Tonight we took our guide’s recommendation and had Chinese hot pot. We had hot pot before in Laos and other parts of Souteast Asia. This was different.
We went into a restaurant that looked nice. We could see the tables were set for hot pot, and it was an open air restaurant. Most places we have gone into have menus with pictures so we can point to what we want. That wasn’t the case here. Luckily our guide had us take pictures of her phone with information and recommendations on hot pot. It had Chinese characters for the common foods to put in it. We ended up ordering fatty beef, bamboo shoots, sprouts, needle mushrooms, regular mushrooms, potatoes, and a side dish of fried pork.
Our guide also gave us some pointers. One of the p ointers our guide gave us was to make sure to dip our food in the seaseme oil after we cooked it. Our waitress showed us how to prepare the seaseme oil. They give you pouch of it that you pour into a small bowl and then add garlic, cilantro, clam sauce, and vinegar to your taste.
The hot pot they brought us had a small ring inside of a bigger ring. The inside was pretty bland, but he outside was like the ring of fire. When they brought it out it was just about 15 small red peppers, but then once it started boiling all sorts of things started floating up. One stand out item was the Chinese fire peppers. They look peppercorn, but they are red and green. And they make your mouth go numb. Our pot was full of these. We think the restaurant made ours as spicy as possible to see if we could handle it. We didn’t see any other tables with even close to as much spice as we had.
As a nice, little, white girl I have to say I think we did pretty good. The spice was actually really good and almost addicting and rarely overwhelming.
All and all, we enjoyed our hot pot.