A butane-powered burner requires replacement fuel canisters, but also doubles as an outdoor stove and is a useful addition to a kitchen emergency kit. Electric burners, on the other hand, are quieter and don't require the additional expense of fuel, but they do have drawbacks. They can't double as emergency stoves during a power outage, and their power cords can potentially get in the way during dinner.
• Max Burton Table Top Burner, $30.57 at Amazon
• Waring Pro SB30 1300-Watt Portable Single Burner, $59 at Amazon
While any large, heavy pot can be used to make the soup, if you frequently cook hot pot meals, a specialized Japanese pot called a donabe is useful. Made of clay, these pots retain heat well, and are wide and low, so they accommodate a lot of ingredients which can be plucked out of the broth with ease. If you are really serious, consider a donabe from Iga, Japan, where they have been making pottery since the 7th century.
• Sumikannyu Ceramic Donabe Hotpot, $37.99 at Amazon
• Classic Iga-Yaki Donabe, $65-$120 at Toiro
THE METHOD & INGREDIENTS
• Steamboat, Hot Pot, Shabu Shabu: Like Fondue, But Better: Faith's Chinese-style hot pot party included spicy dipping sauces and a divided soup pot, which held two types of broth.
• Cooking Japanese: Nabemono: This post on Japanese-style hot pot includes a comprehensive list of suggested ingredients.
What's your favorite way to cook a hot pot meal?