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The Chinese hot pot ‘koroga’

Have you ever tried koroga? It’s a session where people meet up over drinks, have a cookout together as they talk about events. It is said to have originated from India, then other communities embraced it just for the fun and unity it brings.

But the thing with koroga is that we (my friends and I) always end up over indulging more in drinks and by the time the food is ready, which sometimes takes long, we are no longer hungry.

We find ourselves either too drunk or too full of water and other cold drinks to eat. So for people who share similar challenges, I have found an option — the Chinese Hot Pot— which I got to experience at the Pan Asian Yao in Emerald Gardens in Gigiri, Nairobi. You probably know of my back-and-forth relationship with Thai food, but we agreed on trying knew things, right? The hot pot is a modest and inventive idea.

You pick a type of broth along with some vegetables, meat or seafood and some dipping sauces, then proceed to heat the broth at the table, boil the chosen accompaniments in it, and one by one take them out, dip them in the sauces and eat. Simple, right? At Emerald they have four choices of broths.

The Schezuan is hot and spicy; Tom Yum is spicy and tangy; Soya and Miso, which I had, has this sweet yet salty taste with close to white look; and finally, the Beijing, which is clear broth with ginger and spring onions.

The dipping sauces are also a variety of sweet hoisin and duck sauce, to salty soya, hot chillies, onions in chilli oil, and sweet peanut sauce. But how would this be tasty? How do you put raw chicken in broth and after a few seconds, you eat it?

Apparently, it’s all because of the hot, delicious broth. The accompaniments were fresh and sweet when you dipped them in the sauces for extra delight. It’s important that the broth is full of flavour in order for you to have a flavourful experience. At the Pan Asian Yao there is a wide range when it comes to accompaniments— from baby spinach, lotus root to rice noodles.

There is also crab to calamari, beef, chicken, and oyster mushrooms, black fungus, all kinds of tofu, bamboo hearts and so many others difficult to remember! The vegetables are served in bowls.

They all looked appetising but my favourite was the chicken tofu and the rice sticks which were chewy. And of course the beef, which was so tender. So in case you want to try the hot pot, all you need is a group of friends and you can indulge.

You could also try the bento menu, which has four different cuisines; Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian and Indian. It cost Sh800 for vegetarians and Sh1,000 for non-vegetetarian. All you have to do is make reservations at hand before you check in at the restaurant.

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