The common hotpot is not as common as you think

On cold winter days, there's nothing more comforting than sitting around a sizzling pot with family and friends.

On cold winter days, there’s nothing more comforting than sitting around a sizzling pot with family and friends.

Chinese hotpot dates back to the Three Kingdoms (AD 220-280). The simple dip, cook and eat process has made hotpot a common dish and a household favorite.

In addition to the many varieties of hotpot across China, it is also widely enjoyed in other countries with recipes and flavors that reflect local cuisines.

Shabu-shabu

In Japan, the dish most similar to the Chinese hotpot is shabu-shabu, which cooks thinly sliced meat and vegetables in water or broth. It was introduced to Japan from the Chinese instant-boiled mutton hotpot in the 20th century.

Shabu-shabu originally used thinly sliced beef but now pork, chicken, lamb and other proteins are also accepted.

The broth can be either boiling water or a light stock like dashi — a clear stock made by simmering kelp (kombu) and shavings of preserved and fermented skipjack tuna (katsuobushi).

There are both expensive and affordable shabu-shabu, as the price is mostly determined by the quality of meat.

Because the soup base has minimal flavors, shabu-shabu is served with dipping sauces.

Popular options include soy sauce, sesame paste and ponzu sauce (a citrus dipping sauce).

Ti Gong

Shabu-shabu.

Gokohai 御香海

Gokohai is a shabu-shabu franchise in Shanghai that serves all-you-can-eat Japanese hotpots.

There are a variety of beef, lamb and vegetables on the menu, served in small individual pots.

Average price: 138 yuan (US$21) per person for all-you-can-eat, excluding beverages

Address: 1720 Huaihai Rd M.

Tel: 6471-7657

Shabushabu しゃぶしゃぶの

This is a new restaurant that serves the more expensive beef and seafood.

Choose different grades of beef from A3 to A5+ (150 yuan to 280 yuan). It it uses a light kombu soup base.

Their set course for one is 580 yuan, which includes starters (a seasonal dish and sashimi), a platter of four kinds of beef and pork, vegetables, noodles or rice and dessert.

Average price: 600 yuan per person

Address: 580 Yuyuan Rd

Tel: 6215-3188

Sukiyaki

Sukiyaki is another Japanese hotpot that became popular during the Meiji era. It uses a broth of soy sauce, sugar and mirin.

Thinly sliced beef is cooked at the table in a shallow iron pot together with other ingredients including firm tofu, scallion, vegetables, shitake and enokitake mushrooms as well as noodles.

Traditionally, sukiyaki is enjoyed with a dipping sauce of raw egg to coat the beef slices. Sukiyaki is very popular in China, especially in regions that favor sweeter tastes.

MOTOYAもとや别邸

Specializing in sukiyaki, Motoya uses higher quality beef from grades A2 to A6 in classic Kansai style — brushing the shallow iron pot with oil and cooking the thinly sliced beef in the order of better quality first, then add warishita sauce made by mixing sake, soy sauce, sugar, mirin and dashi. The vegetables are cooked last with udon noodles.

Average price: 400 yuan per person

Address: Rm 101, No.5 Lane 19, Ronghua Rd W.

Tel: 6209-7702

Mo-Mo Paradise (Mo-Mo牧场)

A popular all-you-can-eat sukiyaki franchise, Mo-Mo Paradise serves the sukiyaki in the Kanto style — cooking the meat and vegetables in a boiling broth.

Order various cuts of beef as well as pork, lamb and chicken. There are carts serving tofu, vegetables and noodles to each table. There are also other shabu-shabu soup bases.

Average price: 200 yuan per person for the all-you-can-eat food and drink for 120 minutes

Address: 2/F, 35 Shaanxi Rd S.

Tel: 5236-6038

Ti Gong

Sukiyaki is a sweet and savory beef hotpot in Japanese cuisine.

Oden

In Japanese cuisine, there are a variety of stews known as nabemono that combines nabe, which means the cooking pot, and mono which means the ingredients.

It is cooked in hotpot style but served like stews.

One of the most popular nabemono in Shanghai is oden.

It is not only served in Japanese restaurants, but also found in most convenience stores.

Oden cooks the simple ingredients including daikon, boiled eggs, fishcakes, fried lappa and tofu in a light dashi broth.

Most hotpots can be served rather quickly once the soup base is ready.

But oden is very time-consuming to make, as the pot must remain at a temperature between 80 and 90 degrees Celsius to slowly bring out the best flavors from the ingredients without boiling.

Many restaurants only serve oden in the evening, as it takes a whole day to prepare.

Although the ingredients are already infused with the flavors of the broth after hours of cooking, oden is served with dipping sauces including yellow mustard and chili sauce.

Ti Gong

Oden cooks the simple ingredients for hours to infuse them with the flavors from the broth.

Gaku (岳Gaku日本料理)

Gaku specializes in oden. The signature is the “standing daikon,” which is cooked over a period of four days until it’s soft and flavorful. The long, thick cut of daikon is boiled first to remove the spicy flavor, then slow cooked in the big pot and set aside overnight. The daikon is in limited supply every night.

The oden is served in platter style containing five, seven or 10 items. Dishes can be ordered separately, including daikon (12 yuan), chikuwa (two for 10 yuan, a kind of tube-like fishcake), beef tendon (18 yuan) and ox tongue (18 yuan). The beef tendon is highly recommended. It pairs with the chili sauce excellently.

Average price: around 100 yuan per person for oden.

Address: 3F, 108 Yuyuan Rd

Tel: 5299-1806

The Korean budae-jjigae

This Korean “army stew” was created after the Korean War in the 1950s.

To ease the food shortage in South Korea, the US army bases used surplus foods, mostly processed meats such as ham and sausages.

A stir-fry of sausages, ham, cabbage and onions was created, and later on, a broth flavored with gochujang (red chili paste) and kimchi was added.

Army stew is basically junk food in a pot — sausages, SPAM and instant ramen noodles together with cheese, tofu and mushrooms.

But the spicy, sizzling delicacy is hard to resist in cold weather.

Jolie.House 有一个锅

This restaurant serves classic dishes including bibimbap, kimchi pancakes and army stew for 158 yuan.

Their generous serving of army stew includes beef, luncheon meat, tofu, fish cakes, vegetables and rice cake with cheese filling.

Average price: 170 yuan

Address: 43 Guoxiang Rd

Tel: 139-1757-7569

Ti Gong

Budae-jjigae, also called "army stew."

Fondue

Fondue is a traditional Swiss dish in which cubes of bread are dipped in a pot of melted cheese with wine (usually kirsch), seasonings and spices, using different cheeses — usually Gruyere, Emmental or both. The cheese fondue should be kept warm enough so the cheese remains in liquid form, and not so hot that it could burn.

Geneva 日内瓦亲子餐厅

This restaurant serves cheese fondue with bread.

The pot of melted cheese has stronger alcohol flavors.

Just take a long-handled fork and dip the bread into the warm cheese.

This Swiss establishment also makes a rather nice mulled wine — another good option for those cold winter days and nights.

Average price: 180 yuan

Address: 112 Jinbang Rd

Tel: 5239-9197

Ti Gong

Fondue.

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