Basically, it's a type of stew, cooked in a pot (we use an electric skillet) in the centre of the table. Each diner takes morsels from this pot and dips them in a sauce in his/her bowl. Everyone makes their own sauce according to their individual tastes.
I intend, over a series of Blog posts, to show you how we do it, including photos of the main ingredients, so that you can go to your local Asian supermarket and make your own. For today, however, I'll just post a couple of taster pictures - enjoy!
The table set for a hotpot meal. In the foreground are the sauce ingredients, a plate with three kinds of tofu, and eggs.
In the background is a bowl of bundled yam noodles, while in the foreground are beef (cut very thin, it cooks in less than a minute), green onions, and shrimps.
I should add that of all things that I have photographed, hotpot is one of the most difficult and challenging, firstly because of the "normal" difficulties of food photography, composition, lighting, etc.,
and also because I always have an irresistible urge to throw (well, put) down my camera and eat. And eat...