You can’t call yourself a true blue foodie if you haven’t enjoyed good company around the hotpot. But here’s how not to get into hot soup with your dining companions!
Double-dip half-eaten food into shared dipping sauces, unless you’re sure your dining companions are cool with it.
Throw the ingredients in haphazardly. Start with root vegetables like carrots, radishes and corn as they take longer to cook and flavour the soup. After the broth comes to a boil, put in items that take a moderate amount of time to cook, like pork ribs, scallops and napa cabbage. Add starchy items like noodles only when you’re about done as they can thicken your broth, turning it glue-like.
‘Abandon’ broken pieces of fish and yam in the pot as these will disintegrate and cloud the soup – sacrilege for steamboat purists!
Assume your guests can eat everything. A chicken-based stock is often the safest option as some people may not eat beef or mutton.
Swipe food that other people were cooking for themselves – trust us, some of us keep tabs.
Cram too many items into the pot, making it difficult to keep the soup simmering. Take it slow, and enjoy the company – that’s what steamboat is all about!
Let cooked food touch the plates used to hold raw food. Likewise, if your chopsticks come into contact with raw food, discreetly place them in the boiling broth for a few seconds before picking up cooked items.
Pour excess broth from your personal bowl back into the pot – urgh!
Neglect the friends sitting opposite you – offer them food items not within their reach.
Crack eggs into the hotpot without asking first – you don’t want to be that person who wrecks a perfectly good clear soup. Better to use a ladle to contain and cook your egg.
Expert source: Chef Ng Chong Guan, group executive chef at Jumbo Group, which operates hotpot restaurant Jpot
By Kelly Ng, Her World, February 2015