These days, Asian hot pots are quickly becoming the trendiest way to prepare food at home due to their easy-to-use, healthy cooking techniques. Hot pots are specially designed to cook a range of Asian inspired foods right at the comfort of your dining table. The hot pot itself is filled with stock and kept simmering away whilst you and your dinner guests place ingredients such as thinly sliced meats, noodles
and leafy vegetables into the pot.
With a cooking method similar to a slow cooker
, the meats, veggies, tofu or dumplings are cooked slowly in a flavorful broth for a taste sensation that is sure to knock your socks off! Many people have chosen to adopt this new style of cooking due to its DIY methods and the fact you get to cook AND eat your meal whilst chatting away to the ones you love. Just make sure you have enough tongs
for everyone to fish out their goodies first!
Before you go rushing off and purchasing any old hot pot, however, there are a few things you may want to consider before making your selection. Firstly, Asian hot pots come in two different designs, electric and manual. Electric hot pots are more modern in design and therefore need to be plugged into a socket or outlet to work. Traditional hot pots, however, are more simplistic and work by placing the pot over charcoal or solid fuel. The type of hot pot you choose will depend on whether or not you have a socket nearby your dining area and how quickly you want the product to heat up.
If you don’t have a socket nearby but still like the idea of an electric hot pot then keep an eye out for products that use a Butane stove instead. Electric hot pots cook far more quickly than traditional Asian hot pots and are much simpler to use (and less messy too). As electric hot pots are often made from stainless steel, however, they don’t tend to flavor your meals as well as clay or ceramic pots. If you are a fan of tradition and authentic flavors then a manual, clay, Asian hot pot may be more to your liking.
Another factor to consider before making your purchase is how large the pot should be to meet your needs. This is going to depend entirely on the size of your dining and table area as well as how many people will be using the product. The sizes of Asian hot pots vary dramatically so it may be a good idea to measure your table beforehand to ensure you have enough space. Remember that you will also need enough space for dinnerware, flatware and all of your ingredients.
Asian hot pots can also serve anywhere between 4 and 10 people depending on their capacity. If you are having a big get-together with friends then you may want to opt for products that have a 5 to 6 liter capacity. If, however, you are just cooking for yourself and your family then a smaller 2 liter capacity should suffice.
The cost of your Asian hot pot will depend on a variety of factors. Most Asian hot pots will set you back between $45 and $125 depending on the style of the product, the material from which the pot is made from and the capacity of the hot pot. Products at the higher end of this scale tend to be of the electric variety as they are easier to use, less messy and don’t require the purchase of charcoal or solid fuel. Electric hot pots also tend to be much larger in size and therefore have a greater capacity. That isn’t to say, however, that traditional hot pots don’t work as well; they are just more suited to a smaller, more intimate dinner setting. Cheaper Asian hot pots are available ($30 or lower) but be aware that these products won’t be electric, will be much smaller in size and likely to be flimsier in design.
The features you will want included in your new Asian hot pot will depend entirely on your own personal preferences as well as how much space you have available. There are a few handy features we recommend keeping an eye out for, however, to ensure you choose the best possible product for you!
Here are the important features to look out for…
- Vented Glass Cover
- Non-Slip Rubber Pads
- Silicone Handles
Construction and Design
When searching for your ideal Asian hot pot we recommend keeping an eye out for products that include a vented glass cover. Although this is only really a feature you can expect to find with electric hot pots, you will want to make sure your clay hot pot also has a lid for cooking. A ventilated glass lid will allow you to cover up your meal for a speedier cooking time as well as keeping the food free of pests. The benefit of the lid being made from glass is that it allows you to keep an eye on your meal as it simmers away to prevent overcooking.
Another useful feature we recommend looking for in your new product is a hot pot that includes both chopsticks and strainers. This will prevent you from having to go out and buy these products separately and means you can pretty much start cooking straight away! Plus, finding strainers and chopsticks can sometimes be a difficult task.
One particular feature that is a great idea to look out for is a hot pot that includes non-stick rubber pads at the bottom of the product. This will prevent the pot from slipping and sliding around during use and add a level of safety and security to meal times. As you will be cooking with flames and boiling water we highly recommend selecting products with this feature.
