Cold weather is always the best time for hotpot. Apart from Hong Kong style hotpot, a wide selection of hotpots from Japanese Shabu Shabu to Korean style BBQ steamboat are available in Hong Kong and they all offer a great variety of tasty ingredients. However, hotpot ingredients, if not properly prepared and thoroughly cooked, may harbour pathogens, viruses or parasites and cause diseases.
Apart from general food safety measure for hotpot cooking, below we would like to draw your attention to 3 specific food related advice:
1. Thoroughly cook grass carp slices
Grass carp is a kind of freshwater fish and is a popular item in hotpot for its good taste. However, Clonorchis sinensis , which is a type of pathogenic parasite, may be present in grass carp. So, cut the fish into thin slices and cook thoroughly.
2. Do not eat undercooked pig livers
Undercooked foods, such as pig livers, are unsafe for consumption. Bacteria and hepatitis E virus may be found in pig livers. Sliced pig liver, depending on thickness and quantity, should be boiled at 100 oC for at least three to five minutes before consumption and we should not eat those with pink colour.
3. Never dip food into raw egg
Salmonella may be present in raw eggs. Without proper cooking, Salmonella potentially present in raw eggs or sauce mixed with raw eggs can cause food poisoning.
Tips for reducing fat intake
With a spread of fine food, many people will indulge themselves in it. When we enjoy hotpot, we usually eat more meat and fewer vegetables, thus getting too much fat easily. If we want to reduce fat intake, we can use clear soup base as it contains less fat than bone, mala and sacha soup bases. Alternatively, we can eat vegetables first to fill up ourselves and then meat so that we would not overeat. Lastly, for grain products, we should make healthier choices such as Shanghai noodles, udon, rice vermicelli and konjac noodles and avoid “ Yau mian” (oil noodles) and instant noodles with higher fat content. Overall speaking, we should always maintain a balanced diet, eat more vegetables with high dietary fibre and fewer fatty meats, animal offal and seafood, and use fewer sauces and condiments to ensure healthy eating.