09 May Hot Pot at the Orchid
A Hotpot Dinner Is Big Fun – Have you ever sat in a foodie steam room? It might sound a bit bizarre, but it did feel like it the other day. The first time I was introduced to ‘a Hotpot’ meal was many years ago on my travels to China close to the border of Mongolia. The only thing I remember is a huge pot with steaming stock and our group sitting around the table and consuming a lot of food. That is actually what it is all about!
A Hotpot meal or a Steamboat as they call it in Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei is a very popular family meal. Everybody sits around the table and puts their food in a communal bowl with steaming stock. Throughout the meal and especially afterwards, you should take some of the stock too as it gets better as the meal goes on.
The Hotpot originated in Mongolia more than 1,000 years ago. The main ingredient was meat, usually beef, mutton or horse. During the Tang Dynasty, it spread to southern China and become more popular in China during the Yuan and Qing Dynasty. As time moved on, flavours (ingredients) have moved on too. Almost anything is possible these days, from tofu to fruits, bean curd, seafood, noodles and Shiitake mushrooms. The cooked food is usually eaten with dipping sauces.
As flavours have moved on to have the heating techniques. Today in many modern homes, particularly in the big cities, the traditional coal-heated steamboat or hot pot has been replaced by electric, propane, butane gas, or induction cooker versions.
In Cambridge, you can enjoy a Hotpot these days too. One of the best and funkiest ones you will find at The Orchid on the first floor of their restaurant on Newmarket Road. A set of stairs leads you to a light modern room with induction tables. At first, you will not notice, this is the case as they seem to be very nice glass tables, but on further inspection, you will spot the induction area. No fear though as it only works with their funky colourful bowls.
This funky room might feel a tad chilly to start off with, but it will soon be filled with hot delicious steam, which warms the room and you then appreciate why the air-conditioning is on. Their selection of food is very good from seafood to bean curd and noodles as you can see from the images above. You give your own spice to it by choosing your flavour of stock and dipping sauce. They have quite a selection of both. I am a big fan of the spicy version, but you can opt for mushroom and other versions too.
And if you’re really in the mood to party the night away, then you can hit their even funkier KTV rooms. Or better known to us as Karaoke rooms. It’s included in your meal. Please ask for details when you book.
If you don’t fancy a Hotpot, but a Chinese fusion banquet then you can get in touch with me as we have made a special deal for groups with them, which is only available to us. Never been to the Orchid? Check out what it’s like here.