Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot is a famous chain of hot pot restaurants throughout much of China.Little Sheep, founded in 1999 in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, specializing in mutton/lamb hotpot restaurants, has over 300 chain restaurants in China.There are different styles of hot pot around Asia, and even within a given country each household will do it a little differently. But if there’s one universal hot-pot rule, it’s this: You don’t “hot-pot” with people you don’t like. Like fondue, hot pot is one of the most social of dining formats. Not only are you gathered at one table sharing a meal, you’re cooking your food together in a shared pot.The hotpot has a long history of over 1,000 years in China. It used to be favored only in winter, but recently hotpot has been appearing on tables all year round.Common hot pot ingredients include various types of thinly-sliced meats (chicken, pork, beef, lamb), vegetables (leafy greens, lettuce, pak choy, mushrooms), noodles, dumplings, firm tofu and seafood including shellfish and fish balls.Although the flavor of Chinese hotpots varies from region to region, they have similar dining customs. Hotpot is commonly served in a wide metal pot/wok over a (gas) burner, or a recess in the table in which e.g. charcoal burns, to heat the soup in the middle of at a table.When the broth is boiling, you may dip (quickly-cooked) ingredients in until cooked with your chopsticks (if you don’t want to lose them to the communal pot).To make a hot-pot feast at home requires little more than some planning and prep work. First, let’s go over the equipment you’ll need, then the ingredients (meat, seafood, vegetables, et cetera) and how to prep them for hot pot. Next, we’ll cover the different kinds of broth you can choose, as well as the sauces to serve alongside. At the end, we’ll go over table setting and the basics of hot-pot etiquette.
Chinese society and culture values harmony. So participation didn’t end with the interaction between our hot pot shepherd and us. For as she brought us along to a point of hot pot graduation — from neophytes to mere novices — we received nods of approval, even hearty double thumbs-up, from the other diners across the length of the restaurant. Inspired by our waitress, some would motion their recommendations as to other ingredients we ought to try. Others still, undeterred, interrupted their own tables to deliver from the fresh bar the critical components we’d missed.
The concept of Chinese Hot pot (huǒ guō) is believed to date back more than 1,000 years to the time of the Jin Dynasty. Hot pot’s roots can be found in the dining practices of Mongolian horsemen who rode across the steppe and into northern China. Legend has it that the Mongols used their helmets as vessels to simmer broth over open fires, and cooked chunks of meat in that broth.f you are eating Sichuan and find your face going flush to the point of hives, don’t be alarmed. Based on our experience and observations, this is entirely normal. One trick to keep that “hurts so good” spice feeling without you melting: make a dipping sauce from peanut or sesame oil and coat the food with this just before eating it. This seems to be the ancient Chinese secret for keeping their cool amidst the spice of hot pot. We’ve also heard that drinking peanut milk (huasheng nai) can soothe the stomach and can help put out a fire in the belly.Hot pot is not only a culinary experience, it’s an exercise in social connectivity. The more the merrier, and it’s a way to get to know people in a more intimate way as you share a meal. As Shao Z. notes: “you don’t ‘hot pot’ with people you don’t like.”
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