When it comes to Hot Pot, your mind probably goes straight to China and all its glorious variations. But did you know that the joy of communal Hot Pot dining extends far beyond China’s borders? 

In fact, hot pot variations can be found throughout Asia, each with its own flavour variations and cooking styles. In this guide, we will explore 5 diverse Hot Pot styles you can find across the South-East regions of the continent, from Japan and Korea to Thailand and Malaysia. 



Country of origin: Japan

Cooking style: Sukiyaki is traditionally cooked at the table in a shallow metal pot, heated by charcoal or a portable stove. Unlike other Hot Pot variations, the ingredients are stewed in a thicker sauce rather than being boiled in a broth. 

Popular Ingredients: Beef is the most popular meat used in Sukiyaki, and is often browned off in oil in the pot before anything else is added. 

A sweet sauce, made from soy sauce, sugar, sake and mirin is added once the beef is browned.

Quick-cooking food such as vegetables, tofu and noodles are introduced for the last bit of cooking. 

Dipping sauce: Locals love to dip cooked ingredients in a beaten raw egg before they are eaten. 



Country of origin: Japan

Cooking style: An authentic shabu-shabu cooking pot has a chimney in the middle to let out steam, but any metal cooking pot can be used.

Shabu Shabu is often eaten in ‘courses’. Each ingredient is dipped separately from the other ingredients, boiled in the broth and then eaten straight away. This is different to other Hot Pot styles, where different ingredients are cooked in the pot all at once. 

Popular Ingredients: The broth is most commonly made from dashi or kombu (kelp) which gives it a light, savoury and umami flavour. 

Thin slices of beef that can cook quickly in boiling broth are the primary meat used in Shabu-Shabu, but pork is popular too. 

Dipping sauce: A creamy sesame sauce and zingy Ponzu sauce, which is made from Japanese citrus fruits are both enjoyed as a part of this dish. 



Country of origin: Thailand 

Cooking style: This Thai dish is heated by charcoal or gas, and is a combination of BBQ and Hot Pot in one pan. 

The centre of the pot is raised for you to grill meat, and there is a moat of boiling broth surrounding the centre which is there for you to cook other ingredients in it. 

Popular ingredients: With Mu meaning pork, and Kratha meaning pan or skillet, it’s no surprise that pork is the most popular meat to grill. You can also grill chicken, beef and prawns in the centre too.

In the surrounding broth, fish balls, squid balls, crab sticks, and soft tofu are some firm favourites among locals.

Dipping Sauce: Nam Chim is the most popular sauce, which is made from fresh chillies, garlic, sugar, and bean curd. 



Country of orgin: South Korea

Cooking Style: Budae Jjigae is cooked in a shallow pot is cooked on a gas stove on the table. The stove bubbles away as you put in ingredients, and eat it as you go. 

Ingredients cook quickly, as they are often pre-cooked processed meats, so you don’t have to wait for long for them to cook in the broth. 

It’s common at the end of the meal, to remove the pot from the heat, and add a slice of American cheese to melt on top of what’s left in the pot. 

Popular Ingredients: Also known as ‘Army Stew’, Budae Jjigae is well-known for being made out of the ingredients you have on hand, so the broth can be made of anything from chicken stock, anchovy and mushrooms to a dashi-based broth. 

This Hot Pot perfectly combines classic American food, such as Spam, hot dog sausages and American cheese slices, with authentic Korean ingredients such as gochujang, kimchi, tofu and ramen noodles.



Country of origin: Malaysia

Cooking style: Lok Lok is often sold as street food from stalls or vans in Malaysia. These stalls stay open late so are a hit for people who want a bite to eat after a night of drinking and dancing in clubs. 

All the raw ingredients have been pre-placed on skewers, so you simply cook them in communal pots of boiling water or lightly seasoned broth. 

When the ingredients are cooked, you dip them in a sauce of your choice and eat it straight off the stick. 

Ingredients: Lok Lok is known for its large range of food on offer. You can get a variety of meat, offal, seafood, fish and vegetables all skewered on sticks, and sometimes marinated too. 

Dipping Sauces: Chilli sauce,  peanut sauce and a sweet sauce are nearly always on offer. People often mix them altoegtehr to create a blend of flavours. 



As we wrap up our journey through the Hot Pot variations of Asia, we are reminded of the huge part that Chinese Hot Pot has played in inspiring these recipes. Each country has taken and adapted the concept of Hot Pot to create its own unique blend of flavours, ingredients, and dining experiences.

Hot pot traditions in Asia reflect the rich culinary tapestry of the region, but the common thread that ties them all together is the spirit of gathering, sharing, and indulging in a communal feast.

Want to give the original Chinese Hot Pot a try? Book your table at ‘’It’s Not’’ Hot Pot today!