you have hotpot party with your friends.

Just like you can never double-dip your chips. Although everyone shared the same pot during the hotpot party, it does not mean you can throw the food you taste back into the hotpot. Well, I know high temperatures can kill germs, but it's just quite rude to people.

Second, don't always lick your chopsticks. I know the dipping sauce you made must taste awesome, and high temperatures will kill germs again. However, it is still impolite to people. Your germs can still contaminate the whole hot pot.  Hence, using "gong kuai"A kind of chopsticks only pick and cook food, is safe for everyone and showing your manner. (In fact, as a Chinese hotpot master, I don't often use gong kuai, If you use gong kuai more often than I do, that means you are genuinely a hotpot master).



The final step is to wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, and eat well-cooked food during Covid. Then you are all set! Enjoy your hotpot with friends and family!



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