Believe it or not, we virtually ate non-stop for 5 hours after the Yee Sang. I had never been so full for as long as I remember. We just ate and chatted … and ate and chatted. The primary dish is the hotpot. Because of the number of people there, we had two separate hotpots going.
Hotpot is also known as Da Been Lo or Sang Woh in Cantonese. The best time to enjoy this is during the colder winter months. That is why at this time of the year, some of the Chinese grocery stores have sections dedicated only to hotpot ingredients.
Hotpot is supposed to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. It consists of a simmering pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. It’s popular these days to use a double pot with a centre divider to have two types of broth — one a normal chicken/pork broth and the other the ultra spicy Thai tomyam broth.
Suanne and I were in charge of the “condiments” and sauces. We had once had hotpot in a restaurant in Richmond where they had available something like 15 sauces. So, we thought that we do the same too. Here is what Suanne prepared: green onions, ginger, cilantro, and three different types of chilli peppers.
We went around the chinese grocery stores to scour for sauces. I think we got a dozen different ones. They include abalone sauce, hoisin sauce, minced garlic, crispy prawn chili sauce … and …
… soya sauce, pickled chilli sauce, Thai chilli sauce, sesame sauce and satay sauce.
The best sauce is still the Sah Cha sauce. This is a popular hotpot sauce originated from Taiwan which is also known as Barbecue sauce. These sauces are meant to be used as a dip and is not something you add to the hotpot.
I guess everyone just did not “get it” because the sauces and condiments went relatively untouched! Next time, I think I will do a demonstration first!
There are also lots of meat balls of every kind … pork, beef, fish, prawns, squid and what nots. These are the only things that we can be sure the kids will eat. Polly and Vincent provided this, I believe.
Prawns cooked very fast and adds a lot of flavor to the already flavorful broth. Yummy! Prawns with the shell on will impart more flavor. Double Yummy! Peeling the shells is half the fun when you are sitting around the table chatting. Nice touch, Janice and Bernie.
Then there is the mix of seafoods … there are squids, mussels, and more prawns.
Someone also brought more seafood but this time in skewers. What is wonderful about this is the pork skin. I love pork skin! Wai Bing and KC prepared this.
Now, to make a balanced meal, we also had some “vegetables”. Lots of mushroom. I noticed that it was also relatively untouched. I guess most of us just did not “get it” — just like most did not “get” our sauces and condiments. I think Polly and Vincent brought this.
This kam jum goo (enoki mushrooms) is more popular. There were several packets of it and we finished almost all of it. I am not sure who brought this.
Bean curd stick was a bit too brittle. Should have gotten the fried ones which is more suitable for hotpot. I think this type is great for barley soup. Janice and Bernie brought this.
There are also sliced meat. Sliced meat cooks faster than chunks of meat. For some reason, the meat is sliced too thin because we had difficulty separating them without tearing. Learned something new here. Contributed by Rachel and Joseph.
Some Japanese tofu which came in tubes and sliced into coins. We had to be careful handling this as it is soft and could break up in the hotpot. This does not need much cooking. Very nice. Also brought by Rachel and Joseph.
Eric always surprises us with a special dish. He made yong tau foo, Singapore style. It is a selection of food stuffed with fish paste. Eric uses tofu puff, eggplant, bitter gourd and green chilli peppers. Very nice.
We had a great time. The kids too had a great time because they did not come to us asking “can we go home now?”. I came home and weighed myself — I was heavier by 1.5 kg with all the food. Sigh … it takes forever to shed off 1.5 kg.