Ring in the Year of the Rooster with traditions old and new. Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach gives us the dish on traditional Asian hot pot and a citrusy Grand Marnier cocktail recipe that is sure to please.
The year of the rooster is upon us, with billions of people taking part in Lunar New Year celebrations all across the world. A key component to celebrating is the ritual of getting together with loved ones, family, and friends, over hot pot. Also known as shabu-shabu or sometimes Asian fondue, hot pot is a social meal, one meant to linger over, and thought to bring good luck, happiness, and peace for the upcoming year.
Commonly congregating in restaurants or from a street vendor, partakers of hot pot bond over steaming pots with each family imparting a variation on the time honoured meal. Broths are just as varied as the regions they represent, with each ingredient subtlety flavouring the broth.
Well-known author and Toronto Chef Sang Kim hosted a Hot Pot banquet at Galleria Supermarket, demonstrating the dos and don’ts of this communal meal. Sampling Yin-Yang Hot Pot from China, Sukiyaki from Japan and Budae Jjigae (Army Stew) from Korea, Chef Kim guided us through a typical Hot Pot journey, first adding veggies to the base, then tofu, starches like lotus root, and finally your proteins, like shrimp, clams or scallops, lamb, rib eye or, hot dogs and spam, in the case of Budae Jjigae.
Seafood and spicy Sichuan broths are divided down the middle for the Yin-Yang hot pot from China. Additions of watercress, enoki mushrooms, and napa cabbage ensure a good dose of roughage, while thinly sliced lamb and rib eye are simmered as the last ingredients to ensure they’re tender and not overcooked.
Adding garnishes and sauces ups the flavour profile in the delicate Sukiyaki. Sesame paste, hoisin and sriracha sauce pair well with the slightly sweet broth, firing up the sweet and spicy taste buds.
Bolder flavours amp up the Budae Jjigae, with a peppery chili base, spam, hot dogs and slices of Kraft cheese added in for umami just at the end.
So where can you get a good hot pot in Toronto? Chef Sang Kim suggests checking out some of the best spots in Koreatown, with Imonay and Yummy Korean Food being top picks. North York has its own mini-Koreatown, with Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu being a top pick for hot pot around Yonge and Finch. East side Scarborough boasts the busy Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot as a top ranking contender, with bonus points for being AYCE.
And if you choose to hot pot at home, you can mix old traditions with new by adding some cocktails into the mix, like the Matinee Marnier. Inspired by the Lunar New Year, the citrusy concoction was created by Vancouver-based Sabrine Dhaliwal. Here’s how to make it at home:
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake vigorously for 7 to 10 seconds.
Double strain cocktail into a Collins glass with ice. Top with soda and garnish with orange twist.
Whichever way you celebrate, Happy Year of the Rooster from Vv Magazine!
How will you celebrate Lunar New Year this year? Let Vv Magazine know in the comment section or tweet us at @Viewthevibe.