Share Some Foodie Fun With A Chinese Hot Pot
What is Chinese Hot Pot?
Chinese Hot Pot is a popular communal dish that originated in China but is commonplace in nearly every Asian nation and is slowly spreading around the globe as people explore Asian cuisine.
In its basic form, Hot Pot is a soup or a broth. However, rather than being solely made in the kitchen, with all the ingredients added in situ and then brought to the table in bowls, this soup is served as a basic broth, with additional foods and flavours added and cooked at the table, as and when required. It is a simple soup, but when all the ingredients are added, it's a hearty meal!
Who Does the Cooking?
You do! The chef in the kitchen takes care of the base soup and provides the additional food items in separate dishes, but those who intend to eat the soup create the final plate.
How Does It Work?
The base meal is presented at the table in a sizable soup pot, placed on top of a heat source, such as an electric or induction stove, to keep the contents simmering gently throughout the meal. Various fresh Chinese foodstuffs and other ingredients are placed around the pot, which can then be added (by you), cooked (by you), and served (by you). The meal is hot, fresh and cooked as you like, with as many or as few ingredients as you desire to your specific tastes.
What Ingredients Are Used?
Generally speaking, Chinese chefs create a clear meat, seafood or vegetable stock or a spicy soup, such as a classic Sichuan style, as a base soup and provide additional items, such as thinly sliced meat, meatballs, fresh fish, seafood, tofu, vegetables, greens, fungi, herbs, noodles and dumplings, on the side. However, you can usually choose which sides accompany the soup when ordering in a restaurant.
You will also find a host of sauces and garnishes delivered to the table when you order a Hot Pot; these are used to add additional flavour and can include soy sauce, chilli oil, BBQ sauce, oyster sauce, sesame paste, etc., as well as chopped chillis, coriander, spring onions, ginger, etc.
In some cases, you may be served a split pot, whereby the cooking pan is divided into two to hold two different types of soup (usually one clear and one spicy). Two meals for the price of one and all the more flavours and taste varieties to try!
Why Hot Pot?
Chinese hot pot is designed to be the ultimate sharing dish, a communal bowl of food that allows everyone to add the ingredients they would like, as a consensus or individually – one great-tasting soup but made to suit everyone's tastes. As a communal meal, it's also a great social event; participation and interaction spark conversation and ultimately bring people together. Plus, it's heaps of fun!
Where To Find Chinese Hot Pot in Doha?
Doha has plenty of Chinese restaurants offering all sorts of Chinese staples and delicacies, from traditional style to ultra-modern and fusion style. But if we had to pick which eateries serve the best Hot Pot, then these three (in no particular order) would take the top spots:
Little Chef Bear Asian Restaurant
The Little Chef Bear Asian Restaurant in Fereej Bin Mahmoud North is located on a long, busy street full of restaurants and cafes. Nonetheless, this standout little venue is easily recognisable by its themed USP...bears!
Little Chef Bear is a relatively small eatery, spread out over two floors tastefully decorated in neutral colours and tones (pink terracotta, lemon yellow and charcoal grey), with a host of plants and bright-coloured dishes and plates giving a splash of colour. But look a little longer, and you'll also start to see bears everywhere – silicone bear table mats, bear wall decals, bear ceiling lights, bear ornaments and trinkets, and innumerable teddy bears, including a giant one by the front door. Tastefully done, this bear-themed shop has a cosy atmosphere and is always busy and buzzing with diners.
As fascinating as the bear hunt is, it's the authentic food that really gets customers talking, especially the Chinese Hot Pot. With choices of Sichuan spicy, tomato, chicken and Tom Yum broths (in single or split pots), the Little Bear Hot Pot caters for various tastes. And each soup is delicious – quality ingredients and homemade flavour. Customers can choose from a myriad of sauces and sides to build their soup's flavour profile or opt for the Hot Pot for Two option, which comes as a split pot with a set number of extras. Extras include choices of meat, fish, tofu and vegetables, sauces and house-made glass noodles. Soups are served on portable electric hot plates.
The menu at Little Chef Bear is mainly Chinese and Thai food and includes a raft of Asian curries, soups, salads, meat, fish and veggie dishes, rice and noodles dishes, and dumplings and Xiao Long Bao. The food is generously served and very affordable. For us, Little Chef Bear is an eatery worth visiting every day of the week!
