1.Shuan yang rou, or Mongolian hot pot as it is often known in the West, is a very popular Chinese dish, especially in Beijing, and is primarily eaten in winter, when cold winds blow down from Mongolia. It particularly popular for Chinese New Year. Yang rou is Mandarin for lamb, the favored meat for this dish. Shuan can be roughly translated as “to swish.”
2. Hot pot (Chinese: 火锅; pinyin: huǒ guō), less commonly Chinese fondue or steamboat, refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood. The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce. In many areas, hot pot meals are often eaten in the winter.
The Chinese hot pot boasts a history of more than 1000 years. While often called “Mongolian hot pot”, it is unclear if the dish actually originates in Mongolia. Mongol warriors had been known to cook with their helmets, which they used to boil food, but due to the complexity and specialization of the utensils and the method of eating it, hot pot cooking is much better suited to a sedentary culture. A nomadic household will avoid such highly specialized tools, to save volume and weight during migration. Both the preparation method and the required equipment are unknown in the cuisine of Mongolia of today.
Hot pot cooking seems to have spread to northern China during the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-906). In time, regional variations developed with different ingredients such as seafood. By the Qing Dynasty, the hot pot became popular throughout most of China. Today in many modern homes, particularly in the big cities, the traditional coal-heated steamboat or hot pot has been replaced by electric, gas or induction cooker versions.
Because hot pot styles change so much from region to region, many different ingredients are used.
Cooking method Hot pot with grill surrounding itFrozen meat is sliced deli-thin to prepare it for hot pot cooking. Slicing frozen meat this way causes it to roll up during cooking, and it is often presented as such. Meats used include lamb, beef, chicken, duck, mutton and others. The cooking pot is often sunk into the table and fueled by propane, or alternatively is above the table and fueled by a portable butane gas stove or hot coals. Meat or vegetables are loaded individually into the hot cooking broth by chopsticks, and cooking time is brief. Meat often only takes 15 to 30 seconds to cook.
There are often disagreements between different styles of hot pot enthusiasts. Some like to place items into the hot pot at a relaxed, leisurely pace, enjoying the cooking process, while others prefer to throw everything in at once and wait for the hotpot to return to a boil.
3. Shuan Yang RouIn Beijing, an international city in China, you can find many kinds of cuisines around the world, while, Shuan Yang Rou, instant-boiled mutton slices, is one of the finger-countable local flavors. After I first tried it when I came to Beijing ten years ago, it becomes one of my regular dining-outs. Outsiders often mix it up with hot pot, a flavor originated from Chongqing, a municipality in the southwest of China, whose pot contains thick soup, hot and spicy, while the pot of Shuan Yang Rou contains only clear water, and every taste is in a dish of special sesame jam, which is usually the top secret of a restaurant, since it can lure fussy goers far away. You fetch a piece of mutton, usually transported from the grassland of Inner Mongolia, with chopsticks, and put it into the boiling water for a little while, then, get it out and put it into the dish of sesame jam, and it is ready to serve. The action, Shuan in the clear water, is quite easy to learn, and people put a different meaning to this little verb, cheated or befooled, i.e., you are asked to do something but finally you get nothing reward at all.