Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hot Pot

How to begin??? The 11 people going on the “hot pot” adventure seemed more like an entourage as we crowded the sidewalk, but it was quite enjoyable (not to mention gorgeous, I was in flip flops and a V-neck in mid-January…Sorry Hunter). We crammed in the train and departed for a northern part of HK in the New Territories and what we found would be the most local place I’ve been to so far.
Upon exiting the station, our eyes fell upon a vast open “market” that would soon prove to be our “restaurant.” From the dozens of plastic tables/stools to the people sitting at/on them clearly showed that this place would be considered “local” (and I may never be at a more local “joint”, I prefer to call it that because restaurant wouldn’t suffice). We were seated at a table for a dozen with two big gas burners (with big pots of stock) resting on in the middle. Our lady turned the gas on, but forgot to light the stove. So when she came back to relight it, I helped her lift the pot, but didn’t expect a fireball to erupt as she set the flame into the stove (needless to say, I have very little hair on my left arm now).

Next: the food (which was all you could eat). Ha! I want to take my nutrition teacher here; she taught us about “food borne illness” (AKA: food poisoning) and the dangers of leaving food out for too long. There’s no telling how long this food had just sat outside in the 70 degree weather (ideal for bacterial growth). There was raw meats from pork to chicken to beef to shrimp and crab to living crustaceans (yea, you just dunk ‘em in boiling water until your chopsticks don’t feel resistance anymore) to fish balls (HK’s delicacy) to chicken feet (fingernails included) to chicken testicles (tastes like a sausage lining filled with loosely held hotdog insides…not as bad as it sounds) to liver (I wish I could say this was better than it sounds) to “meat” dumplings. Next were the tofu selections and vegetables (lots to choose from, mostly mushrooms and leaf based veggies) and these “cheeseballs”. They were our favorite considering we haven’t had cheese in like 3 weeks; they’re just cheese covered in a dumpling/fish covering so when you chew it, melted gooey cheese comes out! I mean this had to have the most variety of food I’ve ever seen, but it also had the worst hygiene I’ve ever encountered. To drink though they had an endless supply of Fanta, Cream Soda, and Coke (in fashionable glass bottles, very nifty).

How to cook the food? After our stove explosion, we waited for the stock to boil. One of the sauces was peanut based (although I couldn’t taste any peanuts), and we were equipped with a spicy dipping sauce. And then you just dump in your food, which when in the pot, it isn’t your food anymore, it’s everybody’s. How long do you cook it? I have no idea, which probably means I’ll be up at 3am puking my guts out due to little bacteria inside me. However, this was a great night, good company and a great experience (this dinner burned a good enough scar into my head that I don’t think I’ll need to revisit and refresh my memory...Chickenfeet below).

Needless to say, I know this lowers my chances of ever getting a girl, but with that said, I brushed my teeth a good 3 times tonight.

For dessert, Vanessa (senior from Kentucky, goes to Taylor Uni.) and I got Kinder Bueno bars (hazelnut blend like nutella, covered in milk chocolate), which tasted heavenly. Good decision especially when everything tasted the same for dinner (everything had a fishy twang and a chewy finish). I regret not bringing my FLIP video recorder…maybe next time when I take my family there ><


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