Hotpot is not a dish, it’s a culture — a culture that celebrates union and reunion.
It’s also a popular way of eating during cold seasons, though people in Szechuan enjoy hotpot throughout the year, with Szechuan peppercorn being the distinguishing ingredient in the soup stock. We, in the south, love a clear and simple broth to bring out the flavours of various ingredients in their natural forms.
Having travelled to other countries in Asia, I have discovered other delightful tabletop barbecues and ways of eating in a gathering while cooking. Korean and Japanese barbecues are some of my favourites, so far. Banchan, a restaurant in Sandton, offers one of the best Gogi Gui (Korean barbecue) in the city.
I particularly love their samgyeopsal (thinly sliced pork belly) and galbi (thinly sliced beef short rib), marinated, cooked on a tabletop grill, and then wrapped in lettuce with fermented kimchi and a dollop of spicy sauce. Paired with a sip of soju, the flavours dance on my palette and heart for hours.