Fondue Turns 'Hot' For Chinese New Year
The Swiss may have invented fondue but the Chinese seem to have been using it centuries ago. It is fondue with a difference when it comes to Chinese New Year. Although not your usual chocolate-filled delight, this Chinese hotpot is no less tasty, mind it. After all, the Chinese sheepherders were dipping chunks of meat and vegetables into the simmering communal hotpot long before the chocolate fondue came into being.
The main aim behind hosting a hotpot dinner as part of the Chinese New Year tradition is to bring the families together and keep the usual distractions like books, laptops, mobile phone away.
The Chinese style of fondue is symbolized in an ancient dish called “Huoguo”, which literally translates to “fire pot”. In this arrangement of food, diners are provided with generous amounts of vegetables, seafood, meats and noodles along with a single, large pot of simmering broth. The hotpots are used to cook broth without oil. Besides, there are smaller bowls of dipping sauces to flavor your food with. The dipping sauces include soy sauce, sesame oil or paste, garlic, hoisen, hot mustard and Chinese barbecue sauce
The traditional broth is flavored with chicken, beef or vegetable broth and Asian flavors like lemongrass, ginger and chillis are abundantly used. The food used to dip in the broth is an impressive collection of fish cakes, fresh corn, beef tongue, watercress, lamb, shrimp, baby bok choy, tofu and udon noodles.
The hotpot is perfectly suitable for the Chinese New Year celebration since the Chinese believe that the New Year’s Eve should be celebrated together at home. This balanced, simple and abundant food culture definitely scores brownie points over the Swiss fondue, not only for the history attached to it but also for the sentiments that it cherishes.
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