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Our guest writer, Lionel the HotPotMan (HPM) first strike (read about him here). His immense experience in eating hotpots, stemming from his time in Beijing is captured in this 4-part series. Steamboat Strategy Part 1:
steamboat strategy: always put the white cabbage and corn in first. White
cabbage will take the longest to cook and the corn will sweeten the soup. Meats
wise, put in this order: pork, chicken then beef. Pork takes the longest to
cook and beef can be 'shabu-ed'.
In terms of starches, I recommend putting
vermicelli and other noodles only towards the end of the meal. Use the slotted
ladle and hold the noodles down with the soup ladle. Always make sure it
doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot coz it will burn and the whole pot is
befouled. If u choose black seaweed, then u have to be responsible for
mitigating it's ability to 'innervate' every other thing in the pot thereby
forcing everyone else to eat seaweed with u.
And the secret ingredient to make
a dipping sauce awesome is cumin. If given a choice between buffet and the more
expensive ala carte menu, my experience tells me that ROI is optimized by
choosing the buffet and then ordering specific premium items from the ala carte
Look out for Part 2 where our resident HPM talks about working with mala (麻辣） soup.