Wednesday, October 13, 2010

789 Xin Gai Nian Hot Pot (Shanghai, China)

789 "New Concept " Hot Pot, with locations in Suzhou and Shanghai, is a great clean place to have individual hot pots. Sometimes called "shabu shabu", these hot pots are a very popular thing all over Asia, especially in the winter time.

Hot Pots consist of 3 main things, the soup base, dipping sauce, and raw ingredients. Soup base can be made of several things and can range from light and healthy to thick and spicy.

There's a "sauce bar" where they have all sorts of ingredients where you can customize your own dipping sauce to your taste. You use this sauce with the things you cook in your hot pot.

Lastly, you order raw ingredients that you throw into your boiling soup base to cook and eat.

Duck's Blood
I promise it doesn't taste as bad as it looks. For most it'll probably be a textural issue, but for those that can get over that it's a great thing to eat. Rich with iron and good f

Beef Tripe
A little whiter than it should be in this picture, tripe is part of the lining of the cow's stomach. When cooked, tripe had a very chewy texture that isn't as gamy or grassy as you would think.
Seafood and Meat Balls
Starting from the bottom right going clockwise: beef balls stuffed with cheese. When you cook them the cheese melts and it tastes pretty unique. Next are shrimp balls, then fish balls, then squid balls. Each of these start in the pate form and are rolled into balls by hand so they're made fresh and never frozen.

Lamb Slices
When you eat hotpot, the whatever meat you choose always comes thinly sliced. In this case we chose the chop cut in which they slice and roll them thinly.
Ribeye Beef Slices
Fresh and delicious. The beef comes out very tender assuming you don't cook it for too long.
Tofu Skin
Made with soy beans, these tofu skins are delicious when added to hot pots. They come out slightly stiff, but after you cook them they become soft.

Veggies are a must when eating hot pot. Eating meat and seafood along with other things can become very heavy, so throwing in the occasional vegetables can help the appetite to continue on.
Assorted Mushrooms
If you don't already know, I love mushrooms. Here, there are 4 popular mushroom types eaten not only in Asia, but also in the US. 

After ordering all the raw ingredients, you throw what you want into your pot with the soup base you chose and let it cook away. Once it starts boiling, you're good to go. 

Verdict? The ambiance and the food here is great. It's perfect for family gatherings or just eating with a friend or significant other. If I go back to Shanghai again during the winter time, I'll surely be hitting up this hot pot joint.

789 Xin Gai Nian Hot Pot

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