Friday night and everyone at the office has plans, one of them is our good friend Steven. So he invited us (me and hubby) to dinner along Schuma Lu, but without any specific restaurant in mind we ended up in a nearest hot pot restaurant few meters away from Hao-you-dou (Trust Mart) Supermarket. It’s my 3rd time to eat in a hot pot, it wasn’t as shocking as the 1st one. May be because I knew what to expect right from the moment I stepped-in and the fact that the restaurant was a typical Chinese food haven in which I am partly immune. The fúwùyuán (waitress) took us in the 2nd floor and had us seated in a chic 6-seater even though it was only 3 of us. But it was a good sign, at least they knew how to make their customers comfortable.
Going through the menu was the hard part, why? Because it was all written in Chinese letters without any significant pictures. So even if you’ll stare and have each word translated in a compact mobile dictionary, it will take forever before you can actually pass an order but then our friend became so handy. We told Steven to order all the vegetables and meat he knew because we ain’t picky enough .
So what is a hot pot anyway?
A Chinese dish consist of tasty broth either spicy (lada) or not spicy (bu lada) which all of the raw ingredients, vegetables and meat are being placed inside then boiled to eat. It is often dipped in a sauce before eating and don’t be surprised, Hot Pot is eaten with out rice. It’s a culture thing I guess, but the whole dish is enough to satisfy one’s hunger. Legend has it that hot pot originated as winter season food to battle coldness and stay one’s body warm. Hot Pot had been a staple of nutritious (as no oil is being produced while cooking) food in China and standing tradition of Chinese cuisine that even in summer they will actually crave for this food. Crazy but true.
In any hot pot restaurant they normally have massive buffet tables to let you choose and create your own sauce. Different ingredient varies from taste, smell and texture. It can go from the spiciest down to a thick sweet sauce or it could just be a light but strong taste. This time I picked 3 sauces I could smell, from the right
- sweet taste: its a peanut butter sauce with minced onions
- salty taste: Chinese version of bagoong but only malabnaw and ma-oil with minced onions
- spicy taste: chili sauce with minced onions and garlic