Monday, November 29, 2010 | 3:00 PM
Hot pot, the dish, is about community. You and your friends huddle together and add ingredients to a pot of boiling broth, creating a delicious soup to be enjoyed by all. Sometimes you take your own food from the pot, and sometimes you taste what your friends have added. This shared experience of gathering around a fire to cook and eat communally is a fundamental illustration of how we’ve come together to enjoy food from the earliest days of humanity.
Once we arrive, we generally order two types of broth (mild and spicy), and a cornucopia of things to put into the pot. Thinly sliced beef takes only seconds to cook, while fish, vegetables and noodles take a bit longer. As everyone frantically throws in their favorite items, we all lose track of what we've put in, and begin to dig for each others’ treasures. "The person who ordered shrimp dumplings is a genius!" someone shouts. "Yum, try the mushrooms!" suggests another. Eating becomes an adventure as we discuss and enjoy the eclectic mixture of our combined tastes.
The chatter and jostling that ensues captures the essence of why we truly love hot pot: It's a joyous, social activity that brings us closer together. We talk, and laugh, and eat. We clink bottles of beer in honor of life and friendship. Hours pass by, and we finally exhaust our stomachs and lie back in our chairs, comatose and smiling, a scene reminiscent of Thanksgiving Day.
And as we finally leave the restaurant, the scent of our meal buried deep in our clothing (this lasting smell is the singular downside of hot pot), we already look forward to the next occasion — not necessarily to food, but to time spent with friends. What will it be next? Brunch? A museum? A trip to the beach? Maybe we'll use Hotpot to find out...
Posted by Taj Campbell, Product Manager