Chinese New Year celebrations are still going strong, and one way to celebrate is to indulge in hotpot or steamboat. Traditionally, there is a communal pot of broth in which everyone cooks their food, but a new style of hotpot is hitting our shores where each person has their own, albeit smaller, pot of broth.
ipot is where we first encounter these individual hotpots. While we are all still seated around a communal table, in front of each person is an induction cooktop that is controlled on the side of the table. We order a soup base each and when it is brought out to us, the induction cooktop gets into gear and starts to heat up our soup.
While you wait for your soup to boil, make your way to the front of the restaurant where there is a whole wall of sauces for you to choose from! With some suggestions at the back of the menu in hand, we go a little crazy with the number of sauces and mixing up the combinations – but it’s all part of the fun :)
When we return, our individual pots are simmering away nicely and ready for cooking. Here is some of the food that we ate:
These little meatballs were handmade at ipot. We sampled a mixed combination including cuttlefish balls, beef balls, seafood and corn balls, shrimp balls, pork and mushroom balls, and pork meatballs. So many ballz!
This mashed shrimp ‘wah’ is similar to the meatballs but a larger version of it. This is eaten by scooping out some of the mashed shrimp and dropping it into the hot soup. Let it cook for a while and then fish it out and you’ve got a nice, springy shrimp fishball.
The cuttlefish “noodles” are actually mashed cuttlefish placed into a piping bag and squeezed out to create noodle shapes. This is squeezed directly into the hot broth where it cooks into “noodles”.
Noodles are always saved for last so that they are cooked in the broth that has absorbed all the flavours of the meat and vegetables that have been cooking in the soup base.
Even though we weren’t eating from a shared pot of broth, it still felt like a communal experience since we were still sharing food from the same plates and sitting around the same table. The food at ipot is fresh and I love that they make their own fishballs and meatballs. While hotpots at home will still be using communal pots, I can definitely see the benefits of having individual pots – it means no more lost, overcooked slices of meat floating around in the large pot, and more importantly – no more of other people stealing your cooked food!
Penguin says Feed Me dined courtesy of ipot and Horizon Communication Group
4-10 Goulburn St
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 8355 3188
Open 7 days, 11.30am-3pm, 5pm-10.30pm