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Hotpot Hotpot Hot diggity pot - 火锅 (huǒguō)

Hot pot, or hotpot also known as steamboat, is a Chinese cooking method similar to fondue, prepared with a pot of broth served in a communal pot at the dining table.

While the hot pot is kept bubbling away, a variety of ingredients would be placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hotpot ingredients include thinly sliced meats, tofu, mushrooms, dumplings, seafood, vegetables and with noodles to finish off at the end. The cooked food is then savoured usually with dipping sauces such sesame sauce or spicy chilli oil.

There are slight differences among the type of hot pot throughout East Asia. The differences usually arise from the type of broth used and the ingredients that are cooked in the pot. In northern China where it's colder lamb is the preferred choice of meat whereas in Hong Kong, the Cantonese prefer fresh seafood. Choices of broth can range from a mix of strong smelling herbs in Mongolian styled hotpots to tongue numbing hot and spicy Sichuan peppercorn broth in Chongqing.

It is a very popular dish over the cold winter months leading up to Chinese New Year as it is a great way for friends and families to gather and bond over a meal. A group of people huddled around a simmering hotpot, chatting away while they take turns to cook their food seems like the ultimate dish to enhance friendship and unite family members who have travelled from afar for the Chinese New Year.

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