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Navigate the Sauce Bar like a Pro: A Guide to Hotpot Restaurant Sauce Combos

October 28, 2019

You’ve probably been to more than one hotpot restaurant this year. Some of you are already pros, navigating through meat selections and peculiar animal parts like you’ve eaten them your whole life. But there are those  who still freeze at the sauce bar. Hey, we don’t blame you. How could you possibly find just the right combination, especially when you have a crazy myriad of sauces? Well, we’re here to help you out with five our go-to sauce combos. Pro-tip: while you can enjoy these sauces as is, they’re really starting points. You can customize them according to your taste as you go. (We personally like the addition of vinegar and MSG to any of the five.)

Traditional Sauce

This basic sauce is made up of traditional Chinese seasoning: soy sauce coriander, and fresh chilies. It’s great on its own as it complements your soup and meats without masking their inherent flavors. That said, it’s also the easiest to play around with. Go nuts—even just adding a little bit more of the three can make for a whole new experience.

Sesame Sauce

Our sesame sauce makes use of all the sesame options: sesame paste, sesame oil, and sesame seeds; plus, chili oil and soy sauce. We recommend this if you’re having noodles with your hotpot, as they give it a dandan noodle-esque vibe.

Chinese Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce is the best all-purpose sauce. You can even have it alone, without any added seasoning. Although, we do recommend adding a few toppings. For our version, we add chili flakes, sesame seeds, and spring onions.

Umami Beef and Peanuts Sauce

This sauce includes a few off-hand ingredients, so try it out if you’re feeling adventurous (and if you’re in a great hotpot restaurant that has an extensive sauce bar). It combines chunky chili oil, beef paste, peanuts, minced garlic, fermented lotus, and soybean paste for an umami-forward flavor.

Spicy Crunchy GarliC Sauce

A mixture of different hot and floral chilies, this textured sauce is for fans of a heat that’s spicy and numbing. To make, combine crunchy chili oil, chili flakes, fresh chili, peanuts, garlic, sichuan oil, and soy sauce.

Jica Simpas Jica Simpas

Jica hopes that by writing about food she'll actually learn how to cook. But for now, she'll happily just eat everything—especially cookies.

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