Hotpot soup, also known as a steamboat, is a type of dish where a soup is continuously boiled on a heat source while raw ingredients are added to enhance the flavour of the broth. The cooked ingredients are eaten after being boiled in the flavoured broth, and some individuals even like to drink the broth itself.
Whether you’re in Hong Kong, Korea, or Malaysia, you will find some version of this dish in any Asian country. Sichuan style in China uses a lot of spicy peppercorns in their soup, the Manchurian style uses preserved pickled vegetables, and the Japanese version (called Sukiyaki) mainly uses beef.
This traditional soup originated from China but is enjoyed as a shared meal by generations of Malaysians. The soup’s delicious flavours and unique cooking techniques have contributed to its ongoing popularity.
So why do Malaysians love this dish?
1. Social Aspect
Malaysians enjoy hot pot soup for its socialising aspect of food culture. The soup is served in a large pot on a stove in the centre.
Individuals can add their desired ingredients to the simmering broth, fostering a shared dining experience for family and friends.
Additionally, hot pot soup is easy to clean up as any remaining food can be easily removed by boiling water in the pot.
Depending on the restaurant, customers can order multiple aromatic soup bases, as each individual may have different taste preferences. One could like a spicy soup base, while the other likes a healthy herbal chicken soup base.
Some restaurants even offer large pots divided into two or four sections, allowing you to try multiple broths at once. However, it is not recommended to mix the broths due to cross-contamination, especially if the raw meat is not yet cooked.
Hot pot restaurants often offer a variety of signature broths alongside traditional soup flavours. However, the ingredients used in hot pot dishes remain relatively consistent, including meats like beef slices, fishballs, and pork balls, as well as vegetables such as cabbage, enoki mushrooms, and lotus root.
It’s important to note that most hot pot is not halal-certified, as pork bone broth is a common soup base, and pork slices are a popular ingredient. Another popular broth flavour is the collagen soup broth. It consists of mainly chicken, ginger, onion, and sometimes additional herbs such as wolfberries. There are other different aromatic soup bases with various herbs as well. These herbs offer different health benefits, such as chicken for collagen.
You can choose from a wide variety of ingredients to customise your hot pot experience. Additionally, there are various dipping sauces available for your cooked meat.
Hot pot soup is popular in Malaysia because it is versatile. It can be cooked with meat, seafood, vegetables, and noodles, creating endless combinations. Different cooking techniques can be used to add flavour and texture, such as simmering for a long time.
Different broths can also be used, allowing customisation for each diner.
There are many hot pot restaurant chains. For an authentic taste, it is recommended to visit a non-chain hot pot restaurant. At these restaurants, you pay per person for the soup and per ingredient bowl.
It is not very expensive, especially if you opt for rice. Noodles are also a good option. Alternatively, you can save money by having your own hotpot at home.
If you have an electric stovetop to put on your dining table, all you need to do is buy the raw ingredients and make the hotpot soup broth. Pre-made soup base packets are available for a delicious hotpot experience at home. Hot pot soup is a healthy option if you use low-fat ingredients and raw vegetables for added nutrition.
Lean cuts of meat can be used to reduce fat. Hot pot soup is a nutritious choice that maintains taste and flavour.
The Dish that Fosters Togetherness Among People.
Hot pot soup is popular in Malaysia due to its versatility, social nature, cultural significance, and health benefits. It provides a pleasant cooking and dining experience, particularly when shared with loved ones. Hot pot is known for its use of fresh ingredients and addictive soups, making it a popular choice for those looking for a satisfying dining experience.
Furthermore, its health benefits make it a suitable option for a nutritious meal. Take your taste buds on a thrilling journey and master the art of hot pot soup for an unforgettable culinary experience!