So, as I mentioned yesterday Eric and I essentially ate our way from one end of the weekend to the other. Delicious. (Said in the Candy Crush voice.) And I’ve been so excited to tell you guys about our experience with hot pots in Chinatown since it happened.
On Saturday night, Eric and I were in the mood for some real Chinese food. So we walked right past the PF Chang’s, continued past the row of restaurants on the border of Chinatown that caters to tourists, and made our way to the section of restaurants where you actually have to request menus in English rather than Mandarin.*
(*Ok we didn’t technically have to request English menus, they handed them to us as we were sitting there looking like white people and talking English to each other. But still, it’s really authentic.)
So, if you’re not familiar with hot pots- as neither Eric nor I were before we ventured in to this place- it’s just like fondue. But instead of dipping your raw meat/fish/veggies into boiling oil or cheese with a skewer, you dip them into broth. And instead of using a skewer, you have just about every other utensil imaginable at your disposal… and more sauces, spices and noodles than you know what to do with.
For those of you keeping score that’s 3 plates, 2 bowls, 1 dish for sauce, 2 trays for spices, 1 set of chopsticks, 1 ladle/spoon, 1 strainer/spoon, one big pot of broth and one hidden drop cloth. And by the way, that was just my side. Eric had his own identical set up.
We quickly noticed that the technique we were using to cook and then subsequently transport the food into our mouths was much, much, different than that of the locals who were sitting around us. However, we didn’t want to stare at them so we just continued doing it our way.
The waiter gave us some pointers because as if it wasn’t obvious enough, I told him flat out we didn’t know what we were doing. However his instructions came in the form of “cook the pork for 30 seconds, cook the chicken for 35 seconds, beef for 13 seconds, lamb for 14 seconds, broccoli for 8 minutes, noodles for 3 seconds….” etc etc. I smiled and nodded eagerly through the whole list. Then when he was through, I turned to Eric, blinked twice and mumbled, “wait, what?” Eric shrugged and we just started scooping things into the broth.
It worked out. We cooked the food and got it into our mouths. It wasn’t pretty nor graceful, but it was delicious and fun and nobody got food poisoning from under-cooked meats, so, I considered it an all-around win.
When we finished it was about 10:15pm, and we were both thinking one thing.
Ice cream!! So we first tried to stop into a Ben & Jerry’s that was on our way home, but they were severely lacking in the fro yo department so we left.
We had 2 choices at that point- go home or go to our favorite place, JP Licks, which was all the way across town. Well, obviously going home without fro yo and ice cream wasn’t happening so we set out for JP Licks.
We even called ahead to make sure they wouldn’t close before we got there. It was worth the walk
Have you ever been to a hot pot restaurant?
Do you know how to do it correctly? (Please tell me if you do! I’d like to go back one day)
What’s your favorite flavor of fro yo or ice cream? (Mine is mint chocolate chip hard frozen yogurt. Hands down.)