Archive for February, 2009

Hot Pot

February 15, 2009

Took advantage of the cold weather to enjoy a Sunday Hot Pot with the Liangs at Sichuanese Cuisine in the International District.

Hot Pot is sort of like the Chinese version of fondue, or shabu shabu, or anything else that involves cooking your own food in a pot of hot liquid on the table. It’s broth based, and generally the cooking bowl is divided to hold both spicy and non-spicy broths.  Once you fish out all of the meat and veggies you’ve cooked and eaten them, you can drink the now-soupy and very flavorful broth.

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Our Hot Pot, bubbling away.

Having eaten Hot Pot exactly two other times in my life – at a hole in the wall in Greenwood and, more deliciously, in Beijing – I’m no expert, but this one did not disappoint, with a good variety of offerings for the pot including lamb, beef, “beef honeycomb” (tripe), tofu, rice noodles, brocoli, and bok choy. The broth was spicy and gingery without being overwhelming, and it’s always fun to throw stuff in the pot, then fish it out and eat with fermented bean sauce and soy.

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Mia, awaiting spicy lamb.

The other highlight of a Hot Pot visit when I go with the Liangs is “flower fish” or tofu fish, a stew of white fish and tofu in a spicy Sichuan sauce that is one of the most delicious and deadly spicy comfort foods I’ve ever encountered.  I really think I could eat this almost daily, except for the potentially permanent numbing of my taste buds that could ensue.

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Heavenly tofu fish. Yes, all the red stuff is pepper.

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Ku also approves of tofu fish.

There’s something very satisfying about communal cooking and eating like this, the slowed process of waiting, watching, and chatting while  the pot bubbles away, and eating in courses according to what cooks the fastest: the meat, then veggies, then the noodles and broth. It’s a great way to spend a winter afternoon!

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