Finally, if you have opted for an electric style hot pot then you may want to look for products that include silicone handles. As most electric hot pots are made from stainless steel, they can get to high temperatures VERY quickly. Therefore, if you need to move the product or open the lid it is a good idea to have a product with silicone handles for safety.
Performance and Ease of Use
Care of your Asian hot pot depends on the type of product you have selected. If you have opted for a traditional hot pot, then simply hand wash the pot in soapy water after use. You will want to make sure that you give the pot a good scrub as clay can sometimes be difficult to clean. You will also want to make sure that you dry the product properly once washed as damp clay is a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
Make sure that the charcoal or solid fuel you have used to light the product is completely out before throwing the ash away. We recommend pouring water over the fuel before removing it to ensure it is well and truly out. If you have opted for an electric hot pot, the cleaning process is much simpler. As these hot pots are made from stainless steel some of them are actually dishwasher friendly…hoorah! For those that aren’t, however, simply take the product apart and hand wash the main bowl area in hot, soapy water. Make sure the product is switched off first though!
Fingers crossed, after reading through our buying guide you have figured out what type of Asian hot pot is most suitable to your needs as well as all the features you would like included in your new product. This will make it a lot easier when it comes to narrowing down your options and selecting the ideal hot pot for your next evening in with friends! So let’s get looking at our top 5 picks shall we?
Ancient Cookware prides itself on its wide knowledge of cuisine from all across the world. This is a brand that is passionate about food, authentic preparation and ultimately bringing people together. It sells traditional cookware from the likes of Thailand, Columbia and Morocco, just to name a few. If you are after authenticity at meal times then look no further than Ancient Cookware. Since the majority of its products are made from natural materials, you won’t have to worry about any nasty chemicals such as BPA interfering with the taste of your delicious home-cooked meals.
The Ancient Cookware Thai Clay Hot Pot presents and cooks foods such as curries and soups beautifully. With its 2-quart capacity serving up to 4 people, this is the perfect product for a fun and sociable, sit-down meal with friends and family. The unglazed clay used on this hot pot not only makes the product durable but acts as a flavour enhancer too. Make sure to wash and dry this product thoroughly, however, as its moisture, although great for food, is not so hot for mould. That’s one flavour you don’t want to be adding to your soups and curries.
Simply put this hot pot over charcoal or solid fuel and fill it up with any aromatic broth your tummy desires. Add a variety of vegetables, meats, noodles and anything else you fancy once the water is boiling. This particular set comes with the pot, lid and burner, everything you need to start hot potting straight away.
With such an obvious passion for creating delicious Korean foods, it’s no surprise Crazy Korean Cooking has become increasingly popular over the last few years. The brand stresses that it "would not sell anything that we would not use ourselves." This is demonstrated by the fact that it won't use lead, cadmium, arsenic or any other nasty chemicals. Crazy Korean Cooking is all about offering beautiful products that will enhance the flavour of your food and your mood while cooking. The main aim of the company is to help you create authentic Korean dishes. And if you are still not convinced about this brand, it helps out local charities too.
We chose to feature the Large Korean Stone Bowl Hot Pot, as we loved its authentic feel and the fact it comes in a variety of different sizes depending on who you are entertaining. You can buy just the one, or buy the whole collection for a Korean feast! The practicality of this product is also a huge plus. You can cook directly on a stovetop, in the oven, or even shove it in the microwave when you are feeling particularly lazy. When you're finished, you can simply plop it into the dishwasher with no fear of damaging this durable product. Unlike similar bowls made from natural stone, this product is more sanitary and far easier to clean as it's made from fine clay ceramic. The bowl is not permeable to water and remains breathable, so it has a much longer shelf life than other stone products. The even distribution of heat this ceramic bowl creates when cooking also improves the flavor of your food, keeping it sizzling and hot.
Look at Crazy Korean Cooking’s other collections and products, as well as the other stone bowls in this collection, to create the perfect Korean banquet for you and your friends!
By now you should have a better understanding of what you are looking for in your new hot pot cooker. If the featured products we have chosen don’t quite appeal to you, just take a look at the other products offered by our chosen brands and find the cooker that is right for you! What are you waiting for? Get shopping!