Location: Ibn Mahmoud Street, Fereej Bin Mahmoud North, Doha
Nearest Metro: Bin Mahmoud Metro Station (Gold Line)
Al Bidda Metro Station (Red and Green Lines)
Hours: Sunday to Saturday, 11:30 am – 12 am
Costs: Hot Pot for two = QAR 128
Call +974 3122 8975
Osha Asian Bistro
Osha Asian Bistro in Al Sadd is a beautiful, modern restaurant amid an unassuming row of shops, cafes and restaurants on Al Kinana Street. The Asian bistro is a real treasure to discover, with contemporary décor of black, greys, greens, blues and gold, a vast jungle silhouette down the length of the downstairs wall, modern lighting and high-quality serving dishes, plates, bowls and cups, the venue is reminiscent of a five-star hotel restaurant. The menu is equally as impressive...
Serving a mixture of popular Korean, Thai, Japanese and Chinese dishes, such as Thai red and green curries, Tom Yum, Tum Mau and Yum salads, Jjamppong bowls, fried chicken, Ramyeon, Dakgabi, Sashimi, Katsu curry and Ramen, the restaurant offers a real melting pot of flavours. The piece de resistance though is the Chinese Hot Pot.
The base soups for the bistro's Hot Pot include tomato, chicken, black shabu (soy sauce, rice wine and dashi mix) and mala (spicy), and sauces include BBQ Gochujang, Osha BBQ, Sukiyaki, chilli and lime and Jaw – an unbelievable combination of flavours designed to tickle the tastebuds. The side dishes of fresh, quality ingredients only enhance the taste experience. Guests can order meats ranging from brisket to Wagyu beef, lamb, mutton and chicken; fish from salmon, shrimps, and squid to giant scallops and oysters, as well as a host of mushrooms, fungi, vegetables, leaves and tofu.
Customers can choose as many or as few soup bases (pots designed to hold four different broths are available), sauces and sides as they like, or select their soups and sauces and then opt for one of the Hot Pot extras sets – sets of meat, fish and veg at a specific price. Soups are served on portable electric hot plates.
From the décor and the luxury ambience to the exceptional food (which is generally quite affordable), Osha Asian Bistro is where we go for authentic, reasonably priced food that makes us feel like we're out, out!
Location: Al Kinana Street, Al Sadd, Doha
Nearest Metro: Joaan Metro Station (Gold Line)
Hours: Sunday to Saturday, 11:30 am – 10 pm
Costs: Hot Pot soups = QAR 10-15 each
Hot Pot sauces = QAR 10 each
Non-meat sides = QAR 9-19 each
Meat sides = QAR 10-49 each
Fish sides = QAR 15-39 each
Meat/fish sets (with non-meat sides) = QAR 89-99 (+ soups and sauces)
Call +974 6628 9292
Three Peppers Restaurant
The Three Peppers is one of Doha's best traditional Chinese restaurants; it delivers authentic style, atmosphere and cuisine, and its Hot Pot is a triumph.
The restaurant, in the city's bustling back streets, filled with traffic, an assortment of shops, apartment blocks and businesses, is reminiscent of many back-street cafés or restaurants in China. The two-storey venue is full of Chinese lanterns, a hotch-potch of chairs and tables, kitsch Chinese knick-knacks, model water fountains, traditional-style folding screens, plastic plants, and scenes from the Chinese landscapes painted on the walls. Always busy, it has a bustling and buzzy atmosphere that goes hand in hand with great home-style food offered at reasonable prices. Indeed, the entire Three Peppers menu, including the Hot Pot, is very affordable.
The Three Peppers Hot Pot soups served on portable hot plates, are incredibly flavourful, full of depth, richness and tanginess. Generally, the soups come in a split pot (one spicy, one non-spicy), but guests can order a set Hot Pot for one if they prefer. The menu for sides is extensive, with around thirty-five meat, veg, fish, noodle and sauce options. Guests can choose from beef and mutton rolls, squid and prawn, chicken and tripe, tofu and bean curd, multiple vegetables and leaves, mushrooms and a host of pastes.
The restaurant, basic but clean, colourful and decorative, has plenty of tables to seat groups (large or small) and couples and is often full of guests of every nationality keen to sample traditional Chinese cuisine. Aside from the Hot Pot, the menu offers a melee of vegetable, meat and fish dishes, stir-fried, stewed, crispy, sizzling, sweet and sour. If we were to recommend somewhere want to sample genuine Chinese food, this is a great location to start.
Location: Al Muntazah Trading Centre, Hiteen Street, Al Muntazah
Nearest Metro: Al Mansoura Metro Station (Green Line)
Hours: Sunday to Saturday, 11 am – 11 pm
Costs: Hot Pot soups: QAR 18 (+ QAR 5 pp for spices)
Hot Pot pastes = QAR 20-39 each
Non-meat sides = QAR 10-26 each
Meat sides = QAR 20-30 each
Fish sides = QAR 28-48 each
Hot Pot for One with set sides = QAR 50
Call +974 6649 2626
Main image: SunsetMagazine
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