World Food Spot 6: Steamboat!

on Thursday, March 22, 2007

Steamboat! Steamboat! Steamboat! What comes to mind? Some of you may be thinking of the era of steamboats, steampackets or even the romantic Paddle Steamers that use to rule the waters like the Grand Ol' Mississipi. Hah! For most Asians it means "yummy, yummy for my tummy!"

Steamboat quite simply is the form of meal where people gather round a pot of simmering broth and cook various ingredients. These ingredients include meats, seafood, tofu, vegetables, eggs and noodles. The broth used can be a very plain chicken broth or it could be spicy as in a tom yam based broth. More recently, a thin clear broth with Chinese medicinal herbs has become quite popular. The medicinal herbs lend a sweet and bitter flavor to the broth as well as an excuse that eating more is good for one's health.

Apart from the appeasement of the tastebuds, the steamboat is a great social event. People have plenty of time and opportunity to interact, share and laugh as they play at being chef, put the ingredients into the communal pot, wait for the food to cook and then "fish" for their food. You often do not get back what you put in but get somebody else's contribution. It all adds to the fun.


The Raw Ingredients

This is one of my favorite types of meals and so I am particular that it is done properly. For maximum enjoyment, the ingredients should be cooked and eaten in several stages.Throughout the meal, a dipping sauce of chilli or soya sauce is used. Stage 1: Crabs are added to sweeten the broth. At the same time, various fast cooking seafood and tofu are also added. The broth allowed to boil and ingredients cooked. The heat is then lowered and the first round of eating can begin. Stage 2: When the cooked ingredients have been removed or eaten, it is now time to add thin chicken and beef slices together with more of stage 1 ingredients. Cook and eat. Stage 3: By this time, the broth will be incredibly rich from all the ingredients before, now add vegetables, noodles and eggs. This will create a nice noodle soup to finish the meal.

Believe me, the last few drops of broth will be just heavenly being infused with the flavors of all the ingredients used. Even a big eater like myself will be totally sated.

If you are in Southeast Asia, consider trying this. Variations of this can also be found in China and Korea. It is also very appropriate for cold, wet rainy days.


Yummy, the broth thickens.

Yummy, yummy. I cooked this.

20 comments:

daysgoby said...

YUM!

Like fondue, only more fun!

blackcrag said...

That looks pretty good. Sounds like a good time too.

There are stories of old inns in England which kept a pot of stew simering for days or even weeks. Each day the innkeeper or cook would add some more ingredients, and every evening the poorer guests would have a bowl or two of whatever was in the pot.

Brings to mind the children's rhyme of peas pudding "Peas pudding hot, peas pudding in the pot, nine days old."

Odat said...

Wow...that looks great...and you did that???? I'm impressed...
(I like lil Lone Wolf!! He makes my dog bark...lol)
Peace

etain_lavena said...

wowi, that is interesting, sounds fun:)

Tai said...

MMMM, I've had a dish very similar to that...I think it was Korean. The broth at the end was divine.
Great pictures, too!

CSL said...

Put that in a vegetable or seafood-based sauce and I'm all over it. Yum!

Gerbil said...

Something like that makes me really regret my shellfish allergies. That looks GOOD.

oklahoma squirrel said...

Mmmmm you had me at the crab! Yummy!!!!!

Proxima said...

I've never met a squirrel that eats so much meat before. There's nothing nothing here for the humble little vegetarian.

I did play with your little Wolfy spirit there and that was fun.

-P heading to the kitchen for some bread. :>

adelym said...

Wahhhhhhh!!!!!! you making me hungry lor....(malaysian way of speaking)...you must have ate a lot. I want some too...

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

daysgoby,
yes, like fondue. Yum.

blackcrag,
Thanks for coming by. Thanks also for the story about the old English inns and the nursery rhyme. It's very interesting. :)

Odat,
Anyone can do it. You just dump the ingredients in and allow to boil. Easy. The hard part is the preparation.

Odat & Proxima,
Glad you like Wolf Spirit but I don't know how he got there. He normally sits at the bottom of the page after all the posts. I really don't know how he got up there. Eerie, huh? If you don't hear from me again, I may have joined the wolf pack in the Twilight Zone.

etain,
you might have an opportunity to try this in UK. There is quite a large established Chinese community there.

tai,
yup, Korean is similar but their pot is designed so that you can cook like on a hot plate or in the broth.

csl,
Wish you could come for dinner.

gerbil,
Sorry about the allergy issue. Shame. Thanks for putting a link to my site.

Squirrel,
This proves all squirrels love crabs (based on a sampling of two humans pretending to be squirrels). Haha.

Proxima,
Sorry about that. There are vegetables, mushroom,and tofu but it is primarily a seafood feast.
See above for my comment to Odat on Wolf Spirit.

Adelym,
Hard not to eat a lot when its steamboat, la.

Josie said...

One of the Chinese girls that I work with said she was going home last night to have "hot pot" with her family, and she described it much the same way as the steam boat. She said she is going to teach me Chinese cooking because it is my favorite food in the whole world.

Your photos look good enough to eat :-)

Josie

Jocelyn said...

Your photos always add so much to your wonderful descriptions. I like, too, that you focus on the feeling of the meal as much as the food itself.

etain_lavena said...

wwwhoooohoooo....squirrel, I think that might be something on my todo list.....:)

Dave said...

You know... Thisis nOT the kinda thing I should be reading while I am hungry!!! LOL

I am getting the impression that if I was at your place, I would gain much more weight than I should!

The food looks AND sounds great! :-)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Josie,
I suspect in almost no time you will be an expert on Chinese food and cooking!

Jocelyn,
I am a strong believer that meals are a great time for social bonding.....unless I am extremely hungry. In that case, it's every man, woman and child for themselves.

etain,
let us know when it moves from the to do list to the been there done that list.

dave,
I am no light weight. If you were here, you'd put on weight just as I have done.

CSL said...

Congratulations, you’ve won a Thinking Blogger Award here.

adelym said...

Uncle LGS... maybe I arrange with Olivia to have steam boat at her place. You and Hoong not been there before rite. I check with Olivia on her availibity..ehehheh...yummy yummy steam boatty

Becky Wolfe said...

Wow! It does sound like fondue (but probably a little more healthy than the oil we use)

I love fondue-ing because it is a long enjoyable and social evening. You can eat slow & savour your food & visit the whole time.

I didn't know there was other such traditions. The photos are delicious looking! Its a great tradition.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

csl,
Who would have thought?!! Thanks.

adelym,
Sounds like a great idea.

becky,
Now you see, I've heard so much about it but I've never tried fondue.

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