Hot Pot

Yes, another post about food.  Food is by far the easiest way to experience a new culture.  So, yes, another post about food.

Hot Pot is my new favorite meal.  Our friends introduced us to a great all you can eat hot pot restaurant when we first arrived but we were still in a jet lag induced lethargy.

It’s called huǒguō here.  (pronunciation)

      火鍋

The first character above is the character for fire.

 

So, you order a soup or two, make a sauce of your choosing, pick up a bunch of fish and vegetables from the food bar, grab a beer and sit down.  Then, you wait for your hot pot to boil and start putting a bunch of food in.  As it cooks you pull it out with your chopsticks, dip it in your sauce, and eat it.  (Don’t dig too deep in the pot – last time we found coagulated pig blood – worst prize ever.)

 

Tex and I are pretty convinced that very few Americans know about the hot pot deal in Taipei.  For 2 hours you gorge yourself on meat, fish, vegetables, ALL YOU CAN DRINK BEER, and ALL YOU CAN EAT ICE CREAM!  Not to mention the cotton candy machine and the chocolate fountain they had at this place.  It costs about $20 per person.  What red-blooded American could pass that up?

The only downside to going out for hot pot is that frequently it’s difficult to determine what exactly it is that you’re putting in your mouth. If things are labeled they are labeled with Chinese characters (which neither of us can read yet). Certain things are obvious.  “Ah, yes, cabbage!” Never did I think cabbage could be so comforting then when on a plate next to various gray colored balls.  Some of the dumplings are very good, some are suspicious, and some are downright disgusting.  Regardless, it’s a great adventure.

SO!  After we had hot pot at our friend’s dinner party I learned that it’s possible to make this at home!  This way I can control the ingredients and experiment with flavors.  It still costs about the same since vegetables can be rather expensive but it’s worth it for a relaxing meal.