Neighborhood Eats: Taiwanese soup at Shi Ba Hot Pot in Bayside, Queens

BAYSIDE, Queens (WABC) -- Now that it's cooling off a little soup would hit the spot, and the fun of this dish is actually making it, tableside.

That's what Shabu Shabu is all about, so this week we are heading to Shi Ba Hot Pot at 212-32 48th Ave., Bayside, Queens.

"We are rooted very deeply into the Chinese food culture because me and my brother both, we grew up literally in a food family," said George King.

Actually George and his brother Tom come for a movie family. Their father did lighting and their mother starred in films along with Bruce Lee, but these days hot pot is the star for the King family, and their Shabu Shabu & BBQ spot in Bayside, where they live.

"New Yorkers, especially in the Queens, Bayside area, there's tons of cuisine and this huge discerning palate, and they're very sophisticated. They want to experience different things," said Tom King.

And what's particularly different here is the actual pot-- it's not made of metal but of stone in the Taiwanese style.

With the help of the staff, you cook a soupy stew. First garlic, onions, scallions are sauteed in black sesame oil..beef is added for flavor and quickly removed.

Then vegetables and fish balls go in and the all important soup, made from stock that simmers for 18 hours with the addition of mala spice.

"It's a very subtle mild spice until 40 seconds into the soup, and then you go, 'Oh my God I can't feel my tongue," George said.

It's up to you to choose what meats and other items you want to add.

A full array of sauces can change the flavor profile of every bite. but the mala is always there.

There are other items..barbecue skewers, dumplings, butter poached lobster, but the hot pot is the draw.

"We're starting to see loyal customers, we really appreciate that, especially coming from the community," said Tom. "We're within the community and that's what we're really looking for."

Here is the recipe for the stock and mala that makes up a hot pot:

--Mala pot

Base broth, cooking time 13-16 hours

beef bone 3lb
chicken bone 2lb

pork spinal 2lb
onions 1 whole
scallions 1 bundle
carrot 1 pc
reddish 1 whole

Blanch the bones first then pot in another pot for cooking then add in all other ingredients on high heat boil stock for 15 hours.

Mala base, cooking time 3 hours

anchovies 5 oz
pepper corn 3 oz
sechuan pepper corn 10 oz
cinnamon 3 sticks (grounded)
fresh sugar cane 1 cane (Juiced)
serrano peppers 1/2 lb
sweet and chilly peppers

capsicum peppers 5 oz
ghost peppers 3 pc
habanero peppers 5 oz
red savina 3 pc
sweet soy bean paste 40 oz
hot bean paste 20 oz
sugar 1 cup
salt 4 table spoon
veg oil 6 cups
chicken stock 6 cups

Chop up all peppers and set aside.

Heat up vegetable oil to very hot, then shut off flame. Put in all pepper corn and cook, but keep stirring, make sure it does not burn or else it will taste burnt.

Remove all pepper corn and dispose, throw in all peppers and then turn up flame to med, make sure the peppers does not burn or else it will taste burnt.

Throw in anchovies and keep stirring, put in salt sugar, both bean pastes, stir until you smell all the flavors, start to combine then add in chicken stock, turn to low heat and reduce until all broth has evaporated.

Spoon out and put into clean air tight container, this will keep for 1 week.
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