Hot pot has long been a big part of China and Hong Kong’s dining culture, a simple one-dish concept where fresh vegetables and raw meat are quickly poached in boiling soup stock, with soy sauce and condiments like fresh coriander, spring onions and garlic adding extra flavour. After all the ingredients are eaten, a belly-warming and nutritious broth remains. It is a shared dining experience, where families and friends gather around the hot pot to share stories and a meal.
The centuries-old comfort food then spread around the region, inspiring variations like Szechuan Maotu hot pot, a Chongqing specialty with a tongue-numbing broth and cow innards; and Peking chrysanthemum hot pot found in Sukang, where the broth is made from white chrysanthemum flowers, prawns and pork. The cooking method even influenced Japan’s nabemono (table cookery) – a Japanese version of hot pot where the broth contains chicken or seaweed, and cooked ingredients are served in individual bowls with dipping condiments.
But the version that can be found today in Hong Kong (Gai Bo) is so comforting, flavourful and affordable that it has become a staple in a city that has a short attention span when it comes to food trends.
What’s different about Gai Bo from traditional hot pot is its two-part process that effectively turns one meal into two or three consecutive ones. Located in Taman Dagang Ampang, there were one newly opened restaurant named Xian Ji Hong Kong Hotpot which implement this concepts into their cooking.
As usual, Cantonese likes to starts it’s meal with a soup. Xian Ji offers 4 types of soup based; Signature Fish Maw & Chicken Soup, Pork Bone Soup, Tasty Tomato Soup and Chengdu Spicy Soup with an option of “Ying Yang” for 2 soup in one pot.
After completed the soup, some broth is added to deglaze the pot, which turns the meal into a traditional hot pot. Diners can order other raw hot pot ingredients to share; usually includes beef strips, prawns, pork belly, meatballs, fish balls, fried tofu skin, dumplings, vegetables and many more.
Upon completing the second meal, the final meal was to add some rice together with some minced vegetable cube into the pot to get a scrumptious porridge to end the meal.
The porridge has been cooked with with hotpot broth that has absorbed many nutrients from the raw food that has been previously cooked in it which makes the porridge nutritious and tasty.
For more information on Xian Ji Hotpot, check out their facebook at https://www.facebook.com/XianJiHotpot/