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There is nothing more inviting in a frigid winter or a lunar new year feast than a hotpot 火鍋 ?   Known also as a steamboat as my Malaysian or Singaporean friends might call it or a fondue locally. While in the US, we had one made in Japan and the pot consisted of two compartments. Soups with different flavor could be heated in the same pot.  We used it for many years but had to give it away when we moved since 110 V appliance will not work here in Europe.

Our new hotpot is German (see switch panel). It is prettier and sturdier than the one we had. Shiny stainless steel, vented glass lid and a hot plate for grilling simultaneously.

The Swiss will use it for cheese fondue as it came with the long-necked forks for bread.  But it also came with wired baskets for Asian style cooking.

Unfortunately, it only has one cooking section – only one soup base at a time.  But the grill plate offers a whole new dimension – bulgogi ?

Our first meal was a hotpot with a kimchi-based seafood broth – we just started with tofu, daikon and chinese cabbage … then sliced meat … Yummy.

We improved our choices of food in our subsequent feasts to include scallops, baby bok choi, prawns, chinese black mushrooms, etc (can’t wait to eat, hence the messy photo, oops).

The meat was bought from Migros already sliced and labeled as Fondue Chinoise – the Swiss fondue culture apparently include Asian-style hotpot (some adventurous Swiss must have thought years ago – hey, we have the equipment already, why not swap out the cheese and put some spicy broth in the pot).  They like this concept so much that the local supermarket sells packs of sliced pork, beef, veal, and even horse meat, single variety or mixed. While Asians like to put many different stuff (including innards) into a hotpot, I have yet to see horse meat.  One can also buy packs with chicken and/or turkey.  The quality of the meat is superb – very tender and no fat! Regarding fat content, the Swiss taste diverges from the Asian preference (the more marbled the better). The Swiss also sliced the meat a bit too thick – it is really more suitable for sukiyaki than shabu-shabu.

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