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Hotpot do's and don'ts


abcdefg

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I went with several people for hotpot last night here in Kunming. It was a mixed group with some Chinese and some 外国人. It worried me that some of the newcomers would dump in things like raw semi-frozen chicken and then fish out other items such as vegetables from the same broth before the newly introduced meat had been given time to cook. Not sure if I'm just overly cautious, but it seemed like a good way to get sick.

And a question about hotpot etiquette: Some of the people were pouring excess broth from their small eating bowls back into the communal pot. I didn't think this was usually done. What has been the experience of others when eating hotpot with locals?

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Some of the people were pouring excess broth from their small eating bowls back into the communal pot. I didn't think this was usually done.

Don't worry, it had probably been back and forth between lots of different people's bowls, pots and the kitchen many times before it got to you. Just make sure it boils for a little while before you drink it.

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And a question about hotpot etiquette: Some of the people were pouring excess broth from their small eating bowls back into the communal pot. I didn't think this was usually done. What has been the experience of others when eating hotpot with locals?

Are these the foreigners or the locals? It seems improper. It would be like transferring food from your rice bowl after you have been eating for a while back to the common dish.

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What do you have against hotpot?

Well, apart from the issues mentioned by abcdefg, that it takes too long to get through a hotpot meal. You go to a restaurant so the chef can cook you the food. Not so you have to cook it yourself. Same goes for Korean barbeque.

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Never seen anyone dump their drippings back into the communal bowl, definitely sounds dubious - given that it's going into a pot of boiling I can't see it being an actual health risk, but it's surely a manners risk.

As for the uncooked meat issue, that's just the way things get done.

Not a big hotpot fan myself - as anonymoose seems to agree, if I'm paying for food I want it cooked by a professional chef in a different room, not by me in a bowl of hot stuff of dubious provenance.

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i've never seen anyone dump broth from their cup back into the pot.

if not needed, it usually gets dumped on the floor.

i'd say don't order chicken hotpot. my first hotpot experience

involved fishing out heads and feet and egg sacs. that last

bit was not a pretty sight.

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I love hotpot, not least because it does take ages to get through a meal. But I would like it a lot less if people started putting stuff from their bowls back in the pot.

More generally, I've not seen a consensus about whether to dump pretty much everything in at the start, or adopt a more structured approach. Both seem common and both have their advantages :P .

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Some of the people were pouring excess broth from their small eating bowls back into the communal pot. I didn't think this was usually done.

This sounds pretty awful. You didn't eat from the pot any more, right?

I don't like hotpot, barbecue or even buffet for the same reason as anonymoose's and roddy's. I like confucius' idea of 割不正不食. Take a look if you are interested.

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Count me in as one of the hotpot fans :) I didn't like it initially, but after eating it a few times with people who really knew how and what to order, I soon changed my mind.

Putting stuff from your own bowl back into the communal pot is not something I would consider as good etiquette.

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Some of the people were pouring excess broth from their small eating bowls back into the communal pot. I didn't think this was usually done.

Never seen this happen, what I have seen is people asking for a new bowl if there was too much broth in their bowl.

I myself like to have hotpot from time to time.

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If you guys think hot pot takes a long time to eat, maybe some people need to know the do's and don'ts of eating hamburgers. Spent an hour waiting for my Bulgarian classmate to finish his burger, because he wanted to "enjoy it." He separated the tomato, onion, bun, burger and slowly ate one slice at a time.

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Thanks for all the input.

I have a Chongqing friend and often go with her to eat hotpot. She knows all the ins and outs of when individual items are cooked and I feel safe just riding along with her in charge.

One Chongqing oddity that she taught me is to always include 鸭肠 in the mix. I do it, but still think it is an acquired taste.

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Some of the people were pouring excess broth from their small eating bowls back into the communal pot.

Really? This is gross. Whoever does this should be banned from hotpot table. And some condiments you add in your own bowl like soy sauce and sesame oil are not supposed to go into the pot, either.

鸭肠 is all over the place in Sichuan now... I think it is okay, but my cousins just love it. My grandfather never eats it because, according to him, it is apparently high in cholesterol. I myself would rather stick to my 百叶 and lotus root and of course, beef and pork slices.

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If sanitation and food poisoning are a big concern, I agree that it might be best to avoid hotpot, particularly if it's just you and other foreigners. Besides the reasons listed above, they probably re-use oils and waters in the kitchen. I've had hotpot plenty of times and can only say that I've been much happier when I'm "that vegetarian" because it necessitates a middle separate bowl and/or shabu-shabu style for me while everyone else consumes the bigger pot. I let my veggies and noodles boil a looooong time before I eat them.

On the whole, however, it is one of my least favorite meals for the reasons listed by Roddy and anonymoose. I mean, why don't I just stay at home and throw a bunch of veggies in a pot on the stove?

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