Consider Celebrating New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day at This Culinary Delight-Hotto Potto
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
For many years, I’ve been trying to convince some of the local Asian restaurants to consider bringing the art of Hot Pot (think of it as Asian style Fondu with more variety of food and sauces) to Central Florida region. Most of them declined in fear of attempting a historically winter culinary art in this tropical/subtropical region. Hot pot always brings back memory of the cozy and warm holiday season from early part of my childhood spent on a beautiful Pacific island of Formosa, when friends and family would gather around the table filled with great variety of freshly prepared (thinly sliced) uncooked food (meat, vegetables, seafood, tofu, dumplings, noodle, etc.),
accompanied by marvelously tasty sauces with centrally located hot pot. All participants may be his/her own chef, cooking his/her own selection of meat and vegetables in the hot pot to their hearts’ delight, then stir in or dip cooked food in the sauces in individuals’ bowls or plates. It’s an art that fosters intimacy and sense of exploration.
Quite a few restaurants of Central Florida in recent years have tried, but none have come as close to being qualified as “The Experience” that I’ve had at Hotto Potto (3090 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, FL 32792, 407-951-8028 soon to be moved to 1700 Semoran Ave., Orlando, FL in Feb. of 2016)! Not only does Hotto Potto prepares beautifully fresh meat, vegetables, tofu, dumplings, and seafood, the owners also prepared home-made sauces. Besides the standard garlic, ginger, and peanut sauces, be sure to also try Sacha, HP House, Salty Bean (needs an acquired taste),
and hot chili sauces, etc. My…my…my…my papillae have not had such a work out for quite some time! It brings out the sensation throughout one’s body and one cannot help but feels excited about and stimulated by the food that one is cooking/eating. The enterprising owners of Hotto Potto have also made such fantastic homemade recipes of sauces available to the general public at their online shop. Be sure to also check out Hotto Potto’s annual cook off (with prizes ranging from $500, $300, to $200 gift cards) using their sauces. So, I wouldn’t be too surprised if there will be a recipe book coming from Hotto Potto some time in the future.
The wonderful thing about dining at Hotto Potto is the fact that the menu has such a wide range of selections that regardless if you are an omnivore, carnivore, vegetarian, or vegan, your palate is surely to be pleased. Hostess/manager Tammy took us step by step through the art of cooking and eating with hot pot:
- Choose your broth. There are meat and vegetarian options with choices of spices (from non- to numb-spicy).
- Choose your ingredients. Pick from wide selection of meats, seafood, vegetables, dumplings, tofu, noodles, and more!
- Make your own sauces from a tray of more than a dozen home-made sauces while your broth boils.
- Add and cook your ingredients. Suggested minimum cooking times are on your table.
- Remove your cooked ingredients from the pot with the slotted and soup ladles.
- Top or dip with your own creation of sauces.
- By the end of cooking session, the remaining nutritious and delicious broth will taste great with noodle and vegetables….hm…hm…good!
- Enjoy! Give your taste buds a great work out!
For some historical flavor, this is what Wikipedia has to say about hot pot (also known as steamboat in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, China and Brunei), in italics, below:
The Chinese hot pot has a history of more than 1,000 years. Hot pot seems to have originated in Mongolia and the Jin Dynasty where the main ingredient was meat, usually beef, mutton or horse. It then spread to southern China during the Song Dynasty and was further established during the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty. In time, regional variations developed with different ingredients such as seafood. By the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644 to 1912), the hot pot became popular throughout most of China. Today in many modern homes, particularly in larger cities, the traditional coal-heated steamboat or hot pot has been replaced by electric, propane, butane gas, or induction cooker versions.
Perhaps in time we will even see solar hot pot cooker becoming available on the market.
Even though my husband and I do not drink alcoholic beverages, Hotto Potto does offer sake cocktail
in addition to their delightful boba tea. All guests seem pleased with their meals and have enjoyed their experience at Hotto Potto.
No wonder Hotto Potto is opening into such late hours:
- Monday-Thursday: 11:00 am-2:00 am
- Friday-Saturday: 11:00 am-5:00 am
- Sunday: 11:00 am-12:00 am Apparently a lot of local bars and restaurant workers would gather at Hotto Potto after their work hours. This is a sure sign that Hotto Potto is highly recommended! Of course, where else can you find a place with such a wide selection of fresh menu items for each and every member in the group, while every one or any one has total control of the amount of cooking time or flavors of the finished dish. It is such a popular restaurant that the owner(s) is in the process of moving to a new location at 1700 Semoran Ave., Orlando, FL in February, 2016, in order to have more seating for all the customers. By the way, they are making the special New Year Eve celebration All You Can Eat and Drink on NYE available til 2:00 am, with two seatings (one from 5:00 pm-8:00 pm, another from 9:00 pm-12:00 am, at $88.88 per person). So, be sure to call 407-951-8028 or check their web site for the exact date of their future move. I, on the other hand, am so impressed by Hotto Potto that I am hoping it will eventually set up shop in a location within 5 minutes of my home in Windermere. One can always hope 🙂 .
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