By : MICHAEL MOORE
26 January 2016
Hot pot dining is popular throughout East Asia and every country has its own variations. In Thailand it is often called “Thai suki,” a reference that connects it with Japan's sukiyaki. In reality it is very different from sukiyaki and has taken on characteristics that make it an unmistakably Thai dish, especially in relation to the numerous ingredients used and the pungent chili sauces served as dips. Pot Ministry (gotta love that name) offers four different styles of hot pot based upon regional differences found in the country, plus a selection of other dishes.
Pot Ministry's setting of the restaurant features black and white tile floors, brown wood, black tables, some cool lighting and a variety of seating arrangements. The tables have induction cookers in the center for heating the hot pots.
Hot pots for each region are given flavors representative of the region. The broth in the southern version for example, has a sour turmeric flavor reminiscent of gaeng lueang and that of central Thailand is based on gao lao, a clear beef or pork broth with herbs. Different sets of meat and vegetables are paired with each broth with prices varying upon the ingredients. A set based upon Australian beef, for example, when paired with the gao lao broth is 950 baht; the southern Thai gaeng lueang broth with quality fresh seafood is 2500 baht.
There are numerous other regional dishes available. We particularly enjoyed the northern style sausage (130 baht) and the smashing star fruit som tom (150 baht) from the northeast of the country. Diners who chose one of the sets receive a complimentary dessert. The drinks menu features several unique drinks; we enjoyed the Roselle juice with honey (150 baht) and Blackberry lemon soda (150 baht).
Let's face it: hot pot dining is not gourmet dining. Ingredients are thrown into a pot of bubbling broth, removed and eaten – often with an accompanying dip to add a little interest and zest. On the other hand, the experience is fun and convivial, making it great for families and closely knit groups. It is also very healthy as water is a cooking medium that often does a good job of retaining vitamins and mineral, plus it isn't a fat that adds harmful ingredients to a dish. If you are looking for a hot pot experience, Pot Ministry is one of the best places in town to enjoy the experience.