Why you should do hot pot at home
Hot pot is a meal that is very near and dear to my heart— it’s one of the most delicious way to spend time and have fun with friends and family. I’ve been eating hot pot at home and out at restaurants for as long as I can remember, and I love doing both, for varying reasons.
If you eat out at a hot pot restaurant, you’re usually looking at spending at least $40 per person (my experiences are from the Bay Area and NYC) and it can often be much much more if you’re at a nicer place or getting drinks. It’s a lot of fun to do, but it can be cost prohibitive, especially from when you’re thinking about a group.
But you don’t have to let the cost of hot pot stop you from having some steamy goodness— Do it at home! It’s an easy and affordable way to host a group in the comfort of your own space. Once you have the equipment, you can probably feed a group for around $10 per person, or less. And the prep time. The prep time!!! The prep time is a dream compared to a cooked meal, because all you’re really doing is really just washing vegetables and opening packages.
The list below contains the most common hot pot ingredients. You don’t need to get everything on this list, and there are many items that did not make it on this list. You can put pretty much anything that can be boiled into hotpot.
The core elements of hot pot are: soup base, veggies, meat, noodles, and miscellaneous items such as fish balls/dumplings. The amount of food you’ll need will obviously vary depending on your situation, but here are some general guidelines for a good round of hot pot:
- One large pot + hot pot base is perfect for four people. I’ve squeezed 6-8 before and it’s doable, but if you have the money and space, get two pots.
- 1/3 – 1/2 lb of meat per person
- With veggies, it’s hard to say, but you generally end up using more than you think you will because they cook down pretty small. Just get a bunch because they’re cheap! Oh and make sure to get napa cabbage. It’s so good in hot pot and is probably the #1 hot pot veggie.
- For things misc things like fish tofu/fish balls/fried bean curd rolls, get enough for 4-6 total items per person.
- Noodles/rice. Half a ramen brick or a bowl of rice per person.
This list should be helpful especially if you’re unfamiliar in Asian grocery stores. Click or tap on each item to reveal a photo. Remember, hot pot is whatever you want it to be. Just have fun with it!
What you’ll need for hot pot
- Either an electric hot pot, or a butane stove burner + large pot. I recommend getting something like this.
- Lots of bowls & sauce dishes
Hot Pot Base
You can use practically any hot pot base out there, but I really like the little sheep bases. You can grab them on Amazon too!
Most asian markets will have a section dedicated to sliced hot pot beefs. You may see them labeled as “shabu shabu” beef.
- Thinly sliced beef
- Sliced pork
- Bok choy
- A chai
- Enoki mushrooms
- Oyster mushrooms
- Fish tofu
- Fish balls
- Fish balls with roe
- Pop soys
- Noodles (of any kind, really. Some of my favorites are instant noodles, thick vermicelli, and plain old egg noodles).
- Rice (to have on the side)
- My mix – hoisin sauce, minced garlic, green onions, splash of soy sauce, tiny splash of sesame oil
- Sesame sauce
- Sa Za jiang
- Sesame oil
Where to find the ingredients
Your Asian grocery chain should have most of these ingredients, even if it isn’t Chinese. Japanese and Korean markets will generally have all of the ingredients available.
If you live in New York City, I recommend going to Deluxe Food Market for your hot pot meat and Hong Kong Supermarket for everything else. They are both in Chinatown and just a couple minutes from each other.