Hongkongers’ love towards hot pot never changes. It is an all-time favorite for many of us – we have hot pot regardless of season! While most people focus on the ingredients to be put in the pot, the importance of having a good soup stock should also be highlighted. But how do we choose a suitable soup base for our beloved hot pot?
What is a good ‘soup stock’? 何謂好湯底？
Hot pot is basically cooking food at the dining table with boiling water or stock. As most of the ingredients are not marinated or flavoured in advance, the flavouring properties of a soup stock is vital. A good stock should enhance the flavours of the ingredient without hiding its freshness and characteristics. Meanwhile, soup stock also contributes to the nutritional value of the whole meal. Its essence, as well as nutrients, are absorbed by the food during the cooking process, and you can by no means escape from the fats and salt inside the stock simply by not consuming it! How can we strike a balance between sensational enjoyment and healthiness? Are they complementary? Let’s look into some of the popular choices.
Rising Star – Chinese Spicy Stock 火鍋新貴—— 麻辣火鍋
What is better than having a hot and spicy stock for your hot pot on a freezing night? Sichuan-style spicy hot pot is a new rising star for hot pot lovers. The extreme spicy sensation introduces excitement to both our taste buds and our mind! Yet, for the sake of our physical health, a spicy hot pot may not be that exciting for our body… T he hotness and spiciness irritates the lining of your stomach and guts. This may eventually hurt the digestive system, and may increase the chance of getting associated cancer. Having a spicy hot pot occasionally is fine, but it is best to not consume it frequently.
Pork Bone Stock 豬骨湯
A mild yet popular choice is pork bone stock. As its name suggests, the stock is cooked out of the thigh bone of pigs. Other vegetables, such as corns and carrots, are sometimes included as stock ingredients to provide sweetness and freshness. Sounds pretty healthy and nutritious, right? Indeed, this is a good choice for homemade stock stocks, but it is best to avoid the premade versions. Premade pork bone stock is usually cooked in batches to maximise time and the essence of pork bones. For the sake of taste and preservation, ample amounts of salt and flavour-enhancing chemicals, such as MSG, are usually added to the premade stock. This may cause extra burden to our heart and kidney, and in the long term, harm our body as a whole. If you would like to try out this savoury soup, it’s better to opt for a DIY version.
A healthy and special alternative – tomato stock 健康新選擇我——番茄湯底
Tomato stock is probably not a new thing to you – but have you ever tried this stock before? With tomato’s signature strong color and taste, some people tend to avoid tomato stocks in hot pot. Yet, it can actually intensify meaty flavours the most, and it is also one of the healthiest stocks you can get! Being rich in glutamic acid, tomatoes enhance the ‘yumminess’ (or umami) of your food! From a health perspective, tomatoes contains different carotenoids such as lycopene and beta-carotene, which bring about tremendous health benefits. For example, research has found that a tomato-rich diet is associated with lower risks of getting certain cancers and diseases. Meanwhile, other nutrients, antioxidants for instance, are also beneficial to our health.
相信各位讀者應該久仰番茄湯底的大名；但你又曾否在火鍋內一嚐番茄湯的韻味？番茄色香味俱濃，故不少食客均對其避之則吉。但是，番茄湯底不但可以提升肉類的鮮味； 而且更是其中一款最健康的湯底！番茄含有素有天然增味濟之稱的麩胺酸（glutamic acid，為胺基酸之一）， 有助增加食物的鮮味。從健康角度而言，番茄有茄紅素、胡蘿蔔素等多種類胡蘿蔔素，對健康的百利而無一害。研究指出，食用適量的類胡蘿蔔素有助減低患上癌症的機會率。番茄內還有不同的營養素，如抗氧化劑；這些營養素亦對我們身體十分有益。
Choosing a good soup stock can indeed lead you to a heavenly hot pot experience. However, apart from enhancing the flavours of your meal, soup stocks can also affect the nutritional values of your hot pot, or introduce potential health risks, even if you don’t consume it on its own! Our advice? Consider both flavours and your health when deciding your next soup stock.
But choosing quality ingredients for you hot pot is equally important. Jou Sun’s vendors have a wide range of ingredients that are perfect for hot pots, ranging from freshly harvested organic veggies to traditional, locally-made fishballs and quality Wagyu beef and Iberico pork slices. With traceable, quality ingredients, you’ll get maximum flavours, textures, and peace of mind. Delivered for your convenience of course!