Earlier this year, a Portland man slipped and fell into a hot spring in Yellowstone and died. According to the final report, he was trying "hot pot." Naturally, being the food hot pot lover I am, I was intrigued to see what type of hot pot he craved. But no. It turns out the term "hot pot" in this content meant that the tourist was trying to find a place to illegally soak in the thermal springs and pools of the park. Thankfully, though, everyone can safely and happily eat hot pot.

As the weather becomes colder, we crave warm soups and chowders, but in Eastern Asia, they have this dish called the hot pot. Basically, think of it as a broth in which people can put in whatever foods they want to boil in it. Hot pot is usually enjoyed with a group of people, making it the ultimate get-together bonding food experience.

What Is Hot Pot?

ramen, meat, vegetable, fish
Vylana Trang

Traditionally, hot pot was an experience in which there was one large pot of broth in the center of a table and a family or group would all put whatever foods they wanted to cook in it. Eventually, it transitioned into individual pots, so that people could boil different flavored stews and customize the foods they wanted to add and cook in front of themselves. Today, there are many restaurants out there that serve hot pot, both served already cooked for you and ready for consumption and those that you get to cook yourself at the table.

Consumed all year round, hot pot has become more popular as more people are trying it out. Personally, I crave cook-it-yourself hot pot way too often. This food experience allows a whole new level of fun and bonding with loved ones. Although this process of hot potting can be intimidating for newbies, here are the steps of how to hot pot to give you the ultimate hot pot experience.

How to Hot Pot

1. Choosing the Soup Base

soup, vegetable
Vylana Trang

This is the broth your foods will be cooking in. Because the soup base is what differentiates hot pot restaurants from each other, you can tell this is an essential step in the hot pot choosing process. The soup base you select is going to infuse its flavor into the foods you choose. Usually, restaurants have both original and spicy soup bases to choose from, so just choose to your spiciness liking. Also, some restaurants may even have specialty soups bases like Miso or Kimchi, so try those out if you know you like it.

2. Selecting the Basics

vegetable, meat, fish
Vylana Trang

Some of the essentials ingredients to hot pot are:

- Thinly sliced meat: Beef, Pork, Lamb

- Noodles: Vermicelli (glass noodles), Ramen, Udon

- Vegetables: Napa, Bok Choy, Cabbage

-Tofu: Soft Tofu, Firm Tofu, Iced Tofu, Fried Tofu Sk

3. Selecting the Add-Ons

Jocelyn Hsu

- Meat and Fish Balls, Fish Cake, Tempura

- Mushrooms: Enoki,  Maitake, 

- Seafood: Shrimp, imitation Crab, Clam, Octopus, Squid

For the adventurous: I dare you to try pork blood rice cake, quail egg, and pork intestine.

Hot pot is a heartwarming food experience that all can enjoy throughout the year. Although hot pot requires a lot of preparation (there are a lot of ingredients that go into it), you can customize what you want in it, so that makes it the perfect meal for everyone. So, next time you are feeling cold and hungry, get yourself a nice, warm hot pot.