Looking to buy new hot pot equipment? If you love cooking Asian hot pot at home, you'll need a portable tabletop burner. Either a butane gas burner or an electric skillet. I've used both and my preference is the electric skillet. The ones I use at home are the Zojirushi brand. I've got an older model of this one and the newer model Gourmet d'Expert Electric Skillet (EP-PBC10). Yes, I have two! Comes in handy when you have a big group of mouths to feed. ; )
The reason why I prefer the electric skillet over the gas burner is because of the butane cans. Each butane can usually lasts me around an hour or so (depending on how high you've used the flame) and that's not enough time to eat a whole meal (hey, I eat slow). This means I need to change cans mid-eating. Even though it only takes a few minutes, I'd prefer not to.
How long does it take to boil? In my experience, when using room temperature filtered water the Zojirushi takes around 10-15 mins. to come to a full boil when set to HIGH (430 degrees). I usually don't mind this because I'll set up the broth for cooking, then go to prepare other Hot Pot goodies like vegetables or meats.
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The pan insert is non-stick, so make sure you're using wooden chopsticks and no metal utensils. For clean up, the insert is pretty easy to wash and fairly light so not a big deal to hold when washing (I wouldn't recommend putting this in the dishwasher though).
Is it reliable? My older model is over 10 years young and it works perfectly. If you're considering buying, check it out on Amazon, as they usually have the lowest prices there + this brand is not commonly sold in US stores.
Finally, if you need a good recipe for Taiwanese Hot Pot Soup base, check out my video tutorial on How to Make Taiwanese Hot Pot. You'll also see the Zojirushi I mentioned in action. :)