Last week, I had the pleasure of attending not just one, but, dare I say, TWO hot pot parties, both within days of each other. What is hot pot you ask? Well, before last week, I couldn’t have really told you with much certainty. Until recently, my only experience with it was limited to observing others enjoying it at our favorite Chinese restaurant (which is this one, for the record). But now, after my exposure to not one, but TWO hot pot parties, my confidence in the hot pot experience has soared. Basically, hot pot is like Chinese fondue: add meat, veggies, tofu, noodles, seafood, an old shoe, or whatever you have laying around, to a pot of simmering broth. Let it cook for a minute or two, then fish out your tasty prizes, and eat. That is hot pot. Click the link below to read more about my time at, not just one, but TWO fun, hot potties!
Hot Potty #1: Hot Pot Potluck
Hot pot pros and Be Coolinary pals Rachel and Trent hosted a hot pot potluck in honor of their new electric hot pot …errr … pot. All the guests brought fun things to cook in the pot, like noodles, thinly sliced beef, mushrooms, bok choy, and tofu. Trent and Rachel spent the afternoon at Seattle’s most giant and amazing asian market and came back with a cornupcopia of interesting morsels like surf clams, octopus, fish balls, yam cakes, yam noodles, sea scallops, surimi rolls, and duck feet. Yes, apparently people eat duck feet (pictured in the bottom right square below).
For more photos of the duck feet (and my reaction to the duck feet), fellow tumblr-haver and hot-pot-potluck-participant Cathy has more posted here.
Their electric hot pot was divided in half so that the vegetarian items didn’t have to mingle with the meaty ones (and so the meat-eaters could easily pluck the vegetables from the vegetarian side without detection). My favorite things to throw in the pot, and then into my mouth, came to be the shrimp, scallops, and yam noodles.
Other hot potty highlights included Diana’s handmade dumplings and Carlos’ Filipino dessert balls, otherwise known as (at least from what I can decipher in a google search of ‘deep-fried filipino dessert balls’) either buchi, bitsu-bitsu, or yema balls. Whatever they are called, they were delicious and I ate too many of them.
As the night drew to a close, and clean up and dishes were imminent, I noticed the substantial noodle carnage that littered the mostly cleared table and it made me very happy. A telltale sign of a satisfying, exciting, and well-enjoyed dinner.
Hot Potty 2: Butane Boogaloo
Then, less than a week later, I found myself at Hot Potty 2: Butane Boogaloo hosted by Kailin and Steven. Also hot pot pros, Kailin and Steven had a similar set up as Trent and Rachel, but with two butane stoves for making the pots…umm, hot, and a few ingredient substitutions. Quail eggs, watercress, fish foam, sliced lamb, enokitake mushrooms, and shrimp chips were all part of their spread.
The favorite addition to this hot pot was almost unanimously the quail eggs, which is fitting as they were extremely delicious. But I thought the shrimp chips were the most fun because they came in different colors and sizzled and crackled once they hit the hot liquid.
For dessert, Kailin and Steven provided us with a platter of all different kinds of Japanese treats from Umai Do, a new Japanese sweets shop in the Central District. Pictured below are habitua (white mochi), pink manju (pink mochi), yomogi (green mochi), kinako (green mochi with roasted soybean flour), dorayaki (chrysanthemum pancake), matcha dorayaki (maple leaf pancake), and pumpkin manju (pumpkin mochi). Even with a belly full of hot pot, that night I learned I love mochi (or just dessert in any ball form?)
And, just like the Hot Pot Potluck, as we cleared the table, I noticed that noodle remnants from dinner had made their way across the table, decorating it accordingly. All over again, these fallen noodle-soldiers scattered about provided me with the same sense of satisfaction, satiation, and happiness as they had before. And I think Ernie, the maltese mascot of hot pot, most certainly agreed.