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Monday, April 18, 2011

Hot Pot

Hot pot (火锅  huǒ guō) is pretty popular here in Shanghai. It's a lot like fondu - you have a boiling pot of liquid on the table, & you order a whole bunch of raw foods to cook in your pot. They even have a serve-yourself condiment bar with tasty sauces & spices to add to your hot pot - from sesame oil & soy sauce to black beans & garlic to cilantro & red chilis. 

The pot sits on a burner, so the liquid is constantly boiling as you add more goodies to the soup throughout the meal - a perpetually hot pot. It's great for the winter months because it warms you all the way down to your bones. But there are those that swear by it in the summer as well - a sort of reverse phychology for the body.

Sometimes you get a huge pot for the whole table; other times each person gets their own pot. As a vegetarian, I like the individual hot pot better because then it doesn't matter what the rest of the people at the table are eating. But with either a big pot or a small pot, there is almost always a copious amount of beer involved.