Celebrating the Year of the Horse with Chinese Hot Pot

This is a very late post, since we had this meal in January for Chinese New Year.  For some reason the photos didn’t upload onto my computer until now, when I finally plugged in my iPhone.  After looking at the photos, I can’t help but share with you all of this deliciousness!

Sliced Meats
Sliced Meats

As we welcomed in the Year of the Horse, our awesome friends (thanks Mike, Pei and Jackie!) wanted to ensure our good luck and prosperity by preparing a proper Chinese meal, a traditional Shuan Yang Rou, Chinese “hot pot” or more commonly known as “Shabu-shabu” (in Japanese). This special dish are often consumed on the first day of the lunar calendar.

“Hotpot” consists of briefly cooking raw food in a seasoned, boiling broth. The broth is simply seasoned in order to highlight the natural flavor of the food.


With the help of adults, the kids slowly placed the sliced meats (beef, pork and chicken) and several types of fishcakes and fishballs into the steaming broth.  Adding their favorite vegetables, which included chinese cabbage, mushrooms and udon noodles last.

Meats, Veggies and more in the hot pot!
Meats, Veggies and more in the hot pot!
We want fishcake!
We want fishcake!

Of course my daughter picks only the “pink” items first (the pink fish ball and fishcake) since she decided if it looks nice it must taste nice.  Jaf on the other hand, didn’t want anything that resembled a vegetable since he says, “I had too much vegetables last week already”.

"Thanks Mom"!
“Thanks Mom”!

Soon after our hot pot bonanza, Aunty Pei decided to teach all the kids how to make dumplings.  Minced pork, onions and cabbage are mixed together and nicely placed into the middle of a wonton wrapper, folded and pinched to perfection.  It was fun to watch and participate in…

Making dumplings :)
Making dumplings 🙂
Learning to make dumplings!
Learning to make dumplings!
Great focus here...
Great focus here…
Finished dumplings :)
Finished dumplings 🙂

We then placed the dumplings into the hotpot and enjoyed eating it over and over.

However, the most popular food to eat for Chinese New Year is the traditional Chinese steamed pudding called gau.  This sweet, sticky rice pudding is made out of brown sugar and glutinous rice flour, often wrapped in ti leaves and steamed for hours. It’s sticky, like family bonds are supposed to be, and topped with sesame seeds, a symbol of fertility, and a Chinese red date for good luck.


This meal was very special for so many reasons.  It was the celebration of a New Year, the closing of an old and a bonding experience within our close knit family to remember all we’ve been through, are going through and will endure in the future.  Our kids will never forget this experience and till now talk about how they are looking forward to next Chinese New Year!

This meal illustrates the Chinese love of food, and just how important food is to the Chinese way of life.

This is Chinese culture, warm, welcoming, generous, and family-oriented, just like our friends who prepared it.

We will miss them so… 😦

*Dedicated to our great friends Mike, Pei and Jacklyn who are leaving Hawaii on May 1st.  We will never forget you!  Especially when we eat hotpot!!

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