It was raining non-stop last Friday when Deb texted me if I wanted to have lunch with her. She wanted to eat hot pot so I suggested Choi Garden restaurant. Yes Choi again. Choi Garden is THE all in one Chinese restaurant that serves dimsum all day, ala carte, lauriat and hot pot.
To those who are not familiar with hot pot it’s the Chinese version of the Japanese shabu shabu. With hot pot, soup stock is used to cook your food instead of just plain water. It’s the healthy fondue.
This is a quick lesson on how to eat hot pot. Click on the menu to see all the choices you have.
Step 1. Choose your soup base. We chose the double soup in pot. One side is sate and the other side is clear soup. I like the sate soup because it adds a little kick to the flavor of whatever your cooking.
Hot Pot menu (click to enlarge)
Step 2. Choose your meat, poultry, seafood, meatballs, fish/squid/lobster balls, wanton or dumplings, vegetables and noodles. The choices are endless. Click the picture below to see what we chose. Everything we ordered was good but you HAVE to order the house fish curd. More on that later.
food for two!?! (click to enlarge)
sliced imported fat beef
Step 3. Make your sauce. Do you want it spicy hot? garlicky? Choose the ingredients you want. My favorite is the barbecue sauce which is grainy and not spicy. It’s not sweet like American barbecue sauce. It’s just plain good.
(click to enlarge)
This is how the Chinese style barbecue sauce looks like in the supermarket. I suggest you buy yourself a can and enjoy this sauce at home. You can use it on grilled meats, dumplings, wanton, siomai and much, much more .
Bull Dog Barbecue sauce
Deb’s sauce ingredients
You dip all your meat, fish balls, etc in the sauce before eating.
top it off with the soy based sauce
Step 4. Carefully put in the raw food into the soup. Wait for the soup to boil. When the balls, dumplings and wanton float to the top that means it’s cooked. For the beef just dunk it in the soup for a few seconds until the color changes. Be careful not to overcook it. Their beef is melt in your mouth tender.
The fish curd is only available at Choi. It’s my favorite. It tastes something in between soft fish ball and bean curd. Thus the name fish curd. You have to try it. It’s also available in their menu as fish curd stew. Check it out here.
Deb is “steaming w/ happiness”
filled with all our food
Step 5. Use the slotted spoon and scoop out your food from the boiling soup. Put it all in your bowl. Take a deep breath, smile and eat!
After cooking all that food the remaining soup will be very, very flavorful and concentrated. So don’t forget to drink the soup. There is nothing better to eat during a wet, chilly day than hot pot. Choi Garden Seafood and Shark’s Fin Restaurant 12 Annapolis St. cor. Purdue St. San Juan, Metro Manila telephone: 727-6042