It's time for hotpot! Hotpot dates back centuries and enjoys popularity among Chinese people, and Cantonese food-lovers are no exception! Though all hotpots bear some resemblance, Cantonese hotpot, as its culture, possesses some distinctive features.
Hotpot (file photo)
Cantonese food is a delicate cuisine, and this exquisiteness lies not only in the food itself but in what holds the food. As for hotpot, the ideal container should be a casserole dish, which Cantonese believe can best bring out the taste and fragrance of ingredients. So in Cantonese, having a hotpot is called "Da Bin Lou (打边炉)". However, cooking with a casserole dish will take a long time, so it is rarely seen in the fast-paced Cantonese life, and commonly iron pots are widely used.
The second feature is about the soup. Unlike people in many other provinces who are fond of pepper soup, Cantonese hotpot is generally mild. Some people may even use pure boiling water to cook the ingredients for the sake of their original tastes, but most locals favor soup cooked with chicken, fish or shrimps, which will make the ingredients more palatable. Another popular "soup" is porridge cooked with rice, providing a special taste.
Then we come to the leading actor - the ingredients. The most common ones are fish, chicken, goat or beef, the food you never fail to find in every kind of Cantonese cooking. And the most characteristic one is seafood. As a coastal city, Guangzhou is supplied with fresh seafood all the year round, and it's no surprise that you will see them in the gourmets' pots: fish, shrimps, crabs, scallops and oysters. Meat balls made of beef, fish, pork, cheese and the mixture of them are also preferred, particularly by children. Healthy and balanced as Cantonese cuisine is, vegetables, mushrooms, carrot and tofu are also bestsellers.
Feeling tempted now? Go to the nearest hotpot shop and bon appetite!
(By Zhang Jingyi, Rik Glauert)