By Kristina Bogos/The Gazelle

Authentic: Chinese Hot Pot

For many, Chinese hot pot is a reminder of a culture back home. For others, it’s an opportunity to craft their own cuisine. Hot pot, a Chinese cuisine ...

Oct 5, 2013

By Kristina Bogos/The Gazelle
For many, Chinese hot pot is a reminder of a culture back home. For others, it’s an opportunity to craft their own cuisine.
Hot pot, a Chinese cuisine that dates back more than 1,000 years, is conventionally known as a cooking style. A soup consisting of oil, water and spices is heated over a gas or elective stove. During the course of the meal, diners dip a variety of vegetables, meats and noodles into the soup to cook to their liking.
NYU New York junior Kyleigh Johnson tried hot pot for the first time at Xiao Wei Yang, a hot pot restaurant less than 10 minutes from Sama Tower by taxi.
“It’s really fun. You try out different skills of mixing the favors, mixing the different sauces and seeing how they’re different with soups and noodles or a combination,” Johnson said. “I was crafting my own dish every time I had a bite.”
The pot holds two separate sections of broth cooked in bone marrow, one spicy blend that is mixed with garlic and chili sauce and one sweet blend that is flavored with dates. Some elements of Chinese cuisine are known for their preparation, like the soup in hot pot that is prepared days in advance.
The first step in building your hot pot is to craft a dipping sauce. At Xiao Wei Yang, customers can choose from a variety of spices, sauces and toppings such as oyster sauce, sesame sauce, garlic sauce, cilantro, soy sauce, fermented tofu sauce and peanut shavings.
During the meal, the delivery of ingredients is timed, based on how long it takes to cook each ingredient. While the soup heats, diners should begin cooking the vegetables. At Xiao Wei Yang, the vegetable platter consists of lettuce, cabbage, tofu, mushrooms and water spinach. Once the vegetables simmer, noodles are the next ingredients to be added to the pot. Thin slices of raw meat ranging from chicken and beef to lamb and beef tripe take five to 10 seconds to cook and should be added last.
For junior Abril Kang, a native of China, hot pot cuisine in Abu Dhabi offers her a space to be surrounded by her roots.
“[Hot pot] originally comes from my city so it’s part of my culture and I’m really proud of it,” said Kang, who hails from Chongqing Shi, China. “Also, it’s a good time for families and good friends to get together. We sit in a round table normally so we can talk face-to-face [with] each other and it feels really good.”
Johnson also enjoyed the family aspect of the dining experience and said it helped foster conversation.
Back home in China, the ratio of oil to water is different, Kang said. Intestines are added to the list of ingredients, and seafood and noodles are typically not part of the list, but Kang said cuisine ingredients vary by region.
The cuisine in Abu Dhabi reminds her of home, though it errs on the expensive side and is not entirely authentic.
“[In China] you can always see the chili and the Chinese spices on top floating on the water,” Kang said. “[Hot pot in Abu Dhabi is] kind of an adaptation to the tastes of the locals and to the foreigners.”
Xiao Wei Yang is located on Airport Road near Al Wahda Mall. For 50 AED per person, diners can enjoy a vegetable platter, chicken, beef, beef stomach and noodles.